BSD Dyslexia Survey Report
BSD Dyslexia Survey Report
We are grateful to four hundred and thirty-four people who responded to our questionnaire, which was based on one produced by the British Dyslexia Association http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk to show indicators of dyslexia in adults. There were a several additional questions, based on studies of dyslexic people elsewhere. In particular we want to thank Dr. Wayne London of Danville, Vermont for several of the questions.
Of the 434 people who completed the survey, 282 people chose to complete it on line and the rest (152) on paper. As you can see in Appendix II, they came from fifteen different countries, but the vas majority of them (313) came from the UK.
Six or more “Yes” responses suggest a possibility of dyslexia. Obviously “Yes” responses to the first two questions - Have you ever been identified (assessed) as dyslexic? Have you ever thought (or has anyone suggested) that you might be dyslexic? -are self-evident. The analysis of the responses, however, is based on the total responses, whether or not these first two were positive.
It is likely that at least 10% of the general population has dyslexia and anecdotal evidence suggests that in colleges, (where the student population is adult) the percentage is much higher. In the BSD survey, therefore, we could have anticipated something between 10% and 20% answering six or more questions “Yes.” Although it cannot in any way be described as scientifically valid and is based on a small sample, the results of our survey have been a surprise to everyone. There is the possibility that 65.66% of dowsers belonging to BSD and other dowsing societies have indicators of dyslexia.
The Top Four “Yes” responses
It would have been easy to anticipate the following questions as the “top responses” and, looking at these characteristics, to imagine that, in ancient societies, the dyslexic would have been highly valued for what he/she could offer.
9. Do you find it difficult to remember a string of instructions? Y - 217 + N - 206
This response came as no surprise. People with dyslexia are often “holistic thinkers” and find it difficult to sequence, order and to see things “in steps”. When the flat-pack bookshelf is delivered, which of you meticulously studies the instruction booklet, only to look up to find that your partner has unpacked the bits, assembled the furniture (with a picture of the completed one in his/her head) and is already arranging the books on it?
It might be difficult for someone with dyslexia to rely on a list of written or, in particular, spoken instructions to make a journey but once it is visualised in some way it presents less of a problem. However, before the advent of our step-by-step, right/left aware, list-making world, we would probably have just set out across the landscape, already “seeing” our destination.
16. Do you see yourself as an imaginative problem solver? Y -287 + N - 129
18. Do you have a good long-term memory but poor short-term memory? Y- 238 + N-182
19. Do you regard yourself as more intuitive than most? Y-314 N-82
The Top Five “No” Responses
The following are the five questions that had the least number of “Yes” responses. The numbers correlate to the number of that question in the survey.
2. Have you ever thought (or has anyone suggested) that you might be dyslexic? Y - 132 N – 291
The topic of dyslexia has only recently come to both Private and State Education in Great Britain. While some people were talking about it before then, it was only in the mid-eighties when school systems began to talk openly about this topic. So the low number of “Yes” responses here does not come as too great a surprise as the median age of BSD Dowsers is at least 50 (probably higher), and dyslexia was not something that they heard about when they went to school.
3. Despite conventional teaching, do you have difficulty with reading and/or spelling? Y - 119 N – 300
This one is fascinating as this sentence had for a long time been the classical definition of dyslexia! Yet question 3 was the second lowest “Yes” response (119). If we assume that all who answered “Yes” to this question answered yes to at least five other questions (thus making them having the symptoms of an adult dyslexic), that means that only 119/285 or (41.75%) of those we judge as being adult dyslexics identify with the classic definition of dyslexia!!! Now, that’s bizarre.
8. Were you the class clown? Y – 83 N – 349
This was one of Sig’s main survival techniques in primary and secondary school. How can you tell a clown that they are a fool or, worse, an idiot for not knowing something simple like what part of speech is the word “is”? (It’s an intransitive verb.) Apparently though, this was not a survival technique adopted by many of the respondents.
11. Do you mix up dates and times and sometimes miss appointments? Y - 134 N – 289
As linear dysfunctions are a classic symptom for dyslexics, this came as a surprise.
13. Are you either left-handed or ambidextrous? Y - 131 N –291
There has long been an assumption that left-handedness was a common characteristic of dyslexics – apparently not here. However, a few decades ago it was common to discourage left-handedness as soon as the tendency emerged. It is possible that a few of those who do not feel comfortable or confident about their handwriting are naturally left-handed or ambidextrous.
17. Do you regard yourself as a highly articulate person with weaker writing skills? Y - 134 (46%) N – 291
I would have answered “Yes” to this until the coming of the computer – it does what dyslexics can’t – it spells and does maths. Perhaps this is the reasoning behind the unexpected low results here.
There was a low response for Questions 2 and 19. But on Question 19, while 396 did respond – perhaps the rest didn’t know or weren’t sure. Perhaps we needed a “don’t know” for the sit-on-the-fencers.
There are several different areas in which this Survey will have implications for the BSD.
1. We must become a “dyslexic friendly” organization.
a. Forms, Dowsing Today, letters, adverts – We need to use sans serif fonts like Arial. Helvetica. Tahoma, or Verdana, as serif fonts like Times New Roman and Courier are more difficult for dyslexics (and others) to read.
The BSD has long had difficulties in getting members to fill out forms for events like Congress. This survey gives us insight as to why, and forms will need to be designed with a minimum font size of 12, have clear unambiguous statements – and use as few words as possible.
White background makes it difficult for many dyslexics and others to see the type, so we need to begin to use light green, pink, yellow, orange and other paper in our forms, “Dowsing Today,” letterheads and adverts (if possible).
b. Website – Our website will also be dyslexia friendly giving our members the ability to enlarge the sans serif fonts and to choose a background colour that suits them best
c, Signage – again, it needs to be on sans serif fonts, and NOT IN ALL BLOCK CAPITAL LETTERS as they are difficult to read and can “shout” in an aggressive way. A word in capitals is a rectangular block, just like every other word written in the same way. (Stand a few metres away from a sign written all in capitals and it can be very difficult to read). A word in lower case, however, has plenty of visual “clues” to aid reading – particularly when we need to read something in a hurry! (Blue and white motorway signs are written mostly in lower case letters, for instance)
d. Presentations – again, like our website, need to use sans serif fonts and coloured backgrounds. Moving text and graphics and visual “special effects” should be considered carefully and often avoided.
e. Disability Discrimination Act (1995) compliance – actually, these implications for the BSD are not things we might like to do, we are required by law to do them. This is vital/essential/critical as it is possible that two-thirds of our members are dyslexic!
f. Outreach – We fully intend to let dyslexic organizations in this country hear about the findings of this survey. This survey has revealed a possibly that a very large percentage of dowsers are dyslexic. The possible larger-than-expected number in this survey might also be the case with other alternative fields of exploration, and, of course, these presentations to dyslexic organizations might be wonderful recruiting forays to increase the membership in the BSD.
2. There has long been a division between tangible and intangible target dowsers. Initial data which only began to be gathered at the Congress may account for this. While it is only in its initial stages, it appears that dowsers who exhibit the characteristics of adult dyslexics are predominantly interested in intangible target dowsing, and the preponderance of non-dyslexic dowsers are more interested in physical target dowsing (See Appendix III for further details.)
Jill Moss teaches adult dyslexics and manages the dyslexia service at a further education college. She has been a dowser for 10 years. Sig is dyslexic, a well-known author, and has been dowsing for 45 years with a primary interest in intangible targets like the Earth Energies.
i. The Survey
An unrecognised aspect of dowsing: the dyslexia connection
A BSD Questionnaire
Thank you for contributing to this survey. Your name is not required and any information you provide will be treated in the strictest confidence the Y (Yes) or N (No) whichever is appropriate to you.
How long have you been dowsing?
2. Have you ever thought (or has anyone suggested) that you might be dyslexic? Y N
3. Despite conventional teaching, do you have difficulty with reading and/or spelling? Y N
4. Despite conventional teaching, do you have difficulty with mathematics? Y N
5. Have others told you that your handwriting is close to illegible? Y N
6. Were you a “late developer”? Y N
7. As a child, were you frequently told you were lazy? Y N
8. Were you the class clown? Y N
9. Do you find it difficult to remember a string of instructions?
10. Do you find forms difficult and confusing? Y N
11. Do you mix up dates and times and sometimes miss appointments? Y N
12. When using the telephone, do you tend to get the numbers mixed up? Y N
13. Are you either left-handed or ambidextrous? Y N
14. Do you get depressed at the end of winter? (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Y N
15. Do you feel that you have plenty of ideas but cannot get them down in writing? Y N
16. Do you see yourself as an imaginative problem solver? Y N
17. Do you regard yourself as a highly articulate person with weaker writing skills? Y N
18. Do you have a good long-term memory but poor short term memory? Y N
19. Do you regard yourself as more intuitive than most? Y N
Are there any comments about your own possible dowsing/dyslexia link that you would like to add?
Internet Questionnaires – 282
How long have you been dowsing? – data not collected
Bold = high end yeses
1. Have you ever been identified (assessed) as dyslexic? Y -- 45 N - 388
2. Have you ever thought (or has anyone suggested) that you might be dyslexic? Y - 132 N - 291
3. Despite conventional teaching, do you have difficulty with reading and/or spelling? Y - 119 N - 300
4. Despite conventional teaching, do you have difficulty with mathematics? Y - 171 N - 248
5. Have others told you that your handwriting is close to illegible? Y – 151 N - 267
6. Were you a “late developer”?
7. As a child, were you frequently told you were lazy? Y – 142 N - 280
8. Were you the class clown?
9. Do you find it difficult to remember a string of instructions? Y - 217 N - 206
10. Do you find forms difficult and confusing?
11. Do you mix up dates and times and sometimes miss appointments? Y - 134 N - 289
12. When using the telephone, do you tend to get the numbers mixed up? Y - 147 N - 278
13. Are you either left-handed or ambidextrous? Y - 131 N -291
14. Do you get depressed at the end of winter? (Seasonal Affective Disorder) Y - 176 N - 249
15. Do you feel that you have plenty of ideas but cannot get them down in writing? Y - 189 N -237
16. Do you see yourself as an imaginative problem solver? Y - 287 N - 129
17. Do you regard yourself as a highly articulate person with weaker writing skills? Y - 134 N - 291
18. Do you have a good long-term memory but poor short term memory? Y - 238 N -182
19. Do you regard yourself as more intuitive than most? Y - 314 N -82
Therefore, total possible dyslexics = 285 out of 434.
Therefore, 65.66% of the respondents exhibited the characteristics of adult dyslexics
Which country do you live in? UK – 313, USA – 65, , ,:
No responses from Germany, Austria or Portugal. Only two from France.
We would like to thank all of those respondents who added comments at the end of the survey.
A Possible Extrapolated Hypothesis
At the Dyslexia Workshop that Jill and I ran at the September BSD Congress, we had twenty-three participants. I passed out the survey and asked all of them to complete it – even if they had already done it on the BSD website or on paper.
Later in the workshop, I asked them how many had answered “Yes” to question number one, or had said “Yes” to at least six others. Twenty participants raised their hand (s). (As this was a workshop on dyslexia, this should come as no surprise.)
I then asked how many participants were primarily interested in INtangible target dowsing (auras, Earth energies, etc.). Again, twenty raised their hands. Then when I asked how many were primarily interested in tangible target dowsing (water, oil, lost objects, archaeology, the scientific aspects), three raised their hands.
Is there a connection between dyslexic dowsers and interest in the intangible realms?
To test this further, several weeks later, I spoke at the West Wales Dowsers, and when they came, I gave each of them a copy of the survey, and asked them to note at the top of the survey if they were primarily interested in tangible or intangible target dowsing.
36 dowsers filled out the survey, 22 answered “Yes” to question one or “Yes” to six or more of the other eighteen questions. 14 had answered “Yes” to less than six of the questions. (This means that 61% of the respondents exhibited the characteristics of adult dyslexics.)
Of the 22 possible dyslexics, 16 were primarily interested in INtangible target dowsing (73%), while of the 14 probable non-dyslexics, 9 (64%) were primarily interested in physical target dowsing. (One of the 14 non-dyslexic dowsers was interested in both.)
Clearly, there have not been enough people surveyed to come to any final conclusion here, but it now looks like most dyslexic dowsers are primarily interested in non-physical target dowsing, It could account for some of the difficulties and lack of understanding that is sometimes encountered in our Society between those who are more focused on physical targets, and those who prefer to seek intangible targets.
The kind of dowsing that made it through the witchcraft persecutions was primarily (or at least publicly) physical targets like water and minerals. Yet many of the founders of both the British and American Societies of Dowsing were focused on the more spiritual aspects of this art – for example the helping of the casualties of both World Wars to get to the other side.
This obviously needs further study, but it does lead to a possible hypothesis as to why dyslexics are drawn in such significant numbers to dowsing. Being able to see the whole picture rather than having to think linearly in words makes it easier for dyslexics to “see” less tangible realms, and here, I would include the spiritual as well as targets like auras or energy leys. I would propose that this is an exciting new possible area of study, and it is something that we wish we had included in our initial survey. This is likely to be the most significant outcome of this survey – and the least anticipated.
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