Dyslexia is a learning disorder that results from the challenges of identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. This learning disorder has an impact on the areas of the brain that process language. Dyslexia does not affect the normal intelligence and vision of people who have it. More often than not, dyslexic children are able to succeed in school with the aid of educational interventions and emotional support from loved ones.
Usually, the period in which Dyslexia is recognised in a child is when he or she is at school, nevertheless, some early signs (pre-school) may indicate this problem. Teachers are usually the ones to notice this condition because it becomes obvious as the child learns to read. Some of the signs include:
- Learning new words slowly
- Problems in forming words correctly
- Late talking
- Difficulty in naming letters, numbers and colours
- Slow progress in reading
- Difficulty in remembering the sequence of things
- Spending longer time to complete tasks that comprise reading or writing
- Spelling problems
- Problems memorising
- Difficulty in doing Maths
- Difficulty in paying attention
Dyslexia is caused by hereditary factors and in some uncommon cases, environmental factors. High risk factors for this condition include a family history of dyslexia or other learning disorders, individual variations in the parts of the brain that enable reading, premature birth or low birth weight, exposure during pregnancy to drugs, alcohol or infection that may negatively affect brain development in the fetus.
Dyslexia has no cure, nonetheless, early assessment and intervention often breed fruitful results in its management; hence, it is very important for parents to talk to a pediatrician or a therapist/child psychologist should they realise that their wards’ level of reading is below what is expected at their age. When unattended to, Dyslexia can lead to challenges in learning, anxiety, low self-esteem, withdrawal from peers, parents and teachers. Undiagnosed and unattended-to dyslexia causes childhood learning disorders to continue into adulthood, resulting in the prevention of the sufferer from reaching his or her full potential.
Parents need to be aware of the possibility of a person being successful with dyslexia. As a parent of a dyslexic child, he or she might want to find out as much as he or she can about the condition as this would guide the them to make more informed choices.
The parent can help the child by doing these at home:
- Listen to audio books and have your child read along with them.
- Take turns reading books aloud together.
- Talk about the stories you read together.
- Use graphic novels and comic books.
To further help children with such condition, parents should enroll their wards in schools that have effective educational support systems like individualised educational plans for affected children. Also, to help improve the confidence of the child, parents need to constantly show love, support and patience.
Moreover, one of the most beautiful gifts a teacher can give to a child with dyslexia is to help the latter become aware of the fact that he or she has the ability to be remarkable and intelligent despite the condition; this can be achieved when the teacher frequently acknowledges and appreciates the progress of a dyslexic child.
Teachers can help students with this condition by doing these:
- Put together personalised books and stories with the student’s name and photos.
- Provide multisensory experiences for students, related to each book that they read, such as using stories and coloring pages.
- Increase the repertoire of shapes your student draws to include circles, triangles, squares, and various facial features such as eyes and mouth.
- Increase the repertoire of letters your student writes to include all the letters in the alphabet and numbers up to 10.
- Guide your student’s drawing and writing by placing your hand on top of his or her hand.
- Gradually decrease the level of assistance as the student makes significant progress.
Inasmuch as it is normal for parents and guardians to harbour anxieties about their dyslexic wards, they need to understand that dyslexia is neither a death sentence nor destroys the mental capacity of affected children. With the proper specialised educational programmes and emotional support from loved ones, a dyslexic child can overcome this condition and reach his or her full potential in life.