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Coping with Dyslexia


Dyslexia is a language-based disorder that obstructs the development of oral and written language skills in a perfectly normal child. It can prove extremely frustrating, as the child fails to understand why he cannot read and write as well as the others in his class although he is just as intelligent.


Symptoms

Detecting dyslexia can be a problem because a child afflicted with it will have an average or above average IQ. Also, symptoms of dyslexia differ from person to person. However, parents should watch out for common signs like:

  • Reversing numbers and letters while reading or writing - For example, confusing "b" and "d", or reading and writing "bat" as "tab" or "rat" as "tar".
  • Mixing the order of letters or numbers. Saying "sniger" instead of "singer".
  • Skipping letters in spelling. The child may say "sand" but writes "sad".
  • Reading may be slow and hampered or there can be repeated rereading or skipping of an entire section.
  • Problems in copying from the board or a book.
  • Poor handwriting or drawing.
  • Forgetting words he knows well.
  • Weakness in Mathematics.
  • Problems in repeating simple sentences.
  • Problems in following instructions, either in understanding or in recalling them.
  • Difficulty expressing himself through speech or writing.


Diagnosing Dyslexia

The first step towards diagnosing dyslexia in children is taken by parents or the teacher by detecting a reading, writing or comprehension problem. The second step could be an examination by a physician. If he finds signs of dyslexia, he should refer the child for further evaluation and treatment by a specialist in dyslexic cases.


Effects of Dyslexia

Life for a child with dyslexia is challenging, as he has to grow up and compete in a structured school environment. So, even if he has normal intelligence level, he fails at the normally recognized parameter of intelligence: academic performance. This can affect the child in many ways.

  • Dyslexia can attack a child's self-image. Academic problems can make him feel "dumb" or "stupid".
  • With an inability to clearly express his feelings, the child may have trouble conversing. In such a case, the child may feel more isolated as he grows up and fails to make friends.
  • A dyslexic child has to deal with inconsistencies everyday. His frustrations lead to anger and temper tantrums.
  • A dangerous complication of dyslexia is depression. He may not only have negative thoughts about himself but also about the world around him.
  • With so much emotional trauma, dyslexic children can be difficult at home. It becomes all the more torturous when parents refuse to acknowledge a problem in their child.


Treating Dyslexia

The neurological disorder that causes dyslexia cannot be treated. But with early diagnosis, intervention and tailored educational methods, children with dyslexia can go on to be regular, well-adjusted, happy kids. As this learning disorder varies from child to child, the first step in the treatment should be a thorough evaluation of child's weak and strong areas. The educational method, environment and testing should be altered to child's specific needs. If the child's therapist works closely with his teacher, an ideal environment for his development and growth can be created. The school can make slight changes for him so that he does not lag behind his classmates.


Some ways in which the school can help a child with dyslexia are:

Alternate means of assessment
Taped lessons
Extra time to complete tasks
Exploring alternatives to written assignments
Ignoring some spelling mistakes in subjects like science


The best support always comes from parents. They can create an ideal environment where their children can find constant love, support and encouragement.


Famous Dyslexics

It is important for parent and child to understand that many people with dyslexia have been very successful in their chosen careers, and dyslexia in no way hampers a person's ability to lead a perfectly normal life. Here are some examples of famous people who are or were dyslexic.
Agatha Christie
Albert Einstein
Alexander Graham Bell
Cher
George Washington
Hans Christian Anderson
John Kennedy
John Lennon
Keanu Reeves
Mark Twain
Ted Turner
Thomas Edison
Thomas Jefferson
Tom Cruise
Vincent Van Gogh
Winston Churchill
Woodrow Wilson
Walt Disney


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