Dyslexia is a neurologically based condition often, unfamiliar disorder which interferes with acquisition and processing of language which varies in degrees of severity. It manifests in difficulty in receptive and expressive language including reading, writing, spelling, handwriting [dysgraphia], comprehension and sometimes attention [ADD and ADHD]. It is not a lack of motivation, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities or other limiting conditions, as many parents tend to believe, but may occur with these conditions. It is also not Autism, ADHD, ADD but may be a fallout of these conditions. This means that one can be autistic but not dyslexic. It may show up as a problem of listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling comprehension and computation, despite some specific and innate intelligence.
SUMMARY OF WARNING SIGNS;
- Speech delay
- Inability to read at a particular age compared to age mates
- Inability to write legibly
- Inability to comprehend a read piece to answer questions
- Taking too long on assignments and homework, including any expected academic work,
- Taking too long to carry out or deliver a task in the workplace
A 1994 research work reported dyslexia as the most common of all known Leaning Disabilities (LDs) and found dyslexia as a leading cause of school dropout and most commonly shared characteristics of juvenile justice cases worldwide.
Knowledge of Dyslexia is not common in our environment and as a result; they are beaten, called names, bullied and jarred at. They then unconsciously develop an inferiority complex; are afraid of trying out anything – hence the reason they become juvenile cases.
Dyslexia is different from Attention Deficiency Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficiency Disorder (ADHD, ADD). However, they frequently co- exist and it is best to test for both separately.
Early detection is necessary without which the person is misunderstood, beaten called names both at home but worse in school, by school teachers and of course other children who see this person as stupid or lazy. Before it is discovered if it ever is, damage has been done, the person is intimidated, loses self-confidence and becomes afraid of trying again, giving up on themselves.
As always the case, help is sort but is limited to getting a new lesson teacher or changing school. Many educators do not know the underlining problem of the person and the frustration on both parties is worse as the expected change seem far-fetched. The person might get so demoralized that s/he may not get to the point where the innate gifts show up.
Without appropriate intervention, children with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD are at increased risk of substance abuse. Although their unique brain architecture, unusual wiring makes reading, writing and spelling difficult, there is a genius hidden in most of them that need to be uncovered and discovered with the right intervention.
Most dyslexics have gifts in areas controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain such as artistic skills, athletics, music, mechanical activities, vivid imagination, intuitive, creative global thinking, and curiosity. They can excel anywhere but best at architecture, interior design, marketing and sales, culinary arts, wood working, carpentry, athletics, music, scientific research, engineering, computers, electronics, mechanics, graphic art, performing art and photograph. Dyslexics are also known to be very successful entrepreneurs.
Many parents think the child will outgrow the challenge. You cannot outgrow dyslexia but rather you can manage the condition. Dyslexia training provides sustainable skills to live with the condition and perform beyond expectations. In many countries, dyslexics are encouraged to declare their status. Some of them report that they felt better from the point they discovered that their problem is that they have a condition and not that they are stupid. They are even encouraged to declare their condition but the problem is that employers often find some other reason to relieve them of their jobs or positions.
Dyslexics need to be dealt with a lot of patience. They need accommodation, like putting them in smaller classes, giving them extra time for work, tests and even examinations.
Their best training method is “one-on-one”, paced training by trained trainers for 1 to 2yrs to acquire skills to roll on with their peers. Reading, comprehension, spelling and writing skills can be developed through training at designated centres and places.
As parents, educators, and caregivers, we must encourage any skill they show interest in until we find that mesh, which most of them have waiting to crawl up, be it football, art ,mechanical, computers, music, fashion, architecture, business, etc.
The good news is, The Dyslexia Foundation is now in Nigeria to provide support to whoever needs it at our designated Centres.