Dyslexia and children

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Unknown to many, especially unsuspecting parents, dyslexia is one of the most prevalent disabilities in children. While dyslexia-stricken kids struggle with learning to read, write, and spell, in a traditional setting, among other things, there are ways to cope with the condition and professional treatment methods available to manage the ailment.

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With the right treatment methods, dyslexic children have the potential to excel

Did you know that dyslexia is one of the most prevalent disabilities in children? Children with dyslexia struggle with learning to read, write and spell in a traditional setting. In spite of the fact that most dyslexic children possess an average or above average intelligence level, they are not capable of comprehending visually and audibly presented lessons.

RELATED: Famous dyslexics

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a neurological impairment rendering the brain unable to translate images received from the eyes or ears. The eyes see the words in the book, but the brain cannot translate what the person has seen. Understanding the fundamentals which spell out dyslexia is crucial, but to know what it is not, is just as important. What dyslexia is not is: problems with hearing and vision, mental retardation, a lack of intelligence or brain damage.

What causes dyslexia?

There is more than one form of the condition. Primary dyslexia is a genetically hereditary malfunction of the cerebrum; the part of the brain responsible for thinking and movement. People with this ailment rarely attain a reading level above that of a fourth grader and have trouble spelling whereas, developmental dyslexia happens during fetal development.

Fortunately, it usually gets better with age. While someone with developmental dyslexia may never be an avid reader or speller, they will be proficient enough to function without any real problems. Both primary and developmental dyslexia can manifest visually and audibly. This means that dyslexics will be unable to a) hear words in sequence and/or b) read words as they appear on the page. Dysgraphia is more of a coordination issue. Those with this form of dyslexia cannot transfer what they see and hear onto paper because they cannot control the pencil in their hand. Therefore, they are unable to transfer correct letters and numbers on paper.

RELATED: Helping a school-aged child who can’t read and write

Signs of dyslexia

The few most common and early detectable signs of dyslexia are a child’s repeated reversal of writing letters and numbers. Because this is a common stage of development, it is usually not suspected or detected until the tender age of eight or beyond. Other symptoms of the disease include:

  • The inability to follow sequences and patterns
  • The inability to recall what is seen and heard–even a favourite story or movie
  • A general state of disorganisation in a child’s school work
  • A strong aversion to school work and putting themselves down
  • Trouble copying from a book or blackboard
  • An inability to recall what they saw or heard just minutes prior

If your child has any of these symptoms, you should not waste time seeking out professional medical advice and help. If you notice any of these typical signs, you should also discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher to determine if they, too, have noticed these symptoms.

What you should do

A definitive diagnosis will need to be made by a physician, who will test your child. These examinations evaluate the functional reading level and are compared against where they should be, by using an intelligence test. All variables of the reading process are looked at to see where the problems are occurring. The testing also assesses how a child takes in and processes information. This portion of the testing determines whether a child learns better by seeing, hearing or a hands-on approach. These exams are highly reliable and done in such a way (games, puzzles ect) so that the child does not feel like they are being tested.

RELATED: Dyslexia screening at preschool level

Living with dyslexia

First of all, it is important for you to understand that there is no cure for dyslexia–only treatment. Treatment methods depend upon the severity and type of dyslexia the child has. Your physician will be able to provide you with the options and particulars of the selected treatment(s). It is also vital that your child’s school be ‘on board’ with the treatment programme. It is essential that they work with your child to help him or her learn at the pace they are capable of in order to excel, using targeted methods.

The dyslexic child

A child with dyslexia is often a frustrated, lonely, and depressed child. They know something’s not right when they observe other children progressing and don’t understand why they can’t achieve the same. The dyslexic child is often angry, has poor self-esteem and can suffer from depression as a result of their disability–especially if not diagnosed as soon as possible.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to reassure your child that they are not stupid or dumb or less important than regular kids. The dyslexic child needs to know that with the right methods, they too can learn and actually enjoy going about their everyday activities.

RELATED: Plans for dyslexic special school

We understand that dyslexia as a physical disability in a child can be a challenge for parents to tackle, but we hope that the insights presented in this health-related article will help both you and your child better cope with the ailment. Better yet, if you know of a family struggling with a similar plight, forward this story on to convey your expression of strength, assurance and encouragement.

 

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