Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects the acquisition and processing of print and language. Dyslexic individuals have a problem translating letters into their corresponding sounds and vice versa. They have trouble with writing, reading and sounding out words. Although very rare, it may also affect arithmetic skills. Dyslexia can be mild to severe. Early detection and treatment gives a more favorable outcome. However, it is never too late for a dyslexic adult to learn and improve their language skills.
Dyslexia may be undetected in the child’s early years in school. They become frustrated as they have difficulty learning to read. Other problems may also disguise the presence of dyslexia. With this, parents tend to ignore the possibility of their child having the condition. If left untreated, dyslexia can jeopardize the child’s success in school.
Causes and Types of Dyslexia
There are three types of dyslexia that are classified according to their causes.
Primary Dyslexia: Studies and evidence prove dyslexia can be hereditary. Primary dyslexia results from cerebral cortex damage or dysfunction. Children who have this condition have difficulty acquiring skills above the fourth grade level. The problems with reading, writing and spelling go on even when they reach adulthood. Research shows that primary dyslexia is more common in boys than girls.
Developmental Dyslexia: The abnormal hormonal development in the early fetal stage can lead to developmental dyslexia. However, the condition may diminish as the child matures. Research also shows that it is often seen in boys.
Acquired Dyslexia: Acquired dyslexia is rare, but there is evidence that prove its occurrence. It usually occurs after an injury or brain trauma affecting the part of the brain responsible for reading and writing.
Signs of Dyslexia
Symptoms vary from child to child. They may exhibit one or more signs
- Troubles remembering and learning printed words
- Number reversal such as 6 for 9
- Letter reversal such as p for q and b for d
- Reordering letters in words and numbers such as tar for rat or 12 for 21.
- Inability to sound out words
- Problems with rhyming
- Repetitive speaking of nonsense phrases and words
- Comprehension problems
- Difficulty recognizing two words
- Persistent spelling errors
There are also other symptoms associated with dyslexia. This may include clumsiness, difficulty picking the right words to express thought and direction and time problems like confusing up and down, before, after, tomorrow and yesterday.
Health professionals find it challenging to diagnose dyslexia as there are a lot of factors to consider. There are different tests to conduct before they can arrive to the final diagnosis. Basically, the child’s reading skills and level should be determined and compared to their potential. Professionals use a standard intelligence test. The tests will also assess how the child perceives and processes the information and what they do with them. In addition, they determine the most effective method that the child learns. The test will also assess what means the child can use to perform better when giving out information. Some children express themselves best when they say something or perform actions with their hands.
These standardized tests are guaranteed reliable. They are conducted in such a way that the child does not feel any stress or pressure. These tests can be in the form of games, puzzles and other means that do not compromise the child’s comfort and safety. The child undergoing the test does not feel that they are under observation.
Before submitting the child to these procedures, parents should prepare them physically and mentally a day before. Children should be well-rested, and they should eat breakfast. Parents should also take time to tell their child that they will be meeting a new person. This is because dyslexic children may feel threatened by the new person they meet and will not cooperate. However, it is important that parents should not coach their children prior to testing. It is best that they are not around during the diagnostic tests.
Treatment and Support
The child can effectively cope with their condition with full physical and emotional support coming from parents and family along with approved educational intervention. Educators and psychologist agree that the main focus of treatment should be on the child’s specific learning problems. This is why accurate diagnosis is crucial.
There are some methods that parents and teachers commonly use that effectively help children with dyslexia.
- Assess the child’s learning style and develop methods that stimulate them to use their skills.
- Allow the child to listen to audio books or read for them in order to reduce their stress when struggling to read correctly.
- Do repetitive activities. Memorization is among the most difficult task for dyslexics. With this, it is best to encourage them to do the same hands-on activities multiple times. Doing so allows them to understand the activity’s concept and familiarize themselves with it.
- Dyslexic children are best placed in small groups rather than in a large crowd. They tend to become overwhelmed with many people around, and they are not able to concentrate on their work.
- Use teaching strategies that encourage the child to utilize all their senses. Let them take a look at objects, draw, create images using different objects, sing sounds and clap out words or syllables.
- Written tests put a lot of pressure on dyslexics. It is best to give them oral tests rather than written ones.
- Teachers should have more patience with dyslexic students. They should provide extra time for the students to complete their tasks. In addition, they should provide copies of homework and other classroom instructions. Dyslexic students may find it hard to understand notes they have copied. This will greatly help both the child and their parents succeed in the treatment.