Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. It is also called reading disability. Dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language.
People with dyslexia have normal intelligence and usually have normal vision. Most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or specialized education program. Emotional support also plays an important role.
Though there’s no cure for dyslexia, early assessment and intervention result in best outcome. Sometimes, dyslexia goes undiagnosed for years and isn’t recognized until adulthood, but it’s never too late to seek help.
Signs of dyslexia can be difficult to recognize before your child enters school, but some early clues may indicate a problem. Once your child reaches school age, your child’s teacher may be the first to notice a problem. Severity varies, but the condition often becomes apparent as a child starts learning to read.
Signs that a young child may be at risk of dyslexia include:
* Late talking
* Learning new words slowly
* Problems remembering or naming letters, numbers and colours
* Problems forming words correctly such as reversing sounds in words or confusing words that sound alike
* Difficulty learning nursery rhymes or playing rhyming games
Once your child is in school, dyslexia signs and symptoms may become apparent and these includes:
* Reading well below the expected level
* Problems processing and
understanding what he or she hears
* Difficulty finding the right word or
forming answers to questions
* Problems remembering the sequence
* Difficulty seeing (and occasionally
hearing) similarities and differences in
letters and words.
* Inability to sound out the pronunciation
of a familiar word
* Difficulty spelling
* Spending an unusually long time
completing tasks that involve reading
* Avoiding activities that involve reading
Dyslexia tends to run in families. It appears to be linked to certain genes that affect how brain processes reading and language, as well as risk factors in the environment.
* A family history of dyslexia or other
* Premature birth or low birth weight
* Exposure during pregnancy to nicotine,
drugs, alcohol or infection that may
alter brain development in foetus
* Individual differences in the parts of
the brain that enable reading
Dyslexia can lead to a number of problems, including:
* Trouble learning because reading is a skill basic to most other school subjects. A child with dyslexia is at a disadvantage in most classes & may have trouble keeping up with peers.
* Social problems: If left untreated dyslexia may lead to low self-esteem, behaviour problems, anxiety, aggression and withdrawal from friends, parents and teachers.
* Problems as adults: The inability to read and comprehend can prevent a child from reaching his/her potential as the child grows up. This can have a long-term educational, social and economic consequences.
* Children who have dyslexia are at increased risk of having attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder.
There is no known way to correct the underlying brain abnormality that causes dyslexia. Dyslexia is a lifelong problem. However, early detection and evaluation to determine specific needs and appropriate treatment can improve success.
Dyslexia is treated using specific educational approaches and techniques, and the sooner the intervention begins, the better. Psychological testing will help your child’s teachers develop a suitable teaching program.
Teachers may use techniques involving hearing, vision and touch to improve reading skills. Helping a child use several senses to learn. For example, listening to a taped lesson and tracing with a finger the shape of the letters used and the words spoken can help on processing the information.
Treatment focuses on helping your child:
* Learn to recognize and use the smallest sounds that make up words (phonemes).
* Understand that letters and strings of letters represent these sounds and words (phonics).
* Comprehend what he or she is reading
* Read aloud to build reading accuracy, speed and expression (fluency).
* Build a vocabulary of recognized an understood words.
* Tutoring sessions with a reading specialist can be helpful.
* IEP: Individualized Education Plan. This has to do with talking to your child’s teacher about setting up a meeting to create a structured, written plan that outlines your child’s needs and how the school will help him/her succeed.
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
You play a key role in helping your child succeed. To help your child overcome this challenge, take these steps:
* Address the problem early once you suspect your child has dyslexia by talking to your child’s doctor.
* Read aloud on your child. It’s best if you start when your child is 6 months old or even younger.
* Work with your child’s school. Talk to your child’s teacher about how the school will help him or her succeed. You are your child’s best advocate.
* Encourage reading time. To improve reading skills, a child must practice reading. Encourage your child to read.
* Set an example for reading. Designate a time each day to read something of your own while your child reads his or hers; this sets an example and supports your child. Show your child that reading can be enjoyable.
Mrs Oladepe Balogun
Head Of School