Dyslexia is a developmental disorder in which the brain cannot process and recognise certain symbols. It is not a sign of poor intelligence or poor eyesight but the result of a problem in specific areas of the brain that help in interpreting a language. The World Federation of Neurologists defines dyslexia as ‘a disorder in children who, despite conventional classroom experience, fail to attain the language skills of reading, writing, and spelling commensurate with their intellectual abilities’. Reading letters and numbers in a reverse order is a common warning sign of dyslexia.
A dyslexic person may face the following difficulties:
- Differentiating between and identifying rhyming words
- Understanding sentences
- Differentiating between the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’
- Doing basic mathematical calculations
Emotional disorders, mental retardation, disorder of the brain, or other educational and cultural factors, too, can affect the ability of a child to read. Hence, these factors should be diagnosed and ruled out before dyslexia is confirmed.
Dyslexia can be mild, severe, or profound, and thus there are no specifically chalked out tests that can determine the disorder. However, a complete neurological examination, a family history of dyslexia, reading and writing skill examination as well as scrutinising social, personal and developmental performance can help in identifying the disorder. Early diagnosis and identification of dyslexia proves to be of great help in managing and overcoming the problems and learning difficulties the child may face at a later stage in life.
Children with dyslexia are not mentally retarded, in fact most of the dyslexic children have a very high IQ. They may show exceptional skills and talents, and may lead healthy and normal lives. Many famous personalities, who have excelled in their profession were found to be dyslexic. Internationally acclaimed Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, who’s name is synonymous with cubism was a dyslexic. Most of his paintings are said to be a representation of what he saw as a dyslexic.
Every child is special and needs personalised attention and training. Hence, depending on the level of dyslexia and particular shortcomings, educational strategies should be specially designed for every individual child suffering from the disorder.
A dyslexic child may need:
- Personal tutoring and special classes
- Help to identify and hone the skills he/she possesses
- Extra learning assistance, given by an expert
- Counselling with an educational psychologist
A dyslexic child may face depression and inferiority complex, and this may not allow the child to express his feelings or make friends and socialise. Hence, psychosocial counselling is essential. With some help and a great deal of hard work, a child with dyslexia can learn to read, write and solve mathematical problems. However, making them feel loved and cared for is the best medicines for a dyslexic child, as it can help him/her overcome the difficulties associated with the disorder.