Dyslexia is also known as developmental reading disorder and is characterized by problems in spelling, writing and pronouncing words. People with dyslexia can be of average and above average intelligence. Some famous personalities with dyslexia are Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Pablo Picasso, Agatha Christie,etc. It is a lifelong problem and can manifest in different ways at different stages of life. As a result, your child will always have to take that extra effort to read.
The disorder can make a person very susceptible to failures in an academic environment which is instruction based. The plight of a dyslexic person was very poignantly displayed in Amir Khan’s “Taare Zameen par”. A film, every parent with dyslexic child must watch to understand their plights better.
There are several similar disorders that come along with dyslexia although it haven’t been confirmed whether they share the same basic neurological causes. Some other disorders are
- Dysgraphia results in poor processing of activities involving eye-hand coordination (for example catching a ball), direction or sequence oriented processing (example tying tie knot, tying lace of shoe), etc.
- Attention Deficit Disorder has been found among 12 % -24 % of dyslexic patients.
- Auditory Processing Disorder is considered as one of the major causes of dyslexia.
- Developmental Coordination disorder involves shortfalls like short term memory related problems, kinesthetic coordination, balance, fine motor skills, etc.
Researchers have conclusively proved that educational intervention before the child reaches 7 – 8 years of age results in lifelong improvement. There are a series of activities that a parent / special school can engage in with their child to improve their condition. These activities are
- Read to your child:- you can draw attention to words on bill boards, at traffic signals and stress on their pronunciation, notices, labels, etc. Find books which your child can read and you will also enjoy reading them so that the activity doesn’t look like a classroom.
- Becoming your child’s reading role model:- Make books, magazines and other reading materials available to your child and explain to him / her about the importance of reading.
- Drawing attention of your child to the sounds within words:- sing rhymes, point out similarities in words and their sounds, point out the sounds of each letters, lay your emphasis on alliteration and rhymes.
- Helping with spellings:– pointing out new words and playing spelling games and finally encouraging your child to write.
- Help with time management and planning:- put simple clocks, charts in front of your child so that they can visualize time set for a particular activity and create their own strategy to complete the same.
- Strengthening your child’s areas of strengths:- A child whose strength is hearing, his /her parent can give audio books or DVDs or educational mobile apps for them to learn and strengthen their skills.
- Respecting and challenging your child’s own intelligence:– Dyslexic kids have average to above average intelligence. Explain honestly to them about their disability in a way appropriate for their age and understanding and shower unconditional support and love. This will also involve accepting their limitations and explaining to them that doesn’t necessarily concludes to being a loser or a failure.
- Avoid becoming a homework monster:- don’t become a perfection freak when it comes to your child and squabble over their home works. Accept your own mistakes with a sense of humor and teach your child the importance of perseverance.
If you find that, you are not being able to fulfill all the above steps on your own and feeling lost or incomplete in some way, you should immediately contact your local rehabilitation center for dyslexic children. These special education schools can reduce much of your worries as these places have the infrastructure and qualified personnel to properly guide their growth.