Dyslexia is the most commonly observed learning disability characterized by inability to read with speed and accuracy. It develops due to changes in the way brain processes information. Dyslexia is strongly believed to be a genetic disorder that passes from parents to children and develops by birth. However, the exact gene responsible for the disorder is not known. Not all children with reading difficulties should be considered as having Dyslexia. There are different types of dyslexia such as trauma dyslexia that develops after a brain injury, primary dyslexia that is caused due to dysfunction of left side of brain, secondary and developmental dyslexia that develops due to hormonal development during the fetal development.
Symptoms of Dyslexia observed in different age groups
Dyslexia symptoms generally vary from person to person and the extent of trouble can be mild or severe. Dyslexia symptoms observed in young children (Preschool to fourth grade)
- Poor reading ability: Cannot read single words surrounded by other words and get confused with small words such as to and at. Often make word reversals, letter reversals, substitutions and transpositions for a given letter or word.
- Poor ability to understand written content: Cannot process the meaning of the word they have seen.
- Pronunciation problems: Cannot decipher the sounds making up a particular word and cannot recognize the sound made by a particular letter. Hence, find difficulty in pronouncing words.
- Often get confused between similar letters or get confused about the order of words in a particular word.
- Trouble learning basic skills such as writing and reading. Hence, often lag behind in school work.
Dyslexia symptoms observed in fifth to eight grade children
- Read at lower speed compared to others.
- Continue to make letter reversals and substitutions.
- Remain poor at recognizing spelling and reading strategies such as use of suffixes and knowing root words.
- Hesitate to read aloud.
- Cannot do well with word problems in mathematics.
- Poor pencil handling and hence, writing will be illegible. Few students even avoid writing.
- Slow at recalling facts.
- Fail to understand simple jokes.
Dyslexia symptoms shown by college students
- Inaccuracy in reading continues.
- Spell same word differently in a single document.
- Do not love taking writing and reading tests. Even postpone doing writing and reading tasks.
- Few students work hard to improve their learning skills.
- Feel hard to prepare summaries for classes.
- Possess poor memory and take time to recall facts.
- Due to poor vocabulary cannot remember information.
Dyslexia symptoms in adults
- Oral language develops to a great extent.
- Reading and writing skills continue to remain poor.
- Avoid reading information and rely on verbal and memory skills.
- Develop the skill of reading people perfectly.
- Have good thinking skills essential for professionals such as architects, artists, physicians etc.
- Possess good intellectual ability but get recruited in jobs below their ability.
- Poor in organizing and planning activities.
Untreated dyslexia may result in complications such as:
- Emotional problems: Frustration in coping up with regular activities and inability to perform well along with other school children results in emotional problems. Out of frustration few children stop trying to better their skills and even lose self confidence. It can also result in depression.
- Social problems: Due to lowered self esteem, anxiety and behavioral problems they often withdraw themselves from family, friends and social gatherings.
Children with dyslexia are also at risk of developing ADHD which makes treatment of dyslexia even hard.
Treatment of Dyslexia
Dyslexia cannot be treated. It is a lifelong condition except for secondary or developmental dyslexia that diminishes as the child matures. However, early diagnosis of Dyslexia symptoms will only give an opportunity to help the child perform well and give them the required tools and training. Before confirming that your child is suffering with dyslexia it is very important to talk to a pediatrician. Physician will do a physical examination to rule out vision problems that also result in poor reading ability. Child will be given reading and writing tests, few oral questions and also an IQ test. Behavioral aspects of the child will also be studied to pinpoint the existing learning problems.
Drugs are not used in the treatment of Dyslexia. If dyslexia is associated with other disorders such as Attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder then medicines are used to treat the associated disorder. Dyslexia symptoms can only be elevated with training and by giving required help. Studies have shown phonics tutoring helps a lot to children with dyslexia. They show drastic improvement in reading and writing skills compared to those who are not trained. Giving help right from kindergarten will help child succeed in later grades.
Supporting children with dyslexia
With sufficient care and help dyslexia children can continue in regular classrooms along with other children. However, they have to be given additional time to perform the tasks and other required tools.
- Parents should educate themselves about the disorder and obtain information about the available resources to help their child.
- Children should be encouraged to read to their best. A little appreciation can go long way.
- Calm and pleasant atmosphere must be provided for them to study. They should not be forced to complete the work in time.
- Opportunity should be given to enjoy activities such as sports, arts etc as per their interests.
- Never remind the child of the disabilities or compare them with other children. Encourage to the maximum possible extent by praising their strengths.
- Encourage the child to read aloud by giving some help.
- Should be made to hear more number of taped lessons and help them recognize the word shapes by tracing them with fingers.
- Children should be given repeated instructions and ask them to listen and repeat the same.
For betterment of the disorder, children should be admitted in schools offering Individualized education program. In those schools parents, teachers and school administration together make a plan to improve the child’s condition. The plan is revised every year depending on the progress shown by the child. With good support from friends, family and teachers child suffering dyslexia can be trained to perform the routine tasks with minimum assistance.
Not all children with dyslexia fail to do well in life. Few people suffering with dyslexia are highly talented and can do well in mathematics, arts and can even pursue writing career with proper help and guidance from parents and teachers.