Dyslexia is a learning disorder that makes it hard for a person to read, write, and spell. The brain jumbles the words and as a result the individuals have poor memory of spoken and written words. The other names for dyslexia are specific reading disability, reading disorder, and reading disability. This reading disorder is seen in children, and if left untreated, enters into adulthood.
The associated symptoms vary according to the age group. They are
- Delay in speech
- Learning new words very slowly
- Forming or spelling words improperly
- Reversing words that sound alike
- Learning nursery rhymes in a difficult manner
- Avoiding activities that involve reading
- Finding it difficult to remember sequential things
- Spelling difficulties
- Difficulty in reading normally when compared to the children of same age group
Adolescence and adulthood:
- Retrieving words is difficult
- Summarizing story becomes complicated
- Mispronouncing names and words
- Memorizing difficulties
- Learning a foreign language is difficult
- Trouble understanding when read aloud
Dyslexia often runs in families and genetic problems may also be a cause for this condition to occur. Dyslexia arises from different parts of the brain that processes language. Children with this condition find it difficult to connect words and often misspell words such as “tac” for “cat”. Their learning capabilities are meagre, as they’ve a problem spelling the words.
Dyslexia can be caused due to:
- Genes and hereditary
- Improper functioning of the brain
Brain injury, stroke or other trauma Risk factors
The risk factors that can cause dyslexia are:
- Family history
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Individual differences in different parts of the brain
- Exposure to nicotine, drugs, alcohol and infections during pregnancy
The doctor may recommend a few tests for the diagnosis of dyslexia based on the above mentioned symptoms. The following are the diagnostic tests for dyslexia.
- Reading tests like language and problem-solving skills are assessed in the child.
- A complete behavioral, medical and social history of the child is recorded to rule out any medical conditions such as brain injury etc.
- Neurological tests are performed to identify any other underlying disease conditions.
- Diagnostic scans of the brain are performed to check for the functioning of the brain.
- Psychological tests are performed to identify any signs of depression, anxiety and social aspects that hinder the learning capabilities of the child.
Dyslexia cannot be treated, but can be managed when it is detected at an early stage. The children who are affected with this condition, have lesser learning capabilities, need to be taught differently, and these children require special care and support by the parents and teachers.
The following modalities help to improve the life of the affected people. These are:
- School counselors, special education teachers, the teacher and other school personnel, must actively take part in the IEP program (individual education plan) meant for the development of the affected child.
- A combination of educational methods such as teaching phonics, how the letters are linked to sounds help children learn effectively.
- A tutor can help the affected child by putting in extra efforts on the child’s reading capacities and learning capabilities. These efforts might benefit the child and may boost up his confidence.
- A speech-language pathologist (SLP) uses a combination of phonics, phonemes, and decoding that are fundamental to reading to help children with dyslexia.
- A reading specialist conducts assessments and analyzes the data that can help children suffering from dyslexia. They play a significant role in (RTI) response to intervention process to identify and help students who are at risk.
- Reading in these children is enhanced by giving assistive technology software for reading, such as optical character recognition (OCR) and text-to-speech (TTS) software.
- Emotional support from family members, proper guidance, speaking with the child provides some relief and comfort and enhances the life of the child.
Dyslexia, if left untreated can lead to problems such as:
- Low self-esteem
- ADHD in children
- Social problems
- Learning difficulties
- Behavioral problems
Dyslexia can’t be treated, but its effects can be minimized by the support of parents in
- Being patient with the child
- Spending quality time with the child in his studies
- Creating a fun way to study without pressurizing the child
- Reading aloud along with the child
- Helping him read novels and stories
- Having a conversation with the child and helping him pronounce words loudly
- Playing word games helps in improving the vocabulary and knowledge