To create a "Dyslexia Sensitive" society that identifies and nurtures children with Dyslexia to reach their potential.
- To continue to bring about awareness of the condition and extending it to the college setup
Join the cause and
touch the lives of
children with dyslexia!
- What are learning disabilities?
- The term "learning disabilities" is actually a general term that describes different kinds of learning problems. There are many different kinds like dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia etc.
- What is dyslexia?
- Dyslexia is a specific learning disability. It comes from a Greek word (dys means difficulty and lexia means language). It is a hidden disability and is not visible like the other handicaps like blindness or deafness. Individuals with dyslexia have specific learning problems that can cause a person to have trouble learning and using certain academic and education-related skills.
- How is it caused?
- An individual with dyslexia is either born with those issues or acquires them through events such as a brain/head injury. Dyslexia is a developmental disorder. They tend to run in families; there is definitely a genetic component to it.
- What is a developmental disorder?
- A developmental disorder is a neurological condition occurring in childhood that affects specific areas. All developmental disorders fall in a continuum and can be mild, moderate, or severe.
- How early can these children be identified?
- Children who have difficulty in speech, language and some motor aspects can be identified even below 5 years and helped. These children are not termed as having dyslexia but being 'at risk' for a learning disability if they are not helped. Early identification and intervention are important to helping a child.
- Are they slow? Do they have below average intelligence?
- These children are often referred to as being 'dumb' or 'lazy' which they are not. They usually have average or above average intelligence, but they process information differently from more than typical learners their age. Researchers think that dyslexia is caused by differences in how a person's brain works and how it processes information.
- How is their academic performance?
- These children who have dyslexia often perform inconsistently. One day they may be able to do something, and the next day, may not be able to perform the same task. There is a severe discrepancy between their ability and performance level. That discrepancy or gap is the evidence of learning disability.
- How is their performance different from a slow learner's performance?
- A dyslexic child's performance could be erratic. There are "on and off" days. While the slow learner struggles and just gets border marks and manages to perform almost at the same level throughout, this child could do very well in one test but poorly in another test in the same subject.
- What is the statistics of its incidence?
- 10-15 % of the school going population has some kind of learning disability. Statistics about India is not available; this is regarding the world population. This would mean about 6 children in a class of 40.
- What is not Dyslexia?
- It is not a vision problem even though there are visual processing difficulties.
- It is not a hearing problem even though there are auditory processing problems.
- It is not slow learning.
- It is not mental retardation.
- It is not the result of lack of motivation.
- It is not the lack of sensory impairment.
- It is not because of inadequate instructions.
- It is not due to environmental opportunities, or other limiting conditions, but may occur together with these conditions.
- What are the educational skill sets most often affected by dyslexia?
- Basic reading (word identification/word decoding)
- Reading fluency
- Reading comprehension
- Mathematical calculation
- Mathematical reasoning
- Listening (listening comprehension)
- Speaking (oral expression)
- Do all dyslexic children have the same kind of difficulties?
- Individual patterns of learning disabilities typically vary from person to person. For e.g., while one child may have specific trouble with various aspects of reading and writing, another may have primary difficulties in language processing and thinking that also affect reading and writing.
- How can dyslexia be diagnosed?
- Diagnosis includes basically an educational testing after taking a detailed case history from the parents. An IQ test is done when the cognition is in doubt.
- How can dyslexia be cured?
- It is not a disease, so it can't be cured. It is only a condition and children are taught to cope with the condition. Children and adults can be taught ways to "cope" with their specific learning problems by using appropriate and specific strategies.
- How can this child be helped?
- By understanding the strengths and needs of the child.
- By giving multi-sensory teaching.
- By using multiple intelligences for teaching.
- Remedial teaching starting from the comfort level.
- By bridging the gaps in the skills.
- What is multi-sensory teaching?
It is using all our modalities: visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile. In a classroom, children learn using different styles (VAKT). A good teacher should try to incorporate a methodology that will appeal to more than one of the modalities or to all of them.
- What is the meaning of multiple intelligences?
The concept of one intelligence quotient is getting outdated as people now believe there is no one figure that can indicate a person's intelligence level.
Howard Gardner from Harvard University believes that people could have 8 kinds of intelligences:
- Verbal intelligence
- Logico-mathematical intelligence
- Visuo-spatial intelligence
- Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
- Musical intelligence
- Interpersonal intelligence
- Intra personal intelligence
- Naturalistic intelligence
Children could possess more than one of the kinds of intelligences mentioned above. The lesson can be represented and taught using at least 3 of these intelligences so that it reaches the whole class.
- What are learning styles and how can they help these children?
Every person has a preferred style of learning. There are mainly three types of learners -visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners.
- A visual learner needs to see to understand the concepts better.
- Auditory learner learns through listening.
- Kinesthetic learner is the one who learns when he actually carries out a physical activity rather than to listen to a lecture or merely watch a demonstration. For them doing leads to the understanding of concept.
Using all learning style in classroom will help all the students learn and understand better.
- Who can help this child?
- The mainstream teacher in the class.
- A special educator in a one on one teaching.
- What are the steps involved in the process of helping this child?
- Awareness about the condition called as dyslexia is given to the teachers.
- The teacher identifies the child in the class who has this difficulty.
- The teacher tries to help the child within the classroom setting.
- If there's no improvement after trying this for 6 months, this child is referred for an assessment.
- After the assessment the child would need an individualized educational plan as well as remedial teaching.
- The special educator will check to see if there are additional problems in the area of speech, language, motor skills, attention and behaviour areas. Referrals to the concerned specialists have to be made.
- What other therapies do they need?
- If speech or language difficulties are there they will need a speech and language pathologist.
- If gross motor or fine motor difficulties as well as issues with sensory integration are present resulting in problems with the mechanics of writing and poor attention, they will need an occupational therapist.
- If behaviour issues are there, they would need to be helped by a counselor and sometimes even a child psychiatrist.
- Do dyslexics have other talents?
Yes, many of them are good at areas like drawing, music or sports and can also be highly creative and talented in other fields.
Children with learning disabilities are capable of being academically successful and becoming high achievers. With accurate early identification and the right help, these children and adults with learning disabilities can reach their true potential.
To quote examples, many famous people like Albert Einstein, Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Alva Edison, Winston Churchill and Leonardo da Vinci have had some form of dyslexia.
- What happens if a child is not helped?
If adequate intervention is not given, the long term consequences are significant. A child does not work to his potential, loses self-confidence and self-esteem and could even drop out of school and get into anti-social activities.