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Dyslexia: Not a Disease

Robert

Each child learns and develops at a certain pace and reading is no different from other skill building. With an ever increasing emphasis on education and literacy, more and more children need help in learning to read, spell, express their thoughts on paper and acquire adequate use of grammar. Reading is complex and it is common for children to find reading challenging at one point or another. It requires our brains to connect letters to sounds, put those sounds in the right order, and pull the words together into sentences and paragraphs that can read and comprehend. Skillful reading is an essential tool for learning a large part of the subject matter taught at school. But if learning to read becomes an ongoing struggle that leaves a child falling behind his or her peers, it is possible that he or she has a learning disorder known as dyslexia.
Dyslexia has been around for a long time and has been defined in different ways. It is a type of learning disability affecting the ability to read, write or spell, and sometimes spoken, language. Children with dyslexia have trouble reading accurately and fluently. They may also have trouble with reading comprehension, spelling, and writing. Dyslexia is different for everyone. Some people have a mild form that they eventually learn how to manage. Others have a little more trouble overcoming it. Even if children are not able to fully outgrow dyslexia, they can still go to college and succeed in life. The exact cause of dyslexia is unknown, but it often appears to run in families.
The problem in dyslexia is a linguistic one, not a visual one. It affects a child’s ability to recognize and manipulate the sounds in language. They have hard time in decoding new words or matching the letters they see on the page with the sounds of those letters and combinations of the letters. And when they have trouble with that step, all the other steps are harder. They may therefore compensate by memorizing words, but they’ll have trouble recognizing new words and may be slow in retrieving even familiar ones. Children with dyslexia may have trouble answering questions about something they have read. But when it is read to them, they may have no difficulty at all. Dyslexia symptoms change at different ages and stages of life. Identifying dyslexia in young children can be difficult for both parents and teachers because the signs and symptoms are not always noticeable. Each child with dyslexia is different, has unique strengths, and faces distinct challenges. Yet there are some general signs that the child might need some extra help in school.
Although it is a neurological condition, dyslexia is not linked to intelligence. Dyslexic children struggle to read fluently, spell words correctly but these difficulties have no connection to their overall intelligence. Unlike learning disability, intelligence is not affected. People with dyslexia have normal intelligence and usually have normal vision. In fact, dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader. While people with dyslexia are slow readers, they often, strangely enough, are very fast and creative thinkers with strong reasoning abilities. Thus children with severe dyslexia can be brilliant. The only shared trait among people with dyslexia is that they read at levels lower than typical for people of their age.
Dyslexia is a lifelong problem that can present challenges on a daily basis, therefore raising a child with dyslexia is a journey. However, it is never too late for people with dyslexia to learn to improve their language skills because a dyslexia diagnosis does not mean a child will never learn to read. Though there’s no cure for dyslexia, early assessment and intervention result in the best outcome. Sometimes dyslexia goes undiagnosed for years and isn’t recognized until adulthood, but it’s never too late to seek help. There are supports available to improve reading and writing skills and strategies to help them manage their challenges and thrive in school and beyond. Support is. The severity of dyslexia can vary from mild to severe. The sooner dyslexia is treated, the more favourable the outcome. Most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or a specialized education program. Emotional support plays an important role because dyslexia can result in frustration, embarrassment, avoidance and low self-esteem as a result of difficulties performing tasks that seem to come naturally to others.
The symptoms of dyslexia can be hard to spot until the child starts school. A teacher might be the first one to notice the signs, especially if the child struggles to read, spell, and follow instructions in the classroom. Parents must address the problem early and consult pediatrician if their child’s reading level is below what is expected for his or her age or if they notice other signs of dyslexia. Early intervention can improve success. Additionally, meeting with the child’s teachers is an important step toward getting more answers. However one should keep in mind that many children have more than just dyslexia. There are other learning challenges that often coexist with it. A lot of them have symptoms that can look like dyslexia symptoms. That is why testing for dyslexia should be part of a full evaluation that looks at all areas of learning. Before any treatment is started, an evaluation must be done to determine the child’s specific area of disability. While there are many theories about successful treatment for dyslexia, there is no actual cure for it. If left untreated, dyslexia may lead to low self-esteem, behavior problems, anxiety, aggression, and withdrawal from friends, parents and teachers. When parents see just how much they can do for their child, it may ease some of their fears and gain a lot of knowledge about their child’s challenges with reading and about the many ways they can help their child thrive at school and in life.
The most important aspect of any treatment plan is the approach. Children will be influenced by the attitudes of the adults around them. Helping begins with talking openly with the child about learning and thinking differently. By starting the conversation, parent set the stage for talking to their child more about dyslexia and what it means. And their child may be more open to hearing important messages such as that having dyslexia does not mean they are not smart. And that with the right support, their child will thrive in school and beyond. The better their child understands this, the better he or she will be able to cope with having a learning disability.
Dyslexia should not become an excuse for a child to avoid written work but be sure to express love and be supportive. Parents are the child’s favourite source of support. From working with the school to working on reading skills, parents can help give their child the tools and motivation to thrive at school and in life. Academic problems don’t necessarily mean a person with dyslexia cannot succeed. With appropriate support, there is usually no reason that the child cannot go to a mainstream school, although a small number of children may benefit from attending a specialist school. The earlier your child gets diagnosed, the sooner she can start treatment to bring her language and writing skills up to speed. Capable students with dyslexia can be highly successful, given the right resources. Many people with dyslexia are creative and bright, and may be gifted in math, science or the arts. Some even have successful writing careers. Many famous people with dyslexia have very successful careers in these and other fields, despite having had reading struggles in school. Above all, there must be an understanding from all who teach them, that they may have many talents and skills. Family and friends can help by understanding, recognising and appreciating each person’s strengths, whether they’re in sports, drama, art, creative problem solving, or something else. Their abilities must not be measured purely on the basis of their difficulties in acquiring literacy skills. Dyslexic children, like all children, thrive on challenges and success. Help build the child’s confidence and see the results in their new mentality towards learning.

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