Dyslexia – Just a Bug in the Word Processing Brain
Dyslexia- once a medical term- has now become a common and familiar term, to many. Thanks to Taare Zameen Par (aka Like Stars on Earth, 2007). If not for this cinema the Indian demographic could never have been informed about Dyslexia on a massive scale. Nor understanding dyslexic kids would’ve been possible and the related discussions could’ve been brought to the public platform. Though we’re aware of the term not many of us have a proper understanding of this disability. Lots of myths and misinformation shroud the topic.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is not the disability of a child to see written letters or words properly as many of us think it to be. Instead it is the inability of their brain to process them as normal persons do. Children with dyslexia find it difficult to process words, letters in their brain and often end up messing them up. Actually dyslexic children have problems in identifying the letters and differentiate them properly. Since this happens to be their basic problem they have difficulty in reading. Though their eyes see as normal as everyone their neural networks in the brain are not properly wired to process the data input from the eyes.
Dyslexia in kids can be spotted at a very early stage of education- in fact very early, at kinder garden level itself. These children often lack Rhyming sense. Hence they’ll have difficulty in learning and reciting the nursery rhymes. Later while they are taught to write alphabets, they have an awkward pen grip thus ending up with really bad handwriting. But it must also be mentioned here that not all bad handwriting are a sign of dyslexia (Recent findings suggest that faster thinking process might also be a reason behind bad handwriting. Its’ a result of the disparity in the processing and thinking speed of the brain and the speed of the writing hands, they say.)
Children with dyslexia also have great difficulties to spell words properly. Their brains will find it difficult to identify the syllables in words. Also the level of dyslexia differs from person to person. For instance, some may have difficulties with, say, three syllable words while some may even struggle with even one syllable words.
Forms of Dyslexia
Dyslexia in a nutshell can be understood as the out-of-balance of brain (brain’s phonological processing problem). Here are some common forms of it. Like alphabets, numbers are also basically arbitrary symbols. Hence dyslexics will have poor arithmetic abilities. Precisely said it’s not actually poor arithmetic skill, but again their brain’s inability in processing those numbers. This inability with math is called Dyscalculia.
The aforementioned poor hand grips result in not only poor handwriting. The inability among kids to write properly is termed Dysgraphia. These kids take a long time to write, and end up only with scribbled letters and words. Most of their writings will have misplaced letters and numbers on which their brains have no control of. Their writing will be full of spelling mistakes, improperly written alphabets and they’ll usually be unable to write in coherence. They might never achieve in putting their thoughts in paper.
The infographic seen above gives a glimpse of the problems and difficulties faced due to dyslexia.
Children with Dyslexia should be embraced and should be made to understand that it’s just a Neuro biological variation. Hence they are normal like anyone. Guiding and training one to rectify these small neurological variations should be the most preliminary effort. Like ‘special children’ kids with dyslexia should be identified at very early stages, separated and be provided helped with special teaching pedagogies. Using informal methods of educating, usage of multimedia educational aids in teaching will certainly improve learning among dyslexics.
Giving more time to read and comprehend, giving them extra time to write during examinations, identifying their special skills other than textual learning are some of the most common encouragements that should be given to them. The last part is where the teaching community and family members’ role is very much essential.
Nature, while it takes something from one, blesses him/her with the other. True to this, dyslexics often have other remarkable special skills. After the awareness of dyslexia spread across the world, we’ve been able to understand that an astonishing number of geniuses from almost every field have been dyslexics in their lives. Their successes are the solid proofs that testify dyslexia could never be a stopper in one’s pursuit to success, if one is determined to outplay it and reach the goal.