Dyslexia in Children: Know Everything about It!

Jun 03, 2019

As per a press release, nearly 70-80% of the children suffer from reading disabilities. On the other hand, in India, alone, about 15% of the kids are dyslexic. That brings us to the question, what is dyslexia? What causes dyslexia in children, and what are its symptoms? Let's find out.

Understanding Dyslexia in Children

Dyslexia is a neurological condition that mainly causes difficulty in a child's ability to read, write and spell. Children suffering from dyslexia face problem identifying speech sounds and relating them to letters. It mostly runs in families and can affect the child for their whole life, including adulthood. Dyslexia does not imply that a child has below average learning ability. In fact, kids and adults with dyslexia are very good at certain activities like art, craft, singing, etc.

Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia

Symptoms of dyslexia vary from person-to-person. The symptoms may change from minute-to-minute as the most constant thing about dyslexics is their irregularity. However, some of the common signs include:
  • difficulty in learning to read
  • slow speed at learning sets of data
  • delayed speech development
  • clumsiness
  • confusion in directions
  • miswritten words
  • writing letters in a reversal
  • forgetting spellings or words easily
  • short concentration span
  • illogical or unconnected ideas
  • problems in spelling words
  • avoiding activities that involve reading
  • inability to pronounce unfamiliar words
  • difficulty in solving simple math problems

What Causes Dyslexia in Children?

Dyslexia is not due to a lack of desire to learn or lack of intelligence. It is adaptive, i.e., due to genetics. Dyslexic children have normal intelligence and vision. Most often, dyslexia may be caused:
  • if there's a family history of dyslexia or other learning disabilities
  • due to premature birth or low birth weight
  • if a pregnant woman is exposed to drugs, alcohol or infection that may hamper brain development in the fetus

Despite Dyslexia Can Children Still Read?

Yes, it is fairly possible for dyslexic children to read as well as write. As a matter of fact, children who get diagnosed early experience fewer problems in learning. In other words, if they receive effective phonics training and phonological awareness at kindergarten, they can learn to read. It is also known that programs utilising Structured Literacy instructional techniques can help children and adults learn to read. More importantly, it is never too late for dyslexic individuals to learn to read, process, and express. They can start at any given point.

Is Treatment of Dyslexia Possible?

Till date, there's no certain treatment of dyslexia as it is a disability. However, some strategies and methods can help improve this condition. These include:
  • learning strategies & educational techniques - making a change in the learning pattern can help kids in understanding. For instance, an introduction of audio-visual methods. Other than this, professionals also focus on improving phonological awareness, improving fluency and building vocabulary in the children.
Phonological awareness includes breaking words into sounds, connecting letters with sounds, and blending sounds into words. Fluency technique involves reading aloud to build speed, reading accuracy, and expression. To build the vocabulary of a dyslexic child's, professionals suggest keeping a  handbook of recognised and understood words. This will help them to recognise and use words appropriately.
  • early diagnosis - if a child is diagnosed with dyslexia in the early years of learning, the reading and writing skills can improve. However, it becomes difficult at later grades, yet always possible.
  • guidance and support - psychoanalysis can help lessen any negative impact on self-worth
  • periodic evaluation - children with dyslexia benefit from a regular assessment. Doctors keep track of whether continuing their coping strategies is working or not. As a result, it can help identify the areas where more support is needed.

What Can Parents Do to Help?

Dealing with symptoms of dyslexia can be tiring and frustrating at times. However, parents need to stay calm in those times. Given below are some tips for parents to deal with dyslexia in children.
  • Dyslexia in children crushes their self-esteem and self-confidence. Support and praise for that matter of fact help in rebuilding it.
  • Promote audio learning. While reading and writing can be stressful for them, audio learning is fun for them. Listen along with them to help them understand.
  • Do not compare them with their siblings and other children. It is important to realise that they are not like every other kid.
  • Keep track of their work and make sure they follow up.
  • Get them assessed as early as possible.
  • Discover their strengths.
  • Avoid giving too many instructions at once.
  • Support their learning with actions and multisensory activities.
  • It is also important to lay down easy strategies to read and to teach pronunciation. When teaching them multiple meanings of words, synonyms, and homophones, try keeping them concrete.

Tips for the Teachers

As important it is to take care of the child at home, the rules equally apply to the classroom. Coordinate with the child’s teachers to ensure that the kid is able to learn and grasp the concepts.
  • Do not rush into things and be patient with them.
  • Instruction must be direct, thorough, supportive, logical and in combination with regular classroom teaching. A teacher must also guide children through individual assessments as the objective is to increase the number of positive interactions.
  • Praise them for making an effort. It helps in boosting their confidence.
  • Students tend to learn more effectively in small groups than in larger groups. Make sure the class strength is moderate so that equal attention can be given to the child.
  • Engage them in interactive sessions despite asking them to submit written answers.
  • Support pre-teaching before reading a text. Try to relate lessons with real experiences.
  • Simplify learning with toys, visuals, common household items and field trips.
  • Enhance vocabulary by bringing words to life. Choose common and high-utility words. When introducing new words in conversation or writing and ensure students have can connect with new words in order to “understand” them.
  • Never ask them to copy from the board instead arrange a printout and paste it into their book.
  • Have the child read controlled texts at their level. Let them try building knowledge and speed by reading the same words in different contexts.
  • Ensure them, they are capable of learning and can outrank other students.
Dyslexia is a lifelong condition. The only way to make it easy for children to deal with it is to have confidence in them. Remember, they are not ill; they are just different.

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