As an organisation we asked ourselves this question,when we realised that a few of our students were having difficulties in reading.According to the British Dyslexia Association ” Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling and is characterised by difficulties in phonological awareness,verbal memory and verbal processing speed” In simpler terms we are saying it is a learning difficulty that affects the fluency and accuracy of reading and writing skills
In this article we will speak of Dyslexia in children , its causes, treatment and how we can relate to those living with dyslexia. PLEASE NOTE: dyslexia is not a disease its a condition that you are born with and it often runs in families. It can last for years or be life long. Its usually easy to diagnose, no lab tests or imaging is required. Children and adults with dyslexia are not lazy or stupid, most have average or above average intelligence and they work very hard to overcome their learning difficulties.
Understanding dyslexia in children
As mentioned above dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty in reading,children with dyslexia have trouble in reading accurately and fluently.They may also have trouble in spelling,writing and comprehension.This difficulty can negatively affect smart kids who are motivated to learn as they get frustrated for example one of our students:
Rufaro* Grade 6, dislikes reading aloud in class,she hides and looks down every time the teacher calls out her name to read to the class.She has never been a good reader and even when she recognizes the words on the page she seems to have trouble saying them correctly.She prefers reading books with pictures because it helps her make sense of the stories she reads.However her classmates make fun of her because picture books are considered ‘kindergarten books’. Everyday the teacher complains of Rufaro’s spelling and writing calling her lazy and stupid.Rufaro is always discouraged thinking that she is not as intelligent as the other students.
How a dyslexic brain works.
The main challenge that dyslexic kids face is recognizing phonemes which are the basic sounds of speech for e.g the ‘b’ sound in the word bus.Therefore it is a struggle to make the connection between the sounds and the letter symbol for example ‘i’ and ‘e’. It is difficult to blend the sound and the letter symbol to make sounds.For example; instead of saying “We spell words exactly as they sound to us” our dyslexic students will say “We spell wrds xatle az tha snd to us”
Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia.
- Poor reading skills besides having normal intelligent
- Problems with learning the names and sounds of letters
- Poor writing and spelling skills
- Delayed speech development
- Difficulty in finishing assignments and tests withing specific time limits
- Putting letters and figures the wrong way round for example 6 instead of 9 or ‘b’ instead of ‘d’.
- Difficulty in memorising written lists and phone numbers
- Visual disturbances when reading for e.g a child may describe letters aqnd words as seeming to move around or appear blurred
How to deal with Dyslexia.
- Get extra help-hire a qualified tutor
- Get a reading specialist to teach your child how to read and spell better
- Ask permission for more time for assignments and tests
- Be a source of emotional support,understand that your child is not lazy or stupid and recognize and appreciate their strengths.
- Ask for permission to use a computer with spelling checks for written assignments
- Give permission to record lessons
- Allow the use of audio books
- Give permission for more time for assignments and tests
- Hire Educational Psychologists for assessments and diagnosis
- Adjust teaching methods to meet the needs of the dyslexic student
Dyslexia is not a limitation,if treated correctly children can become whoever they want to be.
We hope you have learnt as much as we have from our experience tutoring dyslexic children. If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us via our social media platforms @inspiretutorszw for all platforms.You can also contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Compiled by Kuzivakwashe Chikanda & Tafadzwa Ngosi.