Our brain controls the learning process and the development of skills. Brain functioning is a complex process that coordinates learning, reading, speech, language, and many more. Dyslexia does not imply mental retardation, brain damage, or decreased intelligence. It runs within families and can be transferred to the next generation.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects your child’s learning, readings, speaking, spelling, and writing abilities. Dyslexia occurs due to impairments in parts of the brain that controls or processes language. The child will find difficulties identifying sounds from a speech and decoding the words from the sentences and find connections.
Dyslexia affects children who are just as smart or intelligent as their peers and with normal vision. Although dyslexia is common amongst children, it can affect adults too. Dyslexia may be diagnosed in a child early in life but can sometimes get missed until later in life.
What are the Causes of Dyslexia?
According to research, the exact cause of dyslexia is still not known. However, it has been associated with genetics, i.e., a child can have dyslexia if they have a positive family history of dyslexia that runs in their family genes.
Dyslexia has also been associated with impairment in an individual’s brain ability to process language and speech. Dyslexia does not reduce mental intelligence, nor is it associated with any vision or hearing loss.
What are the Symptoms of Dyslexia?
Symptoms of dyslexia in a child are hard to diagnose unless they are at school-going age. You might get contacted by the school teachers about their learning difficulties, as they are the first ones who will notice it. Mentioned below are a few common symptoms of dyslexia in a child:
- Less talkative
- Difficulty in reading
- Problems identifying words correctly or mixing up words
- Confusion to words that sounds similar
- Difficulties in remembering/ recalling names, numbers, colors, or memorizing
- Difficulties in rhyming songs or solving simple puzzles
- Not able to spell things correctly
- Avoiding tasks such as reading, singing, etc
- Writing difficulties
How to Support Your Child and Bring Out the Best in Them?
The child will need a lot of support from their parents and their teachers and peers. Mentioned below are some of the tips that you can use as a parent to assist them:
- A dyslexic child can have lower self-esteem due to their poor performance. Make them believe in their abilities, praise, or support them emotionally to rebuild self-confidence that things will get better with time.
- Provide support and encourage your child’s hobbies or ideas.
- Do not compare your child with their siblings or peers; instead, teach them slowly, as they might be sensitive to some comments.
- A child with dyslexia will have difficulty with homework. Never get angry or scold them. Implement various plans or strategies and help them remember .
- Make sure to talk to their school teachers. Educate them too about the condition of your child.
- Make daily routines or checklists to organize daily tasks into smaller parts and let them do it.
- Adapting various learning tools allows them to practice words using a computer keyboard instead of writing.
- Make colourful timetables and notes.
- Teach them words linked to a picture so that they can remember it easily.
- Read stories to your child that your child may find encouraging or make them listen to Audiobooks, which will help them improve their learning and writing capabilities.
What are the Complications of Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a life-long condition affecting learning capabilities and developing skills. If left untreated or undiagnosed, dyslexia can cause serious complications such as-
- Difficulty in learning: A child with dyslexia will have severe learning difficulties than their peers in class with low performance.
- Frustration, angry or low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, social withdrawal.
- Unable to read, talk, communicate can hamper his educational and social life.
- Dyslexia in adults can cause depression, low performance, reduced self-confidence, and financial crisis.
What are the Risk Factors for Dyslexia?
The risk factors for dyslexia are as follows:
- Positive family history for dyslexia
- Early or premature birth with low birth weight
- Pregnancy: exposure to alcohol, nicotine, systemic infections
When to See Your Doctor for Dyslexia?
You should immediately fix an appointment with your doctor/physician as soon as you notice these signs in your child.
- Slow learning
- Difficulty in reading
- Poor performance in school
- Difficulties in remembering names or colors
- Problems identifying words to create a sentence or mixing up words
- Depression or lowered self-esteem
Your doctor will perform some tests and rule out various other health-related problems such as hearing, vision, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) so that they can be treated early as possible.
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How to Diagnose Dyslexia?
Early diagnosis of dyslexia is very important to support your child to cope with his learning difficulties. The reading, learning, and writing difficulties are mostly identified during their kindergarten or preschool years, where there is continuous deterioration of their performance in school, and you might get frequent calls from their class teacher about their poor learning abilities.
How to treat Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a life-long condition that requires both emotional and learning support. The earlier it is diagnosed, the easier it becomes to control the severity of the condition. Here are some of the best treatment options available for dyslexia-
- Multi-Sensory approach
The multi-sensory learning approach helps break down the academic tasks into smaller parts presented to them via various inputs such as touch, sound, smell, etc.
- Emotional support from teachers or counselors
It should be clear that dyslexia doesn’t mean that there is a lack of interest in studying. A dyslexic child will need support from the teachers at school and from the counselor, encouraging him to put more effort into learning and performing well.
- Implementation of digital learning tools and applications into studies
Implementing various assistive learning tools and applications into their studies can help them learn and write quicker. Few such examples are
- Providing them computer keyboards to write instead of pencil and paper
- Learning application devices to teach them texts, words, sentences, colors, objects, poems, etc
- Giving them learning devices like reading pens, calculators, digital dictionaries to do daily tasks.
Extra care should always treat a child with dyslexia with both emotional and support from teachers, too, as by doing so, your child can improve slowly, and the learning and reading difficulties will eventually get better with proper management and using advanced tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the earliest signs of a child with dyslexia?
Ans. The early signs for a child with dyslexia are, reading difficulties, slow and labor-intensive reading, unable to remember names or colors, mispronouncing words or mixing words, spelling problems.
Can dyslexia be cured entirely?
Ans. Dyslexia cannot be completely cured. However, it could be managed effectively with proper support from teachers, parents, a counselor and the right therapy.