Dyslexia is a reading disorder which is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. It is characterized by an inability or difficulty in reading in spite of normal intelligence.
Difference between a child who is a slow reader and a child with dyslexia
The skill to read is an acquired skill. Children are exposed to this skill when they interact with baby books. In a formalised structure the learning process is focused on the alphabet, recognising the letters and putting them together to form words first, and then sentences.
Certain children, due to lack of opportunities may be a little slow to read. However, children with dyslexia have a problem in reading due to structural differences in the way their brain processes the written language or symbols.
The symptoms associated with dyslexia may be listed as under:
- Trouble in reading single words e.g. word on a flash card
- Trouble connecting letters with their sounds
- Trouble in differentiating small words e.g. ‘at’ and ‘to’
- Mirroring the letters especially ‘b’ and ‘d’
- Mirroring whole words e.g. ‘pit’ and ‘tip’
Managing dyslexia involves intervention through teaching instead of medication. Dyslexia is easily and most commonly diagnosed at school. The treatment involves adjusting the teaching methodology to cater to the special needs of the child. Through appropriate treatment, the underlying problem may not be cured, but the degree of the symptoms would definitely decrease. Parental support and motivation are key to the success of this treatment.
Some of the ways in which the parents can help children with dyslexia improve are:
- Identify the problem areas in reading and learning at an early stage and intervene on their own while seeking help from professionals
- Help the child discover and develop their love for reading by reading to them regularly
- Motivate the child to discover other interests and talents
- Help the child understand that dyslexia is a learning disability and not related to IQ or intelligence
- Create an environment of encouragement and of safety to keep the child happy and motivated