There are many misconceptions about Dyslexic children. They are believed to be slow learners, mentally retarded, slow in comprehension, emotionally disturbed and totally unfit for learning. This surmise is not only popular, but also wrong. Dyslexics have a problem only in reading, writing, spelling and sometimes arithmetic, but not in thinking. "My daughter was performing very badly in her exams. She would answer correctly when you ask her orally, but she was not able to put them on paper. It took us a long tome to find out that she was Dyslexic," says the parent of 10-year-old Nisha.
Lack of awareness about this disorder among the teachers and parents, has often resulted in the child being branded as "Idiot" or "lazy". Constant failure and censure from both parents and teachers affect these children emotionally. They develop low self-esteem and school becomes a stressful place. Studies not only become an ordeal, they hate their teachers and classmates who are good at studies. As a result the child is pushed from school to tuition teachers, whose teaching methods are of no use to him.
First the parents must realize that their child has a learning disability and then take suitable action to remedy it. They should stop comparing the child with siblings who are normal. With a combination of understanding and patience the parent can help the child to grow into a mature confident adult. In a pioneering effort to help the Dyslexic children, The Madras Dyslexia Association has been functioning in Chennai for the past 10 years. They have centers associated with different schools in the city rendering guidance to the students and training to the teachers to teach the dyslexic children.
"My son refused to go to school, because his Maths teacher was bullying him for being weak and slow in his studies. Finally I had no choice but to change his school, which has a dyslexic center. Here the teachers understand his problem and are patient with him. He is happy here," says Mrs. Lily, parent of a 12-year-old Dyslexic child. "These children need more attention and patience from both the parents and teachers. Dyslexia is just a disability not a disease. The parents and others should stop treating them as if they are mentally retarded," says a teacher in a MDA center.
The teachers in MDA render individual help to these students by giving them less written work and more of oral, giving marks for content without reducing marks for grammatical and spelling errors, not punishing the child for messy work and poor handwriting. The degree of Dyslexia in children can vary from mild to severe. Usually the IQ level of these children, ranges from average to gifted. Winston Churchill - Prime Minister of England had considerable learning difficulties when he was at school.
Hans Christian Anderson - the author of fairy tales exhibited wild variations of spelling and word formation in the handwritten manuscripts.
Albert Einstein - Nobel Prize Laureate and the propounder of theory of relativity had great difficulty in learning Mathematics under traditional methods.
Having dyslexia won't make everydyslexic
a genius, but it is good for the self-esteem of all dyslexics to know their minds work exactly the same way as the minds of great geniuses. It is also important for them to know that having a problem with reading, writing, spelling, or math doesn't mean they are dumb or stupid. All dyslexics may not develop the same gifts, but they do have certain mental functions in common.
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