Looking for Early Signs of Dyslexia
The initial signs of dyslexia often appear in early childhood. Dyslexia is a learning disability. The first thing we should know is that the so-called "learning disability" is really learning differences.
Dyslexia does not affect intelligence level. However, it can impair the children's ability to learn, retain and express information. Children with dyslexia are unusually creative, innovative and independent.
Dyslexia is caused by an impairment in the brain's ability to translate images received from the eyes or ears into understandable language.
Dyslexic children display difficulty with the sound/symbol correspondences of our written code because of these differences in brain function.
National Institutes of Health ( NIH) investigated, dyslexia is primarily due to linguistic deficits. It is due to a difficulty processing language. And not due to visual problems. This means that the right teaching techniques can actually re-train the brain, especially when used early.
Excerpt of an article called 'Dissecting Dyslexia ' children who have dyslexia, find difficulty in understanding written language despite having a normal or higher than normal IQ.
Dyslexia represents the most common and prevalent of all known learning disabilities.
• Difficulty learning the alphabet, days of the week, numbers, recognizing colors and shapes.
• Struggling to write or read his or her own name.
• Problems with syllables or saying certain sounds.
• Difficulty learning to speak and say longer words.
• Difficulty expressing thoughts.
• Inability to follow directions
• Inattentiveness and distractibility.
• Letter and number reversals
• Problems recognizing the sounds and names of particular letters.
• Difficulty learning to read and write or spelling some words.
• Problems with rhyming, saying, reading or spelling some words.
• Lacking fine motor skills. Left-Right Confusion
Early intervention is essential
The impact that dyslexia has is different for each child and depends on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of instruction or remediation. Early intervention has been shown to have significant benefit.
Dyslexia should not become an excuse for children to avoid written work. Create an environment at home where the children know they can talk about their learning difficulties. Provide constant reminders that you love and support your children.
Teach children coping skills, works should be broken down into appropriate assignments. Reinforcement should be given for efforts as well as achievements. Praise and celebrate small steps as well as big leaps in the right direction.
Attention should be given to optimum learning conditions. The focus is on strengthening the children' weaknesses while utilizing their strengths. Set reasonable expectations. Expect the best your children are capable of doing.
Computers are powerful tools for the children and should be utilized as much as possible. Interactive technology is providing interesting ways for dylexic children to feedback on what they have learned, in contrast to traditional paper-pencil tasks.
The direct approach may include a systematic study of phonics. Multisensory methods to help all the senses work together efficiently that require the children to hear, see, say or do something.
A multisensory method Visual-Auditory-Kinesthetic-Tactile ( VAKT) can be used to help children remember words. The instruction given must be conducive for each children's needs, ability levels, and success of progress.
* Use picture flash cards that involve matching words
* Sequencing stories or finding things that go together
* Read to your child or let them listen to books on tape.
* Sing songs and do finger plays that involve rhyming
* Tell simple stories and ask your child to retell the story back to you
* Use a computer at home and school to help with writing and spelling
* Work on motor skills such as throwing a ball to a person
* Catching a ball, kicking a ball, throwing a ball into a basket
* Skipping, hopping or completing an obstacle course
* String beads together or create patterns
* Ask your child to duplicate the same pattern you made etc.
Think for a minute, consider how difficult life would be if our brain could not process the words the way they appear. Many tasks would become difficult and that is what a dyslexic has to deal with.
It is utmost important for children with dyslexia, to have positive attitude. Parents can help build positive attitude in your children by your encouragement, support their efforts made, and point out the areas where they do well.
Research by Nicola Brunswick, at Middlesex University, UK, has pointed out that several great artists, designers, architects and fashion designers have credited their dyslexia with helping them to realize their potential.
We see a list of people who did use their dyslexic advantages. They became very successful in their field.
To name a few well-known and highly accomplished individuals with dyslexia
* scientists like Albert Einstein
* inventors like Thomas Edison
* statesmen like Winston Churchill and John Kennedy
* military leaders like George Patton
* sports heroes like Jacky Stewart
* musicians like John Lennon
* actors like Anthony Hopkins
* authors like Agatha Christie
* designers like Walt Disney etc.
They are a living proof that dyslexia doesn't need to be a disadvantage, but on the contrary can become even a strong advantage.
These famous dyslexics proof that nurturing the dyslexic capabilities contributes to their own potential and happiness.
In fact, they even contribute to a better world by using their abilities: Albert Einstein used his imagination to come up with relativity theory; Thomas Edison used his to invent; Walt Disney to entertain us.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Richard Branson and other entrepreneurs to create better products and services whilst creating employment in the process.
Myth: Smart people cannot be dyslexic or have a learning disability.
Fact: Dyslexia and intelligence are NOT connected. Many dyslexic individuals are very bright and creative and have accomplished amazing things as adults.
Myth: Dyslexia is rare.
Fact: In the United States, NIH research has shown that dyslexia affects 5-10% of the population, with estimates as high as 17%. Some people may have more mild forms, while others may experience it more severely. Dyslexia is one of the most common causes of reading difficulties in elementary school children.
Myth: Dyslexia can be outgrown.
Fact: Dyslexia is a lifelong issue; yearly monitoring of phonological skills from first through twelfth grade shows that the disability persists into adulthood. Although many dyslexics learn to read accurately they may continue to read slowly and not automatically.