Have you come across young smart people who speak eloquently, are hands on with carrying out tasks but are withdrawn when it’s time to read out loud or write?
I have met University graduates who cannot spell their own names in a hurry, they write like they are in kindergarten. They are usually very smart when the speak but would shy away from activities that involves reading or writing.
There was an altercation between two housemates (Nini and Cross) in the ongoing Big brother naija reality TV show. Nini insinuated that Cross has a low IQ (intelligence Quotient) during their exchange of words.
Cross broke down in tears later. He explained that he is dyslexic and it is something he struggles with all his life even though he tries to hide it. He found out that he is dyslexic few years ago.
Dyslexia also known as reading disorder is a learning disability characterized by trouble with reading, writing and comprehension despite normal intelligence and vision. It is a neurological condition that affects areas of the brain that process language which leads to difficulty in identifying speech sounds and decoding how they relate to letters and words.
Dyslexia tends to run in families as it has to do with certain genes that affects how the brain processes reading and language. Other risk factors includes premature birth, low birth weight, exposure during pregnancy to nicotine, drugs, alcohol or infection that may alter brain development in the fetus.
Children with dyslexia are at risk of suffering Attention-Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This disorder causes difficulty in sustaining attention.
Dyslexia causes trouble in learning, as reading is a skill basic to formal learning, a child with dyslexia is at a disadvantage as they may have trouble measuring up to their peers. And if this problem persists due to their inability to meet up academically, it may lead to Social problems such as low self-esteem, anxiety, aggression, withdrawal. Which may have long-term educational, social and economic consequences.
Most people suffering Dyslexia are intelligent and above average when they speak because they are actually smart. They do very well in conversations because they are intelligent but they just struggle to read, write, comprehend what they are reading because they struggle to sustain their attention span. They suffer memory loss easily, are hyper active, and unable to do basic calculations most times.
Academics is not really their forte but they are good with Arts and Sports. They learn best through hands on experience. Although most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or specialized education programme, parents and teachers should focus more on the child’s strengths rather than seeing them as dullards.
Albert Einstein, one of the most influential physicists in history was dyslexic, so is Richard Branson who struggled in school and dropped out at age 16, yet went ahead to create Virgin Atlantic Airline.
What about Whoopi Goldberg the award winning comedian who is also a talk show host? Pablo Picasso and Leonado Da Vinci are dyslexic but became renown Artists. John Lennon the Lead singer of the Beatles in the 1960’s was dyslexic. These men and women went on to conquer their world. They didn’t hide behind their inability to read and write.
Dyslexia can be noticed when a child is learning to read and write. They would experience difficulty memorizing, difficulty in spelling, difficulty in thinking and understanding, delayed reading ability, speech disorder, late talking or difficulties in spellings, reading quickly, writing words etc.
Studies has shown that most school drop outs are suffering from dyslexia and because they are unable to follow the normal class room path of processing and understanding what they hear.
They find it hard forming answers to questions because they are unable to remember the sequence of things, seeing similarities and differences in letters and words, inability to sound out the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word, and difficulty in spelling.
They are laughed at, mocked and ridiculed by fellow students, teachers and even parents leading to withdrawal, truancy, tantrums and other unruly behaviours like substance abuse, and joining bad gangs as escape routes.
Even though there’s no cure for dyslexia, early detection, assessment and intervention can help. Emotional support also plays an important role in helping people with dyslexia live a normal life.
Fellow Nigerians, it is not everything that is spiritual or low IQ. While most children may be reading and writing at age 4, 5 and 6, children with dyslexia often can’t grasp the basics of reading by that age.
Consult a neurologist if your child’s reading level is below what’s expected for their age or if you notice other signs of dyslexia.
When dyslexia goes undiagnosed and untreated from child hood, reading difficulties will continue into adulthood.
Dyslexia is real. Understanding other people’s struggles will help you judge less and dwell more on their strengths rather than using their weaknesses against them.