Could Your Child Be Dyslexic?
Forcing a child to not leave his chair till he completes reading a book will prove futile if the reasons for the difficulty are not addressed. The child may not be bored or lazy but simply dyslexic and may need help in addressing the syndrome. If you’re clueless about dyslexia, let’s take a closer look at this learning disability and the ways to get around it.
Award-winning American actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg once said: “They thought I was lazy so they put me in the slow class. But my mom was a Head Start teacher and she told me, ‘you’re not slow, you’re just different.’“
Similarly, if you think your child has trouble learning, in particularly reading something, he or she may have dyslexia.
According to the co-director of Yale Centre for Dyslexia and Creativity, Dr Sally Shaywitz, a dyslexic has trouble reading, matching letters on a page with the sounds those letters and combinations of letters makes. Their brain simply takes longer to make these connections compared to others. Naturally, this slows down the progress of reading and ultimately, the progress of learning.
However, the author of Overcoming Dyslexia, Dr Shaywitz said dyslexics only have trouble reading and often have higher levels of intelligence and creativity in other sectors.
Although it is classified as a learning disability, if detected and addressed early, dyslexia can prove to not be a hindrance to a child’s learning development.
- Difficulty in sounding out words
- Difficulty in reading and generally avoids reading aloud
- Difficulty in spelling and often makes spelling mistakes
- Suffers from anxiety or headaches when ask to read
- Mixes up direction words such as ‘left, right, north, south, before, after, up and down’
- Poor time management skills but creative thinker
- Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation and visual aids
- Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics and story-telling
- Trouble with remembering dates, names, telephone numbers, random lists
- Has trouble finishing tests on time
- Extreme difficulty learning a foreign language
- Messy handwriting
- Mispronounces familiar words; persistent “baby talk”
- Doesn’t recognize rhyming patterns like cat, bat, rat
DIAGNOSING THE DISORDER
The earlier it is detected, the better the chances of the child overcoming the disability and be offered proper avenues to enrich their reading and learning capabilities.
According to the Dyslexic Association of Malaysia (PDM), there are two ways of going about diagnosing:
IQ Test + Reading Test
Two tests are used to assess a child presenting with dyslexia-like symptoms. Firstly, an IQ test is performed followed by reading test. A dyslexic child would present with an average or above IQ test result, but fare poorly in the reading test.
This method is when a checklist of questions created by expert is used to access a child for any indication of dyslexia.
Methods of diagnosis can vary to include even screening tests using computer games and so on.
In Malaysia, there is an estimated 600,000 school-going children with dyslexia.
According to the Education Ministry, in public schools, children with dyslexia are placed in special classes together with kids with a variety of learning disabilities.
However, with the help of PDM, the association is training to help teachers identify dyslexics and equip them with the right learning tools as dyslexics should not be grouped with those with low-level IQs.
One way of teaching, according to the association’s president Sariah Amirin, is the multisensory approach.
The method focuses on having the child taught using more than one of his senses. For example, just reading or listening or doing work with their hands as separate tasks might not be as effective as a combination of all.
Apart from public schools, parents could also choose to send their children to specific centres or institutions that focuses on teaching dyslexic children. These include:
- Sri Rafelsia, Desa Sri Hartamas
- Hils Learning Centre, Mont’ Kiara
- Dyslexia Association of Malaysia, Jalan Ampang
If you think dyslexics don’t go far, the the following big names may prove you wrong, for they’re dyslexics:
- Albert Einstein
- Thomas Edison
- Keanu Reeves
- Pablo Picasso
- John Lennon
- Muhammad Ali