Children develop and learn at a pace that is comfortable for them. Their reading skills too are developed on par with other skill-set building activities.
Nevertheless, it is challenging at times for kids to get in their reading activities while they transition from one point to another.
However, researchers warn that if the child is increasingly facing difficulties with his/her reading skills and falling behind in his/her academics, it is time for the parent to investigate into possible causes. Increasing loss of reading skills describes a known disorder called dyslexia.
Dyslexia is one of the most commonly associated disorders that can be discovered by looking at one’s learning patterns. It not only affects the child’s ability to manipulate different sounds, it also hinders his/her ability to recognize correct phrases in the language.
Further, kids suffering from dyslexia often are unable to decode newer words or break words into smaller, manageable chunks.
This could result in the child facing increased difficulty in his/her writing, spelling, and reading activities.
Although one workaround to dyslexia might be memorizing words, the child is still hampered from being unable to recognize newer words and slow in retrieving new ones.
However, it should always be noted that dyslexia should never be used to doubt a child’s intelligence. It is a gap that exists between the ability of a student and his/her achievements.
Some youngsters, through sheer will, can match their peers with extra effort during early grades. Nevertheless, they need to continually improve in order to stay ahead with their curriculum.
There are many strategies available to help a child compensate for their learning weaknesses, which can ensure success.
At times, one may wonder if dyslexia is common. Yes, it is!
The observations made by researchers in order to understand the commonly occurring disorder have put the number at 1 in 5 kids. Further, 80 to 90 percent of youngsters were seen to have issues with learning skills.
Dr. Sally Shaywitz says the growing concern is that parents often neglect diagnosis thinking their children’s learning difficulties have something to do with their level of intelligence or else they blame environmental factors.
Although the experts say they observe dyslexia as being more common among boys in comparison to girls, current research suggests otherwise. The authors in the present study say that the results indicate dyslexia is common among girls and boys.
So how do you recognize dyslexia? What are its symptoms?
- If you are a parent/teacher looking for an answer, the simple explanation can be given as: through careful observation.
- Have the children memorize simple rhymes. Difficulties in learning and memorizing indicate warning signs.
- Watch for speech delays.
- Difficulty in differentiating right from left
If children are going to school, probable dyslexia symptoms can occur from:
- Difficulty with pronouncing new-sounding words
- Lacking fluency in comparison to other children of his/her age
- Trying repeatedly to reverse letters (for instance, reading ‘was’ as ‘saw’)
- Being unable to take down notes in the correct order
- Rhyming struggles
- Avoiding the teacher when called out for reading aloud
- Increasing frustration or fatigue from his/her reading activities
Dyslexia affects youngsters outside the school environment as well. For instance:
- Kids might show signs of trouble while decoding signs or logos.
- Being unable to play new games with peers
- Difficulty with keeping track of multiple directions
- Difficulty with remembering the time
- Being unable to learn other languages
- Increased mood swings
Emotional and Social Impacts of the Disorder
The dyslexia disorder is seen to affect a child on many fronts. For instance, children may end up facing social stigma and embarrassment among their peer groups due to not being able to express themselves using correct words.
Scott Bezsylko further adds, “That results in a direct social impact, adding to your woes, which do not make you feel good about yourself.”
Kids who have not yet been diagnosed sometimes start feeling low and lose confidence. Many a time, parental pressures are also to be blamed as kids start feeling that something is not right with them.
Doctor Scott says, “A major part of our work lies in helping kids understand that they are equally capable and smart, just like their peers.”
A look into the diagnosis of dyslexia disorder:
If you see your child struggling to meet the expectations for reading skills, you can request that the school teacher have an evaluation performed.
The teacher is the best person to effectively evaluate and she can help you understand the results in the right order.
You can be sure to see it if an achievement gap has been formed in the child’s educational year.
Post these activities, have a discussion with the school authorities about the ways they can help your child succeed in his/her education.
If you are unsure about the evaluation results, you can have a second evaluation carried out by reputed external agencies that have professional psychologists and reading specialists on their payrolls.
When should the evaluation process be carried out?
Although the disorder is seen to begin at a very young age, there are certain preschool evaluation programs that help to get an accurate evaluation. The child’s ability to make up different words is assessed by well-trained specialists.
Dr. Matthew Cruger says, “It is always preferable to wait until the child is at least 6 years of age.” He further adds, “Parents, at times, rush and expect immediate results; this should be avoided.”
However, Dr. Shaywitz says, “It is always a good practice to seek help as soon as you spot that something is not right.” Further, Dr. Shaywitz argues, “Schools sometimes recommend that parents wait longer. However, earlier diagnosis should always be given priority.”
How can you help kids diagnosed with dyslexia?
A diagnosis does not necessarily mean the child will not be able to learn how to read and write.
Dr. Cruger highlights the importance of several programs that can help kids to get onto a normal schedule. Some of the programs are highlighted below:
- Multi-Sensory Instructional Programs to Assist in Decoding Skills
- Timely review and repetition of skills
- Intensifying interventional help
- A small focused group providing necessary instruction
- Teaching the art of Decoding Skills
- Sight word drilling
- Comprehensive strategies teaching
- Wilson Methodology
- The Orton Gillingham Approach
- PAF or Prevention of Academic Failure
- The Linda Mood Bell Program
Doctor Cruger highlights that traditional tutoring can result in being counterproductive for children suffering from dyslexia. The doctor says, “For instance if a child does not like the experience of reading, the program ends up not being helpful.”
Dr. Cruger further adds, “As a first step, one can emphasize making the kids comfortable with their reading abilities.”
Celebrating smaller accomplishments and victories is a sure-fire way to instill confidence in the child, notes the doctor.
Helping Dyslexia Kids through timely accommodations:
Dr. Shaywitz explains, “Kids with this disorder can get extended accommodations to help them perform better in school.” Dr. Shaywitz also says, “The disorder can result in robbing a child of his/her time.”
Accommodations could be:
- Giving them the benefit of extra time during their academic tests
- Ensuring quieter spaces
- Encouraging them to have the lectures recorded
- Completely eliminating their oral reading activities
- Not pressuring them to learn foreign languages
- Encouraging the child in activities they are comfortable with helps the child develop naturally. This will also help boost confidence.
A look at other helpful strategies:
- Encouraging the kids to use audio books
- Teaching the kid typing skills
Being diagnosed with dyslexia disorder is seen to result in embarrassment, frustration, low self-esteem and avoidance of social groups. However, gradually demystifying the disorder can help a child thrive by developing the necessary resilience.
Explain that the challenges you observe are a direct result of dyslexia. For instance, “Are you facing difficulties while copying or reading signs? That is dyslexia.”
Acknowledge the efforts and congratulate your children. Make a habit of celebrating his/her hard work, even if you see some mistakes.
- Help the child recognize his/her inner strengths.
- Do not encourage negative talk.