A good way to understand dyslexia is to establish what it is not. It’s not a sign of low intelligence or laziness. It’s also not due to poor vision. It’s a common condition that affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language and math.
Below are the common definitions. Take note of the first definition, “difficulty in learning to read”. It wasn’t too long ago Dyslexia was defined like Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia. (Brain disease and brain disorder.) It still is a common perception among educators and people in general.
Dyslexia; a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence.
Dysgraphia; inability to write coherently, as a symptom of brain disease or damage.
Dyscalculia ; severe difficulty in making arithmetical calculations, as a result of brain disorder.
Dyslexia is primarily associated with trouble reading. Some doctors, specialists and educators may refer to it as a “reading disorder” or a “reading disability.” But it can also affect writing, spelling and even speaking and the ability to do math. It is very common according to the Mayo clinic. More than 3 million US cases per year are reported and it is considered to be a chronic disorder.
People with dyslexia can still understand complex ideas. Sometimes Dyslexics just need more time to work through the information. Some times dyslexics are ten times ahead of everyone else, because in order to understand the information they pay attention more than others. Some times dyslexics are bored out of their minds, because they have given up on the teacher for not listening or understanding how to engage them. So when in a crowded classroom they are bored, it is a recipe for a trip to see the principal.
They need different ways to process the information. The bottom line is that a teacher needs to read the test questions to a dyslexic or have an audio book available and a quiet place for the student to work.
People do not out grow dyslexia. It’s a lifelong condition. But that doesn’t mean a child can’t be happy and successful. Who needs to be part of the status quo anyway? There are many effective teaching strategies and tools that can help a dyslexic child. In fact, many people with dyslexia have successful careers in business, science and the arts.
People with dyslexia are often very creative. It’s unclear whether such creativity comes from thinking outside the box or from having a brain that’s “wired” a bit differently.
It’s important to keep in mind, struggles with reading and teasing from other students leads to intensefied frustration and low self-esteem. The stress of dealing with schoolwork can make kids with dyslexia lose the motivation to keep trying, burst into tears, threaten to run away, self depreciate. (I’m so stupid…)
There are lots of tools and strategies that can help. It is trial and error until a parent figures out what works best for their child. But finding the right strategies and seeing improvement can boost a child’s confidence.
Keep in mind; Dyslexics are the ones who have to live with Dyslexia, be patient and supportive. They are as, if not more frustrated than you.