– Ayomide R. Afolabi.
I remember as a student, it was a constant battle of staying at the top of the class i.e. being in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd position.
While for some it was either the top or the top, for others it was the bottom with no struggle whatsoever.
They never contributed in class nor did their assignments correctly, that is if it was done at all. They are commonly called names like, “Olodo, Empty head, Fish brain”, etc.
I was a curious child, so I always wondered exactly why those kids could not do it right, but the answer never came forth.
As a graduate, I was opportuned to tutor some children at the primary level and same scene played out.
That one child who could not answer questions, who was timid, who was laughed at, who was picked on by others for not knowing or who was giving a hard time to the teacher.
I constantly asked myself how normal this could be, but then if the right questions are not asked; you would not get the right answers.
I did a little homework and there, all the answers to my questions were! Effort is essential to get desired results.
Here’s the deal, “Ever heard of Dyslexia?”
• Is a neurological condition caused by a different wiring of the brain;
• Is a disorder that involves difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols;
• Is a genetic condition;
• Has nothing to do with lack of intelligence.
Warning signs include:
• Late/delayed speech
• Difficulty reading when compared to age mates
• Difficulty writing or spelling
• Spending unusually long time completing tasks
• Difficulty comprehending information.
While there are other types of learning disabilities such as Attention Deficiency Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia etc., Dyslexia is one of the most common type of learning disability.
Research has however shown that it is possible to have more than one learning disability.
Knowledge of Dyslexia and other learning disabilities is not common in Nigeria and so, children with these conditions are often times called names, bullied or beaten and these, directly and indirectly, have certain effects on the child or a dyslexic individual.
• Low self esteem
• Withdrawal from friends, parents and teachers
• Lack of self confidence
Risk factors of Dyslexia
Having a risk factor for Dyslexia makes the chances of getting a condition higher but that does not always lead to Dyslexia. So also, absence of any risk factor does not guard against getting the condition.
• A family history of dyslexia;
• Premature birth or low birth weight;
• Exposure during pregnancy to nicotine, drugs, alcohol or infection that may alter brain development in the fetus;
• Brain level differences in individuals.
It is important to note that Dyslexia is a lifelong condition that has no cure but it can be managed.
Parents and teachers are meant to be observant of their children/wards.
While it may not be all children that have difficulty learning that have learning disabilities, it is important to know the best learning method of a child. Not every child comprehends information the same way, some children learn easily by reading, others by listening, some by observing while others learn by practicing.
Early detection of Dyslexia in children is necessary as appropriate intervention will be put in place which would help these children maximize their full potentials.
Dyslexia is not a condition to be ashamed of; with Dyslexia are known to have special abilities and this can only be discovered with a lot of patience and assistance.
Dyslexia can be diagnosed through thorough and careful assessments.
Here is the good news: there is a Dyslexia Foundation here in Nigeria! You can look them up in case you know anyone who might be in need of it.
The best news however, is there have been a lot of successful Dyslexics who are quite famous, who would have thought? George Washington, Bill Gates, Tom Cruise, Albert Eistein, Mohammed Ali, Jennifer Aniston and even in Nigeria, Ayanwoye Tobi, a teenager who overcame Dyslexia and now constructs electrical appliances.
You can come out of your shell today or help someone come out of theirs.
“90% of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses” – George Washington.