Dyslexia, a common problem overlooked

– 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?”

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.

Effects –

• Low self esteem

• Withdrawal from friends, parents and teachers

• Timidity

• Lack of self confidence

• Depression

• Anger

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.


MORE TO IT – part 3

Dapo was surprised when she picked his call, and he was even more surprised when she agreed to meet with him.

He had not been able to gear up the courage to talk to her until her mother had called him demanding to know why he was yet to pick his wife from her house.

He had confessed to her that he could not bring himself to because he had broken their marital vows. The older woman had reprimanded him over the phone and ordered him to fix his life and his marriage.

He had called her, after two hours of fiddling with his phone and losing concentration totally from work. She had picked the call on the third ring and simply said, “Hi”.

He had been at a loss for words and just held the phone to his ear, unable to utter anything.

“Oladapo,” she had called out his full name and all he had said in response was, “Lade, can we talk?”

She had remained silent for a while and responded with, “I would text you where and when.”

“Okay,” and she ended the call when he had remained silent over the phone.

She had on sunglasses that almost covered her entire face when she walked up to where he sat. He winced knowing that he was the reason for that cover up.

She took her seat opposite him and requested for a glass of water with a slice of lime when the waitress came to request for her order.

“Are you not having anything?” She asked him.

He had been lost in his thoughts, then with a smile, informed the waitress that he would have a glass of water.

“You wanted us to talk?” She cocked her head to a side. He had never been sure why she had that habit of cocking her head to a side whenever she wanted to begin a discussion or argument with someone.

On his own though, he had concluded that she did so in order to have a clearer view of a person’s face from a particular angle.

“Dapo, I’m listening.”

He cleared his throat but that did not decongest the barrage of words blocking his vocal cords. He had many things to say to her all at once but none of them sounded convincing to his ear.

“Dapo,” she called out again. “I’m sorry.”

Of course, he was shocked at her apology and his face did not do too well to hide the shock.

“I’m sorry our marriage has gotten to this.” She continued. “I’m sorry that we have now become those couples we judged and swore to never become. Dapo, I’m sorry that we have now become strangers staring at each other in silence at a restaurant. I’m sorry on your behalf as well.”

At that moment, Dapo’s tear ducts failed him as a rogue tear fell from his already reddened eyes. He pinched his nose and held his head back, hoping that gesture would retract the already forming tears.

“How do we go from here?” She asked.

“I would perfectly understand if you want to leave me.” He finally found his words. “I’d crossed a line and I’m not too sure there’s any coming back from it.”

“Are you saying we should file for a divorce?” Her voice quivered a bit.

“Lade, I don’t want a divorce. I can’t even imagine losing you. However, I would perfectly understand if you want to leave me.”

“I don’t want a divorce either but…….but Dapo, I’m scared for us.”

He swallowed before speaking, “I really wish I could swear on my life that this would not repeat itself but I’m the last person to assuage such confidence. If I’d been confronted with the fact that I would lay my hand on a woman, I would have beat my chest at the impossibility of such ever happening….but look at me, look at us.”

“I provoked you though. Those words I had uttered…”

“I won’t allow that, Lade.” He cut her short. “Lade, I would not allow you blame yourself for my actions. Yes, your words were degrading but my response was way off and out of line.”

He paused to let the waitress place their glasses of water before them.

Then continued, “Lade, that would have been a very easy excuse to ride on but….but what if it was a police officer or my boss that had insulted me in that manner, would I have reacted with slaps? I should never have laid my hands on you and I have no singular reason to justify my action.”

“But do we now end this…us…our marriage because of what happened?”

“I don’t want us to end, Lade. Probably, separation for a while?”

“Therapy? Couple’s counselling? I think Pastor B can recommend us to someone.” She rolled out the suggestions.

He nodded.

“Hope the face does not hurt?” He asked, genuine concern not missing from his voice.

She gave him a dainty smile. “Not anymore.”

She removed her sunglasses then. He saw that she had just a slightly blackened bruise and red eyes. His insides turned.

“Are we good?” She asked him gently.

“I’m surprised though, at you, at your reaction. Why are you letting me go easy?”

“Well Dapo, not everything is in black and white. I guess experiencing it first hand has set some things in perspective for me. I know you more than everyone else out there and I know you are not a violent person. We are passing through a very rough patch in our marriage right now and I’m willing to work to make it work.”

“Dapo listen, there is more to every marriage that is being flaunted. There are no standard rules to relationships. What worked for our parents and works for our friends cannot work for us. We have to create and continually evolve our own rules.”

“However, if you lay your hands on me again, I would walk out and never look back.” She added sternly, albeit calmly.

“Duly noted and perfectly understood.”

She smiled and extended her hands across the table to hold his.

He interlocked his fingers with hers and whispered, “I am sorry.”

“I know.” She whispered in response. “Are we good?”


– THE END…..for now –

MORE TO IT – part 2

His head was still in his hands when the backlight of his phone came on. He reached out for it and saw that she had replied his text message some thirty minutes later.

Her message had simply read, “I am safe but don’t try to get across to me.”

He heaved a sigh of relief. He was confident that she was in her parents’ house.

Dapo covered his face with his palms, sniffing and cussing.

He had never laid his hand on any woman before, not even his sisters when they were younger.

He did not need a soothsayer to tell him that he had just lost his wife simply because he had lost his cool for a second or two.

From their friendship days, he knew Temilade to be the sharp-mouthed one. She was not the type to be subdued or hide her disapproval. She had always verbally expressed her dissatisfaction with accuracy and precision, hitting her targets at the exact points she wanted.

That was what had endeared her to him, yet that was what had made him lose his head and turn his wife into a slapping contest.

They had been having back and forth arguments for months now over various issues ranging from difference of opinion on societal issues to the right time to have a baby.

She had returned from work some minutes past ten and he had wasted no effort in unleashing his anger at her and demanding that she spent more time on their marriage instead.

She had flipped and insisted that her career was more demanding now because she was nearing her peak. She had explained, no, she had shouted that she needed to focus more on her career because it was a feat women, especially young women, hardly accomplished.

In his fit of anger, he had told her to get married to her career since she rated it more than their happiness. In retaliation, she had accused him of being jealous of her rapid growth and promotion.

He had responded that she needed to concentrate more on them, especially having a baby and she had retorted that she could not imagine having a baby with a couch warmer like himself, whose devotion was more to his game console and TV. She had called him ambitionless and a lesser image of the man she had initially fallen in love with.

That was when the slap struck her face. The next two slaps had come in quick succession and it was not until he heard her scream his name did his senses return in a rush.

He had been unaware that she had left the house until he heard the opening and closing of their gate. That was when he turned around from the wall and realised that he was alone in their two-bedroom apartment.

He could swear that he had not planned to hit her, but she had provoked him. Even the Bible warned that wives should not provoke their husbands to wrath, or was it parents who were warned from provoking their children to wrath, he quipped.

He tried to remember that part of the scriptures that addressed married couples and if his memory served him correctly, he remembered that it was “husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” He was also convinced that somewhere else in the Bible admonished husbands to love their wives as their own bodies for he who loved his wife loved himself. He knew these because the Pastor had reiterated them during their counselling.

Yet, he had laid his hands on the woman he had sworn by God before all men to protect. He was definite that there was no coming back from that.

He lifted his legs off the floor and placed them, knees up on the couch, placing his arm on his head as he did so.

He turned on his phone and scrolled through his Twitter feed. He then searched for her handle and scrolled through her timeline, expecting a thread of her latest ordeal and advising ladies to flee abusive relationships but there was nothing of such. There were no cryptic messages to sub him or any post to show that she had even gone online.

He knew Temilade was quite expressive on social media and was the type to update her life occurrences in cryptic messages.

He opened his Instagram and searched through the pages of Break or Make-up and Joro Olumofin; pages he ordinarily would not have visited if he had not done the stupid act of raising his hands against his wife.

Her silence troubled him. This was a reaction from her he had never anticipated.

– To be continued…

MORE TO IT – part 1

Disclaimer: This work is pure fiction and the storyline, characters and names are the author’s imagination. Any semblance to anyone, either living or dead, is coincidental.

When the first slap hit her face, she had known it was coming. She had been mentally prepared for it but had not been physically ready.

However, when the second slap struck her face, nothing had prepared her for the impact.

She was dealt with the third blow and it was when he locked her head in his arms that she screamed.

“DAPO!!!!!!!!!” Her scream was a mix of anguish, shock and fear.

He let go of her head the instant she screamed his name. He released her and backed away from her, placing his hands on his head.

She tried to muffle the sobs trying to escape from her mouth while using her hands to wipe her tears and the phlegm from her nose. She raised her throbbing head to look at him but he was not looking at her. His face was to the wall and his head was still in his palms. She was not sure if he was crying or seething but she could grasp that he was muffling his words.

Despite her ringing ears, her senses were in action and she made a decision.

She picked her handbag from the floor where she had dropped it when their argument had started and picked her car keys from the coffee table.

In one swift turn, she turned on her heels and walked out of the house, gently closing the door behind her.

* * * *

Her mother was livid when she walked into her parents’ house. The matriarch of the Adelegan family required no further explanation when her daughter walked into the house with a bruised and purplish face and a slightly swollen eye.

“Did Dapo do this to you?” were her mother’s first words when she came face to face with her.

She could only offer a nod in response, as she gently took her seat on the couch in their spacious and well-lit living room. Her mother sat beside her on the couch and took her face in her hands, carefully examining the extent of the damage.

“Dapo did this to you?” Her mother asked again, her tone laced with unbelief.

Temilade, at that moment, was grateful that her father was out of town or else, all hell would have let loose on Dapo. Her father was a retired Air Officer and she was certain that her father would have had him locked up in a guardroom, or somewhere.

While her mother hurled expletives on Dapo and his entire family, Temilade’s mind wandered to the drive she had made to her parents’ house.

She had gotten into her car at exactly 11:38pm and had dared the risky drive from their house in Lekki to her parents’ house in Surulere. She had not even stopped to think about the dangerousness of driving through Adeniji Adele/Apongbon or the Eko Bridge at that dead of the night.

The realisation had hit her when she had heard her mother’s voice on the other end of the phone asking her why she was being told to ask her gateman to open the gate for her daughter at quarter to one.

Temilade was however jolted from her thoughts when her mother’s next question sank into her head.

Ehn Temilade, you sef, what did you do to your husband?”

Temilade was very sure that the look she gave to her mother shot daggers at the older woman.

Nevertheless, her mother pressed on, “Temilade, iwo naa, ki lo se fun oko e?” she repeated her question in their native language, Yoruba. “I don’t know your husband as well as you do but from the little I have seen from that boy, he does not look like the violent type. Dapo to dabi eni ti o le p’ayon.” Her mother ranted on, claiming that Dapo had the innocent composure, as one unable to hurt a fly.

“You must have provoked him!” Her mother insisted.

“So, Dapo is the victim here, abi?” She shot back at her mother. “So, I am the one deserving of brutality? So, Dapo can be excused for laying his hands on me just because I did something wrong, ehn? Ehn, maami, so, Dapo has the right to beat me?!”

“Temilade, calm down. Calm down and listen to me. See, men are egoistic in nature. They do not appreciate their authority being challenged. Temilade, you have to understand that as a wife, you have to be docile and subservient in order to keep your home.”

“And that is why you’ve remained in slavery disguised as a marriage.”

Her mother shot up that instant and glazed Temilade with an icy stare.

“Young woman, I would not tolerate you speak of my marriage with such disdain. It is my marriage and I choose to remain in it anyhow I deem fit. Have I ever complained to you or any of your siblings about your father?”

She pointed her finger at Temilade, holding her stare at her.

“It may not be love but I choose to remain with your father out of the respect I have for him and the respect I have for the sanctity of my marriage. It is my marriage, Temilade, my marriage and each day I choose to be with your father, it is MY decision.”


“I do not know how you youngsters live out your marriage these days but when we say for better, for worse, we mean it to the letter.”

“Your room is still neat. Abigail cleaned it last weekend, and if you choose, you can sleep on the couch. Me, I have gone to my room to sleep. O daro.”

Temilade had half-expected her mother’s response; the latter part of the altercation was what she had not expected.

Her phone buzzed beside her and she reached out for it. She punched in her password and saw that she had some notifications from her Twitter, LinkedIn, Whatsapp and a text message. The text message was from Dapo.

The message had simply read, “Babe, please let me know that you are safe. I know you don’t want to talk to me again in your life but please, let me know you are safe.”

To be continued…


This was what she loved most about a brand new day. The smell of fresh coffee.

Every morning, she would climb off her bed and walk with decisive long strides to her Coffeemaker. First, she would, with sarcastic attentiveness, fill out her mug with the dark liquid. She enjoyed pouring her coffee in that manner because she was often referred to as a scatter-brain. Nothing ever sustained her attention over a period of time. An enigmatic restlessness, she would often quip about herself.

Second, she would lift the mug of the hot, thick liquid to her nose and allow the fresh aroma waft through her nostrils and settle on her olfactory lobes. Then, she would take a long sip of the brew, letting the caffeine sate her senses.

This was her every morning ritual. Her romance with her coffee. As usual, she would pour herself another mug. All this she did while standing in that spot of the kitchen she had come to get accustomed to. It was a little space between the shelf where her Coffeemaker sat and the side of her refrigerator. She just loved to stand, resting her back against the side of the refrigerator, the gentle humming vibrations massaging her back.

She would then drop the used mug in the sink. The cleaning lady would wash the mug, that she knew and also, clear out her room and fold or hang, whichever the case may be, every cloth she must have strewn around. The cleaning lady was a nice, smiling woman who never said much. She had at one time left her used plates in the sink (she was never a kitchen person) and the woman would always wash them. Guilt, however, settled on her like a night cloud and so, she resorted to disposable everything! Plates, cups and cutlery. Life was that simple: use and dispose!

Her bath often took longer than ten minutes because she often times forgot whatever it was she was doing in the bathroom. Her brain rummaged with thoughts and solutions. How to approach this? How to settle that? The best plausible way to synchronize? Then, like a jolt of lightning, her mind would snap back to the present reality and she would continue with her bath.

Dressing up was an even more arduous task, with less co-ordination. Flinging clothes around her room, never deciding which was best. She actually never easily decided on anything, except for the best approach to take on with her cases, of course. She often called it a ‘knack’ which just made her know the right step, the right approach to take. Like Olivia Pope in the popular series, ‘Scandal’ would call hers ‘gut-feeling’, she called hers ‘her knack’.

Make-up applied in haste, hair pulled back in her signature ponytail, laptop bag and handbag in hand, her day was set to take-off. But first, she had to pour her coffee into her travel mug and take a dash out of the flat, often always running back to lock her door.

This was her usual routine. The usual routine of the scatter-brained Lagos female lawyer.



Disclaimer: I am not against the institution of marriage or asking women not to take care of their homes and families. I am just a young lady expressing my thoughts. Thank you.

There is this chronological train of events often expected of ladies, especially in Nigeria – you are supposed to pass your SSCE and UME, then proceed to the university, graduate and then serve (NYSC) and then work for a while, then get engaged, then get married and then have children. I even see pictures with number tags on each of these stages of the “woman life” and you are asked to ‘rep’ your current level/ status.

Impliedly, and sometimes, expressly, a woman’s life is expected to evolve per stage in that chronological fashion and anything short of that is out of the norm.

Again, please read the disclaimer.

Let me tell you a short story. The story is actually the premise of this my epistle:

When I was much younger, I can’t remember how old now; I was probably in jss1 or 2, I was with my dad and I can’t even remember what we were discussing but he had said something profound that fateful day. Something that would resonate some 16 years later while doing my laundry.

I would paraphrase his words; “I don’t know why I’m paying this much for your school fees when at the end of the day you would end up being one Mrs. Ogun-something and end up in a man’s kitchen.”

Now, my dad is literate, educated and exposed. He had been a high-flyer while in primary and secondary school and had even been a beneficiary of a scholarship that lasted all 5 years of his secondary school (it stopped at form5 back then). He was even a Medical Doctor. He reads a lot…on everything and about everything. So, he was not backward.

However, those words stung then; even as a young child. I am almost forced to believe that he had issues with the girl-child ’cause he would often say, “your certificate would end up in the kitchen irrespective of your career” (paraphrased).

Maybe it was his words, maybe it was the rise of female empowerment; I just worked with the ideology that I was never going to allow a “Mrs” define or limit me.

My friends would attest that I am a sucker for weddings and I even have the colour schemes for my wedding day written on stone. Nonetheless, I would let you all into the other side of me.

I must have subconsciously decided on that day that I, Oluwatofunmi Akindele, would be a woman on my own terms who would not be relegated to a particular position or to the backseat because of my gender.

As much as marriage is good and worthy, I would be known first as a woman in my own right and not because I am married to a particular Mr. Man and I bear his last name.

That my name would be known for the works that I do, the lives that I impact and the accomplishments on my trail and I would not just be simply known as one “Mrs. Ogun-something” working somewhere and all that there is to me is that I am a ‘Mrs’.

Even though I would cook for my family and claim my kitchen as my own, I would never entertain the thought, opinion or argument that the kitchen is my duty and life-purpose. It was never scripted anywhere that cooking and kitchen duties are limited to a particular gender, hello!

I have a name and it is Oluwatofunmi, I have a life-purpose and I represent a gender. My marital status does not define my nomenclature, my capabilities, my career path and definitely, not my gender role.

I refuse to be known and recognised only as a Mrs. Ogun-something.