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Dyslexia – Learning Disability in Children

  • Nikita Rana
  • Learning disability refers to a cluster of symptoms which indicate difficulties in acquiring language skills such as reading, spelling, writing, comprehension during conventional classroom instruction. Learning disability makes it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the normal instructional environment and in its severe form, qualify a student for special education or extra support services.

    Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, and nearly 70%-80% of students diagnosed with LD have deficits in reading. It is characterized by a core deficit in reading that manifests despite normal intelligence, equal opportunity and adequate instruction. It has a worldwide incidence of 5-20%. The incidence of dyslexia in India is believed to be 15%. There are 228,994,454 students enrolled in recognized schools, which brings our count of dyslexic Indian children to nearly 35 million.

    Two primary reasons why dyslexia remains undiagnosed in India are:

    1. Lack of sufficient awareness amongst school, teachers and parents

    2. Absence of appropriate standardized screening and assessment tools in Indian languages.

  • Children with Dyslexia (Age 5-7)

    Children with Dyslexia (Age 8-10)

    Parents

    Schools/ Teachers

  • 1) Do you face this problem? 

    No, no one in our family had any kind of learning disability before. Nowadays learning disabilities are increasing.

    2) Do you know anyone who does?

    My daughter has dyslexia. She is 7 years of age. She is a smart child, I still can't believe she has dyslexia.

    3) What are your experiences with dyslexia?

    I was heartbroken when I was told that my daughter had dyslexia. But I am also thankful that I know now and it is not too late. There is almost no awareness about dyslexia in India, I didn't even know what dyslexia was. I was fortunate to have the resources to send my daughter to a school which knew these things, such schools are a rare sight in India and these shools too only exist in the metropolitan. I have seen my daughter suffer and throw tantrums not to do homework. She does not want to go to school. I worry for her self esteem and academic success. 

    4) Is there anything that solves this? Why don't you use it?

    According to my research, in countries like the USA there are separate learning programs for dyslexic students. But India doesn't even have Therapists for suicidal and depressed patients. Indian govt. doesn't have any learning path and resources for students with a learning disability. India is not a disability-friendly country. There aren't any learning resources available which can be custom for my daughter so it becomes difficult to help her learn at the same pace as her classmates. The resources which are available on the internet are very broad since every child's disability is a bit different from others. Due to these reasons I refrain from using these resources and teach her myself with my methods. These methods aren't perfect but at least I know I am not doing any harm either.

    5) Would you pay to fix it?

    Let me ask you, how much will you pay for yourself to be successful in the future. I think I speak for all the parents with children with a learning disability when I say this, I can pay, just like pay these expensive school or maybe even more if somehow my child doesn't have any effect of the learning disability on her academic success.

  • A child with Dyslexia will show these symptoms.

    General:

    • Appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.
    • Labelled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, “not trying hard enough,” or “behaviour problem.”
    • Isn’t “behind enough” or “bad enough” to be helped in the school setting.
    • May not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written.
    • Feels dumb; has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with ingenious compensatory strategies; easily frustrated and emotional about school reading or testing.
    • Seems to “Zone out” or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time.
    • Difficulty sustaining attention; seems “hyper” or “daydreamer.”

    Vision, Reading, and Spelling:

    • Complains of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading.
    • Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences, or verbal explanations.
    • Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.
    • Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying.
    • Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don’t reveal a problem.
    • Extremely keen sighted and observant, or lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.
    • Reads and rereads with little comprehension.
    • Spells phonetically and inconsistently.

    Hearing and Speech:

    • Has extended hearing; hears things not said or apparent to others; easily distracted by sounds.
    • Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.

    Writing and Motor Skills:

    • Trouble with writing or copying; pencil grip is unusual; handwriting varies or is illegible.
    • Clumsy, uncoordinated, poor at ball or team sports; difficulties with fine and/or gross motor skills and tasks; prone to motion-sickness.
    • Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right, over/under.

    Math and Time Management:

    • Has difficulty telling time, managing time, learning sequenced information or tasks, or being on time.
    • Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and other tricks; knows answers, but can’t do it on paper.
    • Can count, but has difficulty counting objects and dealing with money.
    • Can do arithmetic, but fails word problems; cannot grasp algebra or higher math.

    Memory and Cognition:

    • Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.
    • Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced.
    • Thinks primarily with images and feeling, not sounds or words (little internal dialogue).

    We aim at treating the child with a personalised plans developed using machine learning such that he/she might be able to overcome the adversity of a learning disability and go on to become a successful adult. Since India currently have negligible awareness and have a much higher percentage(10% more than the world's average) of children having dyslexia there is a lot of work which is needed to be done in this field. We aim to equip the parents, teachers and children so that they might be able to manage and overcome the effects of dyslexia.  

October 18, 2019

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