What Is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a very common condition that affects the brain’s ability to process written and spoken language. It’s typically thought of as a reading disorder, but writing, spelling and speaking can also be affected by dyslexia. It’s a condition that lasts a lifetime, but a wide range of teaching methods and strategies have been developed to help those affected by dyslexia to overcome it and lead successful, productive lives.
“The problem in dyslexia is a linguistic one, not a visual one … The effects of dyslexia, in fact, vary from person to person. The only shared trait among people with dyslexia is that they read at levels significantly lower than typical for people of their age.” (www.medicalnewstoday.com)
Dyslexia should never be viewed as a sign of low intelligence. In fact, people with dyslexia often prove to be highly intelligent and creative. Film director Steven Spielberg and actress Whoopi Goldberg – both hugely successful in their respective fields – have dyslexia.
A better way to view dyslexia is to think of it as a condition in which the brain is wired differently. Those who have dyslexia simply learn in a different way. Overcoming dyslexia requires a different approach to learning, and finding this approach not only helps an affected person learn, but boosts their self-esteem as well.
How do you know if your child has dyslexia? According to The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, a person with dyslexia may display one or more of the following traits:
Note that some of the traits are highly positive. The ability to think out-of-the-box, comprehend the bigger picture or apply a great imagination, vocabulary or ideas would be considered assets in any work setting.
- Reads slowly and with much effort
- Is often the one to solve the problem
- Can’t spell; has messy handwriting
- Writing shows terrific imagination
- Has trouble remembering dates and names
- Thinks out-of-the-box, can grasp the big picture
- Has difficulty retrieving and pronouncing spoken words
- Has excellent vocabulary and ideas
In India, a widespread awareness and understanding of dyslexia should be promoted. At the same time, it’s important to identify strategies that can help those with dyslexia work around their challenges so they can tap their strengths and fulfill their potential. In October 2015, the Honorable Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, introduced the first indigenously developed and standardized tool for the screening and assessment of dyslexia. The Dyslexia Assessment in Languages of India (DALI) contains screening tools for teachers and assessment tools for psychologists. The introduction of the tool is welcome news for India’s dyslexic community, which is now believed to include nearly 35 million children.