World Dyslexia Awareness Week
World Dyslexia Awareness Week
Hyderabad: Difficulty in reading and writing is common among young children. The level of difficulty may vary from child to child. Most people associate children's ability to read and write with their intelligence, which should not be the case. Sometimes, problems with reading and writing in children can also be the cause of a Learning Disability called Psychiatric Dyslexia. Dyslexia is a common learning disability found in children around the world. According to statistics, this problem is found in one out of every 10 children. Despite its frequent detection, most people are not much aware of its causes, effects, and measures to prevent it.
Every year in the first week of October, “Dyslexia Awareness Week” is celebrated internationally by The International Dyslexia Association, in order to spread awareness about this learning disability among people globally. In the year 2022, this week is being celebrated from 3rd October to 9th October under the “Breaking Through Barriers" theme.
Dyslexia was first identified in 1881 by the German physician Oswald Berkhan. Six years after the disorder was identified, ophthalmologist Rudolf Berlin named it 'Dyslexia'. Burkhan discovered the existence of this disorder while analyzing the case of a young boy who had severe difficulties learning to read and write properly.
During Dyslexia Awareness Week, "World Dyslexia Awareness Day" is also celebrated on the first Thursday of October. In the year 2022 World Dyslexia Awareness Day is being celebrated on 6th October. This year the European Dyslexia Association recommends using the hashtag #edadyslexiaday to promote the concept of Dyslexia Awareness on the occasion.
To know more about dyslexia, what type of psychiatric disease it is and what its effects can be, ETV Bharat, Sukhibhava, spoke to Dr. Veena Krishnan, Psychiatrist from Dehradun, the General Secretary of 'Map Talk', a national-level program run by psychiatrists across the country to spread awareness about psychiatric disorders and their prevention and also a member of various government and non-government campaigns for various mental health problems including suicide prevention.
Dr. Krishnan explains that dyslexia is a mental condition in which the child is unable to receive, understand and use information. This is a learning disorder, in which usually children are unable to recognize directions, recognize letters, read and write the spelling of frequently used words, write the letters in the same way, distinguish between straight or inverted sentences, have difficulty forming words correctly, and remembering things or text.
Many times, children start writing letters in the mirror image in this condition. Dyslexic kids aren't able to even copy stuff properly from the blackboard or book. Apart from this, these children face problems in actions that require attention, like tying shoelaces or buttoning shirts. The pace of learning anything about children suffering from this condition is very slow.
Dr. Krishnan explains that it is actually a neurological disorder associated with the nervous system, for which genetic reasons can sometimes be responsible. Usually, in very young children it is difficult to understand its symptoms in the beginning. Because it is not a physical disease, therefore its symptoms cannot be detected by looking at the health of a child. And when the child starts going to school, in the beginning almost all the children have issues with learning. Usually, its symptoms are recognizable in children when they constantly have trouble learning a language or new things in school.
- Dr. Krishnan explains that there are three main types of this learning disorder based on the symptoms:
- Dyslexia - in which the child has difficulty in reading words.
- Dysgraphia- In which the child has issues with writing.
- Dyscalculia- in which they have issues with the subject Mathematics.
Dr. Krishnan tells that dyslexia is not a mental illness and children suffering from this problem are not necessarily unintelligent. Sometimes the intellectual abilities of dyslexic children can be average or even above average. These children can be painters, excellent orators, or even singers.
She said that, although people are becoming aware of this condition more than before, there are still a large number of parents who, despite noticing symptoms of this problem, are unable to accept the fact that their child should be examined, and needs special attention. The children have to bear the brunt of it, when teachers and parents scold them publically for not performing well while learning or studying, their friends and their classmates start making fun of them. Some children lose confidence, while some get angry, stubborn, and aggressive. In such situations, the children are unable to perform tasks that they are good at.
Dr. Krishnan states that there is no definite or specific treatment for this mental condition. It is very important to consult a psychotherapist when a child shows symptoms of dyslexia and work on improving the child's ability to write, read and learn through proper instructional style and guidance as per his/her instructions. Since the pace of learning of these children is relatively slow, not only the parents but their teachers also need to make continuous efforts in the right direction. A child's ability can be greatly improved by making efforts according to the right guidelines. Even their ability to learn, write and remember may improve.
Apart from this, it is very important that in order to keep the child's mental health better and to instill confidence in him/her, they should be encouraged to do things which they do very well like painting, singing, playing any kind of sport, or any other activity. Efforts should also be made to develop hobbies in them. While working with such children, it is very important that both the teacher and the parent show patience and restraint. She tells that if dyslexic children get the right guidance, they can make a lot of progress in their respective careers too.