By Deborah Thomas
Dyslexia is an inherited condition, linked to genes that runs in families. This condition affects certain parts of the brain that is concerned with the ability to covert written letters and words to speech. Dyslexia is not linked to intelligence and is usually associated with other conditions such as ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Dyslexia today has become a huge phenomenon with thousands of children listed as dyslexic and huge numbers on treatment for ADHD. The condition has deteriorated immensely that according recent figures from the NHS in UK, 1 in 10 to 20 people has some degree of dyslexia.
Over 6.3 million is a whopping number of the UK population and should get us worried as a country. These numbers are also high in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health, 15% of the population have difficulty in learning to read.
Perhaps it is time to investigate further on why these figures are so high and also review the diagnosis. One major question to be asked is that of misdiagnosis especially if there is no other family member with this condition.
Could this huge increase be diet related or simply the sharp increase be due to specific lifestyle choices? The bottom line is that it is a growing concern that requires urgent intervention.
Signs & Symptoms:
The most commons signs and symptoms of dyslexia usually appears at a young school age and with quick intervention, the condition can be nipped in the bud. Below are the most common signs and symptoms displayed:
It may be something that should not cause an alarm but in many cases the dyslexic child seems to more clumsier than his or her peers. Little task like catching a ball sometimes prove very difficult even within short distances.
This is a very common symptom in the children and adults. Attention span could be limited to even a few minutes in adults. Listening to speeches or even just reading a short paragraph from a basic book becomes a problem.
Dyslexics are very poor spellers, a feature sometimes known as Dysgraphia. Simple words that are easily remembered become an upheaval task to remember. Words are not spelt as they sound because of the person’s low phonemic awareness.
Dyslexia is a severe reading impairment where there is a slow speed of processing n verbal and non-verbal tasks.
Myths & Facts
There are so many conflicting information on dyslexia and it is very important to know the basic facts. Having several information fact checked prevents a wrong diagnosis and prevents jumping to conclusion when it does not appear to be a condition that runs in the family of the person concerned. Of all the several myths on dyslexia, below a few facts debunked:
Dyslexics cannot read:
Unfortunately, this myth is completely false because most children and adults with dyslexia are able to read. The main problem of dyslexics is the poor ability to spell words correctly and an inability to understand the basic code of the English language and breakdown words with codes.
Dyslexia is a medical diagnosis:
This is untrue because dyslexia is not a medical problem that medical doctors are able to give pills for or some formal treatment.
Smart People Cannot Be Dyslexic
Intelligence and dyslexia have no connection and dyslexic individuals are known to have great talents and accomplished amazing things.
Dyslexia is Incurable:
Dyslexia truly has no cure that has been documented but with the right intervention and assistance, dyslexia can be easily managed and the individual can achieve great things in life without problems.
Dyslexics writes letters and words backwards:
Many children tend to reverse or write backwards when they are learning to read and write so this has nothing to do with dyslexia.
Reading specialists or teachers can always tell who has dyslexia or not:
This is where a lot of mistakes can be made. Teachers that have no specific training and qualifications to deal with this problem cannot tell accurately if a child or adult have dyslexia.
Dyslexia only affects males
Both males and females can be dyslexic. There are published studies that dyslexia affects comparable numbers of boys and girls.
1. Daily Reading – One cannot over emphasise always the benefits of reading daily from an early age. Not only does this open up the brain thereby encouraging the memorising of several words thereby making it easier to remember spellings. Daily reading should include reading aloud to someone and also some silent reading to oneself.
2. Becoming a visual spatial learner. A visual spatial learner is one who learns by the use of visual imagery. The individual tends to process primarily in pictures rather than words in a holistic fashion.
This holistic process requires professional assistance that is not available in the traditional school and needs to be sought out in specialist educational organisations.
3. Playing games that involve coordination, for example ball throwing.
4. Make learning fun by including exciting books that can spark a discussion.
5. Encourage calm surroundings especially for young dyslexic children. This makes it easier to assimilate better since over 35% of the dyslexics have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, (ADHD).
6. There is a number of research linking the role of diet in managing dyslexia. Encouraging eating certain foods that promote brain development and memory retention is recommended.
Sugar and caffeine is especially a problem as they have stimulating effects on the brain and would make the thought process more difficult. Eliminating chocolate and chocolate drinks may help but this will require supplementing the diet with other vitamin supplement.
It’s recommended to visit a food specialists to have a better dietary plan that will work better with the individual. According to food specialist, Omega 3 – fish, green leafy vegetable and nuts is an optimum diet for learning.
7. Persistent problems with reading requires some assistance and if there are any signs or symptoms of dyslexia, it is highly recommended to seek urgent specialist assistance.
The Visual Spatial Learner – Linda K Silverman, Ph.D and Jeffrey N. Freed, M.A.T
The Journal of American Medical Association, JAMA 1990
Dyslexia and Nutrition – Pat Grieve MSc, BDS Hons, Dip. SpLD
UK Facts & Figs – NHS