What Is Dyslexia, How It Affects Children's Mental Health
Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder and a predominantly learning disability characterized by a difficulty in reading and writing as a result of individual differences in the part of the brain responsible for language processing. Although no real reason is yet found for this condition to develop, there are connections that suggest that it is a genetic disorder and often runs in the family. It is usually present at birth but even adults exposed to any brain injuries or disorders are prone to display symptoms of dyslexia. This neuropsychological condition typically appears in the first three years of life and significantly affects a child’s ability to communicate, understand relationships and relate to others, and is frequently associated with unusual or stereotypical rituals or behaviors. The typically affected areas abilities are reading, writing, listening, speaking, reasoning, attention, and motor coordination and it also hampers skills required to solve mathematical problems. It is not possible to outgrow dyslexia which supposedly worsens with age but early interventions and assistive technologies can help mitigate the struggles that accompany it.
Types of dyslexia include:
1. Auditory dyslexia- People face difficulty processing sounds of letters and syllables.
2. Visual dyslexia- People struggle with processing, recognizing, and memorizing whole words which explains why they have a hard time in rote learning.
3. Rapid Naming dyslexia- People have problems with recalling correct names of things and are usually slow to respond orally.
4. Double Deficit dyslexia- The person shows symptoms of both rapid naming dyslexia and auditory dyslexia. A majority of the weakest readers belong to this category.
A few symptoms of dyslexia:
- Difficulty memorizing letters or words and also recalling them
- Struggling with spellings
- Confusing between similar sounding words
- Trouble processing information in a sequence
- Mispronouncing words
- Difficulty reading aloud
- Inability to solve math problems correctly
- Poor handwriting
- Miswriting letters such as writing "q" instead of "p"
There are several myths about dyslexia and one such is people’s belief that kids with dyslexia who find it difficult to read and engage in rote learning have lower IQ levels. Kids with dyslexia are often misunderstood as being out of order or disordered whereas they are specialized to explore the unknown.
Recent studies have shown that dyslexia is associated with abilities like discovery, invention, and creativity which helps humans adapt to changing environments.
Strengths of dyslexics:
- Imaginative and abstract thinkers- Dyslexics have an acute sense of curiosity and interest and are wonderful imaginations who can envision the world in a much different way.
- Strong memory- People with dyslexia are gifted with a sharp memory and can recall facts and information quite easily.
- Excellent puzzle-solving skills- Having better insights and an ability to accurately come up with solutions to complex issues, dyslexics are masters in solving puzzles.
- Innate ability to empathize- Being naturally visual-spatial learners many dyslexics display skills to sense body language, and facial expressions and connect with people much more effectively than one can think of.
- Critical thinkers- The art of logical reasoning allows a dyslexic to think out of the box and come up with a creative assessment of any topic.
In spite of the struggles in performing everyday tasks such as filling forms, typing correct OTPs, reading out loud, and mispronouncing words, the many strengths of dyslexics show that dyslexia is not a learning disability but rather an inability to learn things traditionally. Several great personalities like Einstein, Picasso, and George Washington to name a few struggled with this very neurological condition but nonetheless excelled in their respective fields. It is thus fair to say, dyslexia is a boon rather than a bane!