A learning disability is a problem that affects how a child is able to receive, process, and understand information in regards to reading, writing, and arithmetic. According to webmd.com, “Between 8% and 10% of children under age 18 in the U.S. may have some type of learning disability.” Learning disabilities are very common and does not discredit a person’s intelligence just because a child understands things differently.
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Some learning disabilities a child may face are dyspraxia, dyslexia, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and processing deficits disorder. The good news is that with special care and figuring out strategies to use to approach these disabilities, many of the disabilities can be overcome. Within this paper, I will be touching upon the learning disability, dyslexia, which holds much importance to me considering my brother is dyslexic. I will be discussing what dyslexia is, the different types of dyslexia, and the struggles people with dyslexia face and how they could overcome it.
When we are first born, we all know that no one is able to read instantly. With time and practice, anyone can read. The same goes for children who are dyslexic. Dyslexia is a specific developmental disability that alters the way the brain processes words, letters, numbers, and other symbols, but does not affect general intelligence. Dyslexia is also known as a reading disorder since it does affect areas of the brain that has to do with language procession, and it is believed that dyslexia is a biologically inherited. There is no set cure for dyslexia, but catching the disorder early on in a child’s life, and getting the correct specialized educational care needed can result in a great outcome.
Children at an early age can display symptoms related to dyslexia that parents can notice and seek help for. Some of the symptoms include: difficulty learning the names of letters in the alphabet, not recognizing a rhyming patterns, having trouble learning a nursery rhyme, mispronouncing familiar words, such ‘the, that, those’, and not knowing how to associate letters with sounds. There is a misconception about dyslexic children which is that they can read backwards or seeing words backwards. While it is true that dyslexic children have difficulties attaching the appropriate labels or names to letters and words, there has not been any evidence proving that they can see letters and words backwards.
There are five major types of dyslexia a child can have: phonological dyslexia, surface dyslexia, rapid name deficit, double deficit dyslexia, and visual dyslexia. According to understood.org, “The different types of dyslexia are more like pieces in a puzzle. Together, they form a unique profile of what someone’s reading challenges are. This can help reading specialists create a treatment plan that suits each student’s needs.” When a child has the rapid naming deficit type of dyslexia, they have trouble rapidly naming letters and numbers when it is shown to them. Children are able to read the names, but it does take some time to read many words in arow.
Another common type of dyslexia is the phonological type, which is the type most people associate the disorder with. Phonological dyslexia makes it extremely hard to read and decode certain words. When a child has this type of dyslexia, the child has trouble breaking down sounds and matching them with written letters. Sounding out basic words is a struggle, along with spelling them out by someone sounding the letters out for the child.
The third type is called surface dyslexia. When a child is dealing with surface dyslexia it makes it hard to recognize words by sight. According to dyslexia-reading-well.com, “Someone with this type of dyslexia may be adept with phonics, meaning they can sound words out well, even nonsense words, but they cannot read or spell words that have irregular spellings.” Children with surface dyslexia will have trouble pronouncing words that do not look like they are spelled. An example of this is ‘weight’, ‘debt’, or ‘jetty’. Another type of dyslexia is double deficit dyslexia. When a child has this form of dyslexia, researchers believe, it is a mix of phonological dyslexia and rapid naming deficit. The problem here is isolating sounds and not being able to name words, letters, and numbers when the child sees them.
The final type of dyslexia is visual dyslexia which refers to an unusual visual experience when it comes to looking at words and numbers. Here the brain has difficult time remembering and recognizing these words and numbers by sight. Many children will have more than one type of dyslexia, but with a full evaluation by specialists the correct identification of which type a child has can help find the right solutions to help.
There are many struggles dyslexic children face during their early years and into their school years. Not only are there social problems dyslexic children face, but also emotional problems as well. Some of the struggles that affect social relationships can be that the child may be physically and socially immature compared to their peers, which can lead to a poor self esteem. Another struggle is not meeting the expected standards of their parents and teachers. The emotional effects it can have on dyslexic children include anger towards themselves, anxiety in class when it is there turn to read aloud, and also damaging one’s self esteem and image.
As I have mentioned before, there are ways that dyslexia can be overcome. With positive influences from a child’s family, friends, and community the help a dyslexic child needs can be given. One way a dyslexic child can learn to read is through Orton-Gillingham teaching skills. According to ortonacademy.org, “Orton-Gillinghamis an instructional approach intended primarily for use with individualswho have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing of the sort associated with dyslexia.”By a child being taught by an Orton-Gillingham certified teacher, the teacher reinforces the child to understand ‘how’ and ‘why’ a word is the way they are reading, rather than teaching them to recognized words.
Children do not understand why they are unable to read like the other students in their class, which can frustrate them for something they do not have control over. Parents are so essential to a child’s growth not only at home, but within their school setting as well. Instead of parents getting upset with their child for not understand why they can not grasp onto basic reading lessons, it is important to get outside testing. Depending on the school system, they may not have the correct resources need to help a dyslexic child, which is why I believe that every school should have their teachers Orton-Gillingham certified to accommodate every student in their class.
Support from family, friends, and the community are key for a child to overcome their dyslexia. At the time my brother was diagnosed with dyslexia, his school did not offer much help and wanted to leave him back a grade instead of helping. My parents turned to the community to find their own outside help by finding an Orton-Gillingham teacher within our city. The certified teacher would come to our house twice a week to work with my brother and in two weeks he was at the reading level the rest of his class was at. Being dyslexic does not mean you have a disease, it just means you have to be taught differently. Some of the most influential people in the world, believe or not, like Albert Einstein, Stephen Spielberg, Mohammad Ali, Whoopi Goldberg and others were all dyslexic.
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