Sunday, December 25, 2005


Thinking Differently

The important point is that every dyslexic child is unique. And most of them are talented, so a little encouragement and support will help them go a long way.

Do you know of any child who appears to be intelligent, has a good general knowledge, may be is good at art or music, gets along with other children. Yet when it comes to reading and writing he/she makes mistakes and the copy is messy. His spellings are terrible. A 'b' becomes a 'd', 'm' become 'n'. 'Nice' may be spelt as 'mise', 'knife' as 'nive'. You, as a teacher or parent, teach him something new and it appears as if the child understands you. Yet, within an hour, or the next day, he seems to have forgotten it all. Or, there may be a child who cannot even get basic arithmetic problems correct, yet if you ask him a problem orally he will you give you the correct answer in quick time. These children have problems with either/or reading, writing and arithmetic. They probably have what is known as specific learning disability. In India, it is know as dyslexia.

The study of learning disabilities is a complex one, as every child who has this disability is unique. Dyslexia is not a rare disability. Statistics in the west and India show that about 10 percent of the children in a regular classroom are dyslexic. Is it not alarming that in a school of say 4000 children, at least 100 could be dyslexic. An estimated 30 million children are known to be dyslexic in India.

A dyslexic has special talents and if the talents are recognised, praised and encouraged, he will excel in his field of interest; not in spite of the fact that he/she is dyslexic but because he/she is dyslexic. Despite the contribution a dyslexic child can make to society, he is often reduced to wreck by the time he reaches to adulthood. The reason for this is the extremely limited understandings about the problem among school teachers, administration, teacher educators, educational policy makers, medical and paramedical personnel and of course the parents of the dyslexic child. Fortunately the mild form of dyslexia is more common than the severe one, and these children can and are being effectively accommodated in the regular classroom by teachers.

Some of the learning strategies that can be adopted for a dyslexic child in a regular classroom also benefit the non-dyslexic learner in the classroom. It also does not demand extra resources and time from the teacher or the parents. A close interaction between the family and the school is essential. Society needs to be sensitised to this problem. Until then it may help the child if the parent and the teacher observe a little discretion. But the important fact is that the school and the family need to work in close association to get the best out this child.

At home:
· Parents may find it useful to be in touch with children who do well and also with the parents of these children.
· Parents and teachers should encourage the dyslexic child to work on the computer. These fields they do well.
· Parents need to remember that hiding the problem may only keep help away from different quarters.

In the classroom:
A multi-sensory approach to education, the use of different types of aids and methods in the classroom can improve the child's understanding of the subject. Where possible, permit oral testing and eliminate or reduce the number of spelling tests. Grading should be done one content and not on spelling and handwriting. Copying tasks should be reduced and wherever possible Photostat material may be provided to this child. Avoid too much of stimuli in the child's environment. Wen you want the child to concentrate you can switch off the television and the music system at home. In the classroom, ensure that class is quiet before giving instructions and also see that the dyslexic child is settled before you start. All this is possible if the child is seated near the teachers' desk. Allow the child to sit in the front row. It would help if the teacher read the question paper or the comprehension paragraph to the child during the test. This child often finds it difficult to copy from the blackboard.

During the class, don't make the child read aloud if he does not want to. Also avoid scolding him if he looks into neighbours to copy. It is also a good idea to make the child sit next to a systematic and organised child.

Instruct with the neighbour to help the dyslexic child. With the help of the class teacher, parents may get to know the children who are organised and systematic and like to help.

We too are Gifted

Dyslexia is a problem in a person reading ability. Dyslexia people are slow learner or have identification problems of letters like b or d in the first learning step of alphabet. Symptoms of dyslexia are slow reading, slow writing, misspelling, short-term memory loss, and inability to reproduce long passages in a cohesive way. All this gives the victim the label "dull headed student" in the school. The parents of such victims force them to spend more time in studying.

This is done in the hope that their child can cope with the expectations of the society. One cannot blame the child or the parent. The teacher would do well not to affix the dull student label. Such a label tortures the child and makes him fell that he can never finish anything properly. This thought will surely lead to failure.
The best this to do is to encourage them and help them in that particular field. This needs the support of outsiders to the parents and from the parents to the students.

It is horrifying that the dyslexia afflicted is not accepted by their friends as friends if they do not get good marks. These people try their best to make friends with the "popular people" or "rank holders". But they are least accepted. This only hurts them more making them get even lower marks.

The victims do not get opportunities to improve their natural ability like art, sport, or even singing. A dyslexic may not be able to become a computer engineer or a doctor, but turn out to be a writer or an artist.
Eminent men like Einstein had dyslexia, but did he not come up with different dimension in scientific thinking?

A person with dyslexia only thinks in a different way. This causes problem in learning to many lessons at a time. They use a different style that makes them learn slower.
Those of you with dyslexia, you may feel low. But you have a gift that makes you see every thing differently. You can use it. You need help only to find and improve it. Only I know what I am going through. I am also someone like you. May be we can share our handicap and become friends.

A dyslexic is a unique combination of often-unexplored talent, predisposition and environmental influences and unsuccessful learning experiences. The unusual connections in the brain of dyslexics make it difficult for them to read, write and do arithmetic. But they have special gifts, are musically inclined, creative, intuitive, artistic, have spatial skills, mechanical ability Mathematical conceptualization skills and vivid imaginations. Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Walt Disney, Benjamin Franklin, Prince Charles, Mozart, Tony Blair, Agatha Christie, and Bill Gates and ChandraBabu Naidu are known to be Dyslexic.

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Women Today

"God could not be everywhere, so he made mother", a well known quotation more than explains the role of a woman in child’s life. If a woman is educated, her contribution in shaping the future generations, cannot be overlooked. A casual glance would reveal that the teaching faculty especially at the school level is dominated by women. Patience, empathy, perseverance, dynamism and an insight into the psychological problems at every stage of growing infancy, childhood and teenage help a woman in her role as an educator. Education empowers a woman possibly financially but more so psychologically to become independent in thought and action, confident, bold and adopt a pro-active attitude towards life. These very same traits would be passed through generations. Truly, only a woman can play the dual role of parent-teacher and lay down a path of knowledge to guide a child through even the darkest moments of life.

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