- Written by Silvia Mwendia for Kenya kidz
Ten to fifteen percent of school going children are dyslexic. Known as geniuses in disguise, this learning disorder sees children struggle with reading and writing as they cannot see the letters properly, do not recognize punctuation marks or have problems with spelling.
Dyslexic children begin to show symptoms from around the age of eight years.
“This is when they begin to get really frustrated in school because they cannot understand the teaching methods being employed,” explains Manisha Shah-a trained facilitator of the Davis Dyslexia Correction-an international program that teaches on how to handle dyslexic children.
According to Ron Davis who started the Davis Dsylexic Correction Program, there are 37 common symptoms of the learning disorder. The most common include the fact that dyslexic children appear bright and intelligent although they cannot read or write at the same level their classmates can.
They have a high IQ but may not test in written assessments. They however do excel in oral tests. Their frustration at their 'inability' to read and write sees them to labeled as immature or careless.
They day dream a lot in class. According to Manisha, this is because dyslexic children are visual learners or picture-thinkers. They learn in 3D using a multi-sensory approach whereby more than one sense (touch, sight, auditory) is employed in learning. This is unlike the 2D phonetical learning used in most schools. Because the kids cannot understand this method of teaching, their minds therefore tend to wander off a lot.
Other notable symptoms include the fact that they are talented in an area such as art, music, sport, story-telling. They have a low self-esteem. Their frustration in their 'inability' to read or right result in poor confidence levels. Some may even get bullied in class for always 'failing' their exams. Some may complain of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches when reading.
Others are confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences, verbal explanations. They spell phonetically and inconsistently and have unusual pencil grip with illegible handwriting.
They have unusually early or late developmental skills. For instance as Manisha explained, a child may skip the crawling stage and go straight to walking or may not be able to talk until they are three years old. Although they have excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations and faces, they have poor memory for sequences, facts and information that have not been experienced.
They also have extra deep or light sleeper with bed-wetting beyond appropriate age.