What is Dyslexia?
How to Overcome Dyslexia and Achieve Academic and Professional Goals
Learning disabilities such as dyslexia are neurological disorders that can keep children and teens from reaching their full academic potential. Dyslexia makes it very difficult for people to acquire the language skills to complete their education.
Many people with learning disabilities overcome academic difficulties through alternative learning methods to achieve their life goals. Identifying dyslexia and other learning disorders early on in your child’s life can receive the support he needs to acquire quality education and a successful career.
According to recent studies, about 20% of the American populace suffers from dyslexia. What is dyslexia? It is a learning disorder that hinders children from learning essential language skills such as reading, writing, spelling, and communication. Educators believe dyslexia to be a major disruption in children learning how to read.
The effects of dyslexia vary from person to person and may even change throughout a person’s life. Although dyslexic victims often have similar symptoms, the severity of their disability can range from a mild case to severe dysfunction. Students with severe cases of dyslexia will need specialized training and instruction to overcome the difficulties they face in their language studies.
Reading is a fundamental skill required for establishing almost any career. Most schools teach reading through phonemic awareness – the ability to sound out letters to form words – and recognize and remember words by sight. From the time they are young, students build their reading skills through consistent practice of these two aspects.
Children who have dyslexia have problems processing phonic sounds and retaining words learned by sight. This makes it difficult for them to keep up with the rest of the class in developing their reading skills. In large classroom settings, it’s quite easy for dyslexic students not to receive the time and attention they need to progress in their language studies. As a result, they fail or fall far behind their classmates.
The cause of this learning disability is not yet known. However, studies show that the disorder is genetic, making it possible for various family members to suffer from the same problem. Brain studies of dyslexic individuals reveal that their brain develops and processes information differently than the norm. These differences could cause their learning disability, even though they have the intelligence and willingness to learn.
Signs of Dyslexia
Identifying dyslexia early on can make a big difference in helping children overcome this learning disability. Although there is no “cure” for this disability, educators have found ways to help dyslexic students gain the academic skills to succeed.
By learning some of the signs of this disorder, parents and teachers can help identify the problem as early as preschool age. This enables their children to receive the help they need to achieve their full academic potential.
The following are some common dyslexia symptoms to look out for in preschool and elementary school-age children. Young dyslexic children will often experience difficulty in these areas:
- Learning how to talk
- Pronouncing words
- Learning the names and sounds of the alphabet
- Learning basic numbers, colors, shapes
- Learning speech sounds
- Identifying syllables
- Identifying letter sequence in words
- Reading, writing, and spelling simple words
- Following directions when given in sequence
- Understanding word problems
Dyslexic children will experience even greater learning difficulties as they grow into adolescence and young adulthood if left to themselves. Some symptoms of this learning disability in older children, teens, and adults include:
- Reading and spelling skills are far below the capacity for their age
- Lack of ability to keep up with reading or writing assignments
- Struggle in understanding non-literal language
- Difficulty in organization and time management
- Lack of memorization skills
- Difficulty in communicating with others
- Trouble summarizing or relating details in sequence
If parents perceive symptoms of dyslexia in their children, they should request a dyslexia test or evaluation from a reading specialist. A specialist will start by examining the child’s ability to comprehend language skills. He will then delve into the student’s history, social and educational background, and intellect to determine if dyslexia could cause weaknesses in their learning capacity.
Early diagnosis of this disability can save students and teachers time and frustration in the classroom. Once a child has been diagnosed with this disability, they can be given specialized instruction for learning the academic skills they need.
Effects of Dyslexia
Left “untreated”, dyslexia can have devastating effects on a child, making them feel inferior and incapable of learning. This learning disorder can easily destroy a child’s confidence and self-esteem. The disability makes it extremely difficult for children to learn even the most basic language skills.
This automatically sets them apart from the rest of the class and often causes them to be labeled “slow” or “stupid.” Children with mild cases of dyslexia may do fine learning basic reading and writing skills. However, they often run into problems later on when facing the complexities of advanced grammar, spelling, and reading in higher grades.
Some dyslexic students experience problems communicating with others due to not being able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly. Others find it difficult to understand what’s being said due to difficulty processing verbal speech and abstract thoughts. These problems can manifest themselves at home, in the classroom, at work, or in other social environments.
It’s not uncommon for dyslexic children and young people to become frustrated, angry, depressed, and even fearful concerning their learning disorder. Their emotions can often work against them, making it hard to concentrate on their studies. Many students begin to lose hope that they will ever accomplish their dreams.
Dyslexia presents many challenges to children and young people who want to get a good education but feel incapable of learning. Parents and teachers will be instrumental in meeting dyslexic children’s educational needs.
The more parents, educators, and students know about this learning disorder, the better they can cope with its difficulties and help dyslexic students accept its challenges. These students are often quite intelligent and capable of learning; however, they often need alternate learning methods to achieve their academic goals.
The Role of Parents and Educators in Helping Dyslexic Students
Today, most school systems offer students alternative learning methods as part of the dyslexia treatment program. This specialized instruction enables students to make progress in their academic training.
With proper support and assistance, these children can learn how to overcome their disabilities and get the most from their education. Dyslexic students in the U.S. now benefit from federal laws that entitle them to specialized instruction and training that will enable them to further their education.
Children diagnosed with dyslexia in their younger years increase their chances of learning language skills quicker and easier than their older counterparts. However, that shouldn’t stop older dyslexic learners from making an effort to acquire the skills they need.
A well-structured multi-sensory language program for dyslexic students can benefit children, teens, and adults. At the same time, students should be aware that they may need to work harder and longer than their peers to reach their academic goals.
Parents and educators need to provide a strong support base for their dyslexic students to help them succeed in their education. Parents may need extra assistance at home to boost their children’s confidence and self-esteem. Teachers may need to invest extra time and effort to ensure academic progress is made. By combining their efforts, teachers and parents can make a positive difference in a dyslexic child’s life.
Dyslexia is an obstacle that Who can overcome. Countless people with dyslexia have successfully learned to read, write and communicate at a high level, enabling them to establish prosperous professional careers.
Strategies for Learning
Parents can help boost their dyslexic children’s language skills by reinforcing their academic training at home. They can also boost their morale through their support and encouragement. The following are some helpful strategies parents can put into effect at home to foster greater progress in their children’s reading and writing skills:
- The readout should be loud to your children as much as possible.
- Encourage your child to develop writing and drawing skills at an early age.
- Introduce your child to the letters and sounds of the alphabet at preschool age to increase linguistic awareness.
- Have your child practice reading from various texts, including books, comics, magazines, advertisements in newspapers, etc.
- Incorporate multi-sensory media into your child’s learning program and encourage him to participate in early learning activities.
- Take advantage of modern technology such as computers, screen readers, MP3 players, etc., to help your child learn language skills.
- Once your child enters school, ensure they get the extra attention and specialized instruction required for dyslexic students.
- Please provide all the encouragement and motivation your child needs to overcome his learning difficulties.
The older a child becomes, the more self-conscious he becomes of his learning disability. His weakness in this area can cause a breach between him and his peers. To help offset his academic difficulties, parents should ensure their children have opportunities to develop other talents or skills they are interested in, such as sports, music, art, etc. All children have strengths and weaknesses – encouraging your child to develop other talents and skills will boost his self-confidence and give him pride in his accomplishments. This is especially important in helping children feel just as good as their peers.
Famous People with Dyslexia
Dyslexia is not limited to any one sector of society or ethnic background. It affects people from all nationalities and walks of life. It’s perhaps the most widespread of all the learning disabilities. Today, many famous people had to overcome dyslexia in their youth to establish their careers. These careers are as diversified as the people themselves, proving success is possible for those who don’t quite. The list of overcomers includes such celebrities as:
- world-renown movie director Steven Spielberg
- actor Henry Winkler (aka the “Fonz”)
- Olympian champion Bruce Jenner
- newscaster Anderson Cooper
- clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger
- professional NBA basketball star Magic Johnson
- actress Liv Tyler
- comedian Jay Leno and many others.
Celebrated actor Jim Carrey was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD as a young adult. Yet he continued with his education and now excels in his profession. Ironically, that profession deals with using language skills that require reading and memorizing lengthy movie scripts.
Seeing how others have overcome this learning disability gives young people hope that they, too, can prevail over their learning difficulties and establish a successful career. Dyslexia need not be a roadblock to achieving a person’s educational goals. Through hard work and perseverance, dyslexic students are fully capable of reaching their full potential academically and on a professional level.
By learning to face the obstacles that dyslexia puts in their path, young people can gain greater respect and appreciation for their education. Their difficulties in reaching their goals will make their accomplishments even more rewarding. Parents with dyslexic children should make every effort to see their children receive the academic assistance they need to succeed. Knowing dyslexia can be overcome should give parents, teachers, and students the confidence to persevere until they win.