Monday, March 14, 2011

Dyslexia - A curse on the innocent ???

I am not an expert on dyslexia. What I do have is  many years of experience in living with this handicap.  You can not cure Dyslexia-there is no cure! What you can do is to equalize the playing field! Equalize the playing field! Just how do I do that?  The very first thing that you do, is that you have to accept the fact that  ”YOU ARE NOT DUMB”! ” YOU ARE NOT STUPID”!

  So, If I am not ‘dumb or stupid’,what am I? A very good question! For an answer , I went to the internet and found: (Mayo Dyslexia is an impairment in your brain’s ability to translate written images received from your eyes into meaningful language. Also called specific reading disability, Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in children. Now to me, the above paragraph best describes Dyslexia as it affects me and probably most others. What this paragraph is saying is;”What you see is not what you think it is sometimes”
.  Here is an example: “Jack saw the big bully”.What a person with dyslexia "may" think he see’s is this; “Jack was the big bully".This is word reversal of the word "saw" to "was"and,of course,would not make sense in the story. An older person would stop and go back and reread the sentence. A child in the 1st or 2nd grade would continue to read on trying to make sense, not realizing that he must have mis-read a word. The results is frustration! Word reversal is very common.You also have letter reversal and number reversal. What comes easy to a normal student is a constant battle for the poor child with dyslexia. Be patient and give them the help that they need and they will make you proud.
Dyslexia usually occurs in children with normal vision and normal intelligence. Children with dyslexia usually have normal speech, but may have difficulty interpreting language and writing. Children with dyslexia need individualized tutoring and the treatment for dyslexia often involves a multi-sensory education program. Emotional support of your child on your part  also plays a very large role .Dyslexia symptoms can be difficult to recognize before  your child enters school, but some early clues may indicate a problem. Once your child reaches school age, your child’s teacher may be first to notice a problem.When to see a doctor.? Dyslexia is characterized by a delay in age at which your child begins to read. Most children are ready to learn reading by kindergarten or first grade, but children with dyslexia often can’t grasp the basics of reading by that time. Talk with your doctor if your child’s reading achievement level falls below what’s expected for his or her age or if you notice other signs or symptoms of  dyslexia. Most people with dyslexia are of average or above average intelligence, but read at levels significantly lower than expected. Other types of learning disabilities include attention difficulties. However, because reading is a skill basic to most other  school subjects, a child who has dyslexia is at great disadvantage in most cases and may have trouble learning in any subject (because of their reading problem). I know the frustrations of living with dyslexia. I have lived with it all of my life. Back in my youthful school days, the solution for students who had problems keeping up with the class, was to hold them back for a year, hoping that they would “mature” to a point where they could keep up with the class. There is no doubt that the  students held back do benefit, but at what cost? The student then carries the stigma of “being kept back because they were not too bright”.
Our youngest child had problems in school. His 6th grade teacher called my wife and me in for a “Parent -Teacher” discussion. She told us that Gary was just barely getting by and suggested that we hold him back a year. (I was upset because he was bringing home his report  card with passing grades. She explained that he was average for the slower children????) We agreed that if she would pass him this year- we would put him into a private school the following  year, The school has a  student-teacher ratio of 10 to 1.( He stayed there until he transferred to the high school for his last year).    Shortly after that conversation with his teacher, my wife(who worked as a bank teller) told me about one of her customers’whose grandson was tested for dyslexia and she suggested that we might want to have Gary tested.That was good advice and thats what we did. The Counselor that she had suggested has dyslexia herself and a degree in Physiology (she said that her mother read her text books to her all through college). She was very knowledgeable on the subject of dyslexia. She tested Gary and  told us that Gary was dyslexic. She offered to show us the simple test that she used to determine his condition.      This is the test!.  We went into her office where there was a tape recorder set up.We sat down and she gave us a 3rd  grade reader.   (The 3rd grade reader was a level that was easy for Gary to read).  She asked us to read the book while we listened to Gary on the tape recorder. When he began reading , we could not believe what we were hearing. He started off reading the story, then he got away from the story, came back to it again and on like that to the end.  She tried to explained what  was going on in Gary’s mind, that he was trying to make sense of what he was reading.   There is NO cure for dyslexia but you can be trained to work around it, to compensate for the disability, so to speak. Gary had six-one hour sessions with the counselor to learn how to compensate for his problem. It did help a lot, but it took him a long time before he could accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t as dumb as he thought he was. We sent him  (with the counselors report of his dyslexia) to the private school  where the ‘teacher-student’ ratio was ten-to-one. That was what helped him the most. His last year he chose to attend our local high school and take the electrical vocational course. He graduated with his class. (All the extra costs for his education plus the extra traveling etc, was deductible on our income taxes.). The one thing you must  never forget with dyslexia  and that is this, "you can do anything that you want to do, it just takes a little longer sometimes". Gary became a very good industrial electrician! He took educational course’s (but only one at a time) and he worked hard to be the best that he could be, and it paid off. Was dyslexia a problem for him? Of course it was, but it was nothing that he couldn’t handle. The educational counselor told my wife and I  that from the short period of time that she spent with us, we thought that we both would probably test positive for dyslexia also. It didn't surprise us!
Do you have a child in school who has a difficult time keeping up with the class?, A child who can't seem to learn to spell?, A child who tries to be "the class clown? YOU MAY VERY WELL HAVE A CHILD WHO HAS DYSLEXIA !!.  Please go to the school and ask that the child be tested for dyslexia! Schools now know about "dyslexia"  and should have programs to help these children. If you hit a stone wall at the school, don't give up.There is help out there for your child.
I started this report off by saying that I have many years living with this problem. The reason that I could empathize with my son having dyslexia, was because I was born with dyslexia also. I was born in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. My 4th grade teacher wanted to hold me back a year. My mother thought that I was just lazy and a show-off so I was not held back. I graduated with my class. I got a job with a Paper Mill as an apprentice Electrician (they used  an Electrical  Correspondence Course for lessons). I retired as an Electrical/Instrument foreman for a Chemical Company. Was it easy? No!  Do I still  feel dumb now? Lets just say that I do not think of myself so much as being smart, but being very determined to succeed.
Here are some people who have done OK in spite of Dyslexia!!

By Disabled World - 2008-01-17 A list of famous and well known people who are and have been Dyslexic.* * *What is Dyslexia?Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that manifests primarily as a difficulty with written language, particularly with reading and spelling. Although dyslexia is the result of a neurological difference, it is not an intellectual disability. Dyslexia occurs at all levels of intelligence, average, above average, and highly gifted. Dyslexia is most commonly characterized by difficulties with learning how to decode at the word level, to spell, and to read accurately and fluently. There is no cure for dyslexia, but dyslexic individuals can learn to read and write with appropriate education or treatment. There is wide research evidence indicating that specialized phonics instruction can help remediate the reading deficits. In the United States, researchers estimate the prevalence of dyslexia to range from five to nine percent of school-aged children, though some have put the figure as high as 17 percent. A list of famous people who are Dyslexic or had Dyslexia:
   Agatha Christie - (15 September 1890 - 12 January 1976) Agatha Christie was the world's best selling book writer of all times, only truly surpassed by the Bible and equaled by Shakespear, her books sold approximately 4 billion copies worldwide. Agatha suffered from dyslexia but in no way did it stop her from being creative and learning how to write, her mystery novels have always been some of the most captivating of all times. Her bestselling book was without a doubt "And then there was none" which was a source of inspiration for novelists and movie makers even many years after.
  Albert Einstein - (March 14, 1879 - April 18, 1955) Being one of the most important great minds of his century. Albert Einstein was then known to suffer from dyslexia mainly because of his bad memory and his constant failure to memorize the simplest of things. He would not remember the months in the year yet he would succeed in solving some of the most complicated mathematical formulas of the time without any trouble. He may have never learned how to properly tie his shoelaces but his scientific contributions and theories still have a major effect on all of todays current knowledge of science.
  Alexander Graham Bell - (3 March 1847 - 2 August 1922) Well known as the inventor of the telephone. Alexander was actually attempting to find a way that could make deaf people hear. His mother was slowly becoming deaf when Alexander was only 12 years old making him extremely sensitive to disabilities. Once older he was constantly seeking a way to cure them through technology. He himself had dyslexia which would cause him problems at school, but he always kept his interest for science, especially biology. He would show a great indifference for everything else and would have poor grades. Today Alexander Graham Bell is also well know as one of the founders of the National Geographic society.

  And the list goes on and on---believe me !!!

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