Have you been wondering why your kid is lagging behind in studies and simple tasks like comprehending spellings, reading, writing etc.? In many cases, it is due to negligence on the part of parents and sheer laziness. But it also may be due to dyslexia, which often goes unnoticed.

What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disability which deters the ability of a person to read, spell, write and speak. Dyslexia is normally found in children of school going age and persists throughout life.

However, do not get disheartened if your child is diagnosed as having dyslexia. Dyslexia IS NOT due to mental retardation. Some believe it is due to poor vision or hearing or lack of knowledge. But this is not the case. Children with dyslexia are intelligent and sometimes have special skills that other normal children of their age do not have.

The earlier dyslexia is treated, the better. A child with dyslexia finds simple reading and writing extremely difficult. He may develop a dislike for school and have low self-esteem.

Signs of dyslexia
The most common signs of dyslexia are seen while writing letters and numbers. A dyslexic child writes numbers and letters in a reverse fashion. Please note that this is perfectly normal in children under 7 years of age. But beyond that age, if this habit persists, then there is a chance that the child may be a dyslexic.

The child may not remember easy to remember things. He may not be able to comprehend spatial limits, speed and left and right sides while playing games. Comprehending multiple instructions at a time is difficult. The child may fail to understand something as simple as “Open page no.31, go to paragraph 3, line 2.”

The child will know what to say but will not be able to express his feelings in the right words. He may mumble words in great speed.

Sounds of letters of words may not be heard correctly. The child may feel that the words or sounds are jumbled.

Movement to rhythm of dance and music may be uncoordinated. Dyslexic children may also have difficulty in games and sports. For example, they may not be able to gauge distance and speed  of a ball coming towards them, and hence not catch the ball at all.

A dyslexic child may be depressed. They lose interest in academic activities and appear as demotivated and lazy to the teachers. They try to act naughty and irresponsible, just to draw attention away from their learning difficulty.

Steps to take once you know your child is dyslexic
Parents generally come to know if their child has this condition only after teachers start complaining that the child is not active or intelligent. Parents must get all the related details from teachers during Parent Teacher Interactions. Take additional appointments with teachers if needed.

The next step is to consult a developmental paediatrician or a child psychologist who may conduct certain tests to rule out physical and neurological disorders. An IQ test may be conducted to check if the child is performing below potential, by which the child’s language skills and memory is evaluated. These tests  are standardized and are reliable. Speech pathologists and occupational therapists may further diagnose specific learning disabilities like difficulty in expressing thru language may  also be diagnosed by a speech pathologist and an occupational therapist.

For parents and teachers of dyslexic children
First and foremost, realize that dyslexic children are of normal or higher than average intelligence. There are many ways to teach them to read, write and spell. These are unconventional methods that follow a multi-sensory approach including seeing, hearing and moving called Visual-Auditory-Kinesthethic method or VAK method.

Different art materials may be used for teaching. For teaching letters and numbers, make the child use materials like play-dough or make them cut out letters. Make these kids write really big on a large surface.

Few important things to note
Do not do your child’s homework. Have lots of patience. Divide a task into many small portions. Make a child do his homework. Ask him many questions.

You know your child best. Meet his teachers, therapists and decide on a proper plan containing his routine time table and all extra activities that will help you to minimize weaknesses and build upon his plus points.

DO NOT pity yourself or your child. Remember, dyslexic children have a lot of potential. You just need to get the right developmental plan and routine.

Read out books slowly and loudly, especially those stories which children love to read. Be expressive. Encourage your child to read books. Get books with large and bold print and lots of pictures in them.

Be sensitive to your child’s feelings. Do not punish or yell at him if he is feeling down or is exhibiting aggressive behavior. Such children often get frustrated by sarcastic remarks of insensitive people and children. Handle this aggressiveness with care.

Foster a hobby. Hobbies help a lot of dyslexic children to vent their frustration and boost self-esteem. It maybe any activity that your child enjoys doing, like painting, craft, any kind of art-work,music,dance etc.

Praise your child for small accomplishments. It will make him feel a lot better.

Did you know?
All these famous personalities had dyslexia. Many of them lived in an era where minimal or absolutely no research had been done on dyslexia. And yet, they turned out to be great people and visionaries.

Henry Ford –  Founder of the Ford Motor Company
Leonardo Da Vinci – famous painter, architect, sculptor,writer and what not!
Tom Cruise – famous actor
William Hewlett – Co-Founder, Hewlett-Packard
Muhammad Ali – World Heavyweight Champion Boxer
Pablo Picasso – Spanish painter, sculptor and draughtsman

Your kid is a wonder kid in the making! Realize his true potential and go ahead!

Movies on dyslexic children
Tare Zameen Par This is a beautiful, heart rending tale of a 7 year old dyslexic boy Ishaan and how his teacher helps him achieve what others feel is impossible for the boy!
TV series
Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia

Developmental pediatricians in Mumbai, India
Dr Vibha Krishnamurthy
Ummeed, 7-A Chinoy Mansion, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Mumbai 400 026.
Tel: (+91)(22)23632932
(+91)(22) 23632258
Email: ummeed@vsnl.net Website: www.ummeed.org

Dr. Roopa Srinivasan
Consultant Developmental Pediatrician
Fellowship in Developmental Pediatrics(Vellore)
Advanced Training in Rehab Medicine(Australia)

Sandhi Children’s Clinic,
Nerul(East), Navi Mumbai, India
Tel: (+91)(22)32253665
Time: By appointment 7pm – 9pm(Mon – Fri)

Salma Prabhu
Registered Clinical psychologist, therapist and counselor.
ACE Resource Center,
Sector-17, Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
Email: contact@acetherapist.com
Mobile: (+91)(09699889581)
Note: Testing for Dyslexia is done here in addition to several other tests.

Dr Rajeshwari Ganesh
Consultant Developmental Pediatrician
Fellowship in Developmental Pediatrics [Singapore ]
By prior appointments
Bethany Hospital
Contact : 02221725100
and at
Jeet Child Developmental Center
Mobile : 9819010027

Note: This list will be refreshed as and when we get more details. We need more information on developmental pediatricians, occupational therapists in India and worldwide. We would appreciate related information from readers like you!