Recognizing Dyslexia

Dyslexia is an atypical way of thinking, and for a given level of ability, may cause unexpected difficulties in the acquisition of certain literacy, social, and numeracy skills. Brain research, including studies from the prestigious Yale university, has shown that it is common to use the ‘verbal’ left side of the brain to understand words.

Dyslexics use the ‘pictorial’ right side, making them slower to process and understand language, but stronger in creative areas like problem solving, empathy, and emotional intelligence. In most schools, left-brained ways of thinking are generally favored over the right-brained which has laid an atypical detriment for people with unconventional patterns of thinking.

How to Identify Dyslexia

Self-esteem and self doubt are tendencies of dyslexic individuals when moving into the educational system. The development of self doubt has natural consequences. These consequences are fired by environments focused on inappropriate prediction of most-likely-to-succeed students, comparison, and where knowledge and understanding about dyslexia is often absent.

Dyslexia is usually associated with difficulties in reading and writing, particularly related to phonological awareness. However, it can frequently be identified by a range of difficulties in other areas including:

  • Auditory and/or visual perception
  • Planning and organizing
  • Short-term memory
  • Motor skills
  • Social interaction.

Good Practice

Understanding dyslexia as a potential creative gift brings a novel hope to a dyslexic. Recognizing the role dyslexia plays in your life should stir an action. Persistency and certainty is the essence of the dyslexic journey. It is important to know that you are not alone and if you cannot overcome it, find a way around it, but NEVER give up. Many dyslexic people throughout history have overcome difficulties with basic skills from their respective strengths, to become pioneers in their respective fields

Primary School Tips

It is important to identify it early. Learning is a lifelong process but literacy is the foundation of all learning so identifying dyslexia early is critical. That way, children can be supported to participate in the full range of social, academic and other learning opportunities at school.

Your child may have dyslexia if after a year at school they often display a number of these difficulties:

  • Unsure of the sound a letter or combination makes e.g. h or sh.
  • Poor sense of rhyme.
  • Often mixes up letters or figures e.g. b/d/p/q or n/u, or 15 for 51.
  • Great difficulty spelling simple words like 'duck' or 'like'.
  • Highly disorganized – often doesn't know what day it is.
  • Finds learning sequences difficult e.g. months.
  • Extremely messy handwriting – letters are poorly formed.
  • Very poor reading, even of very familiar words.
  • Difficulty with things like tying laces, getting dressed quickly, clumsiness, confuses left and right.

Secondary School Tips

In Nigeria, secondary school goes from age 10-17. In this section, you’ll find links and information to help choose subjects and help your teenager succeed and stay involved in learning. Choosing subjects at this stage is very sensitive. For parents, it is important to talk with your child about what subjects they choose. If you need help choosing subjects, your chosen school will be able to guide you on this.

Make it part of your day to talk to your child about school - what they're learning, what they find most interesting, what they struggle with.

Get involved with their homework. This is not synonymous with doing it for them, or assessing or marking them. It will help your child; if you agree on set times for doing homework, if you know what the teacher's expectations are, and if you talk about what they're doing and introduce new ideas and ways of approaching the work.

Areas of Difficulty

Dyslexia affects people in different ways and differently depending on contexts. Most students with dyslexia have difficulty with literacy and/or numeracy and many may also need support to process thinking, or with self organization. Difficulties may include:

  • Remembering instructions.
  • Forgetting or not understanding homework.
  • Avoiding tasks or acting up to conceal difficulties.
  • Forgetting equipment/not having the appropriate material for a specific class.
  • Spelling erratically.
  • Words seeming to move on the page when reading.
  • Not completing work within a given time.
  • Frustration and lack of motivation.