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Dyslexia is associated with childhood and we often forget that it also affects adults, who sometimes can seriously complicate life. See how to facilitate normal functioning of the dyslexic and encourage him to develop skills in those fields where he feels most comfortable.

Dyslexiais not a disease, but a specific learning disorder related to the development of functions that are involved in reading and writing. If recognized soon enough and appropriate therapy is started, their effects can be minimized. Dyslexia can be caused by changes in the central nervous system caused by abnormal prenatal development and the influence of harmful factors during and after birth (e.g., cerebral hypoxia). The immediate cause of dyslexic difficulties is the uneven psychomotor development of the child. Some functions develop correctly, or even above average, others are slower, sometimes with a long delay.

The first symptoms of dyslexia, i.e. letters do not fit into words

The first symptoms of dyslexia may be noticeable already in infancy. The baby has trouble walking. He takes his first steps very late because he is not able to keep his balance as well as his peers. The movements he makes aren't smooth, they look clunky. He builds his first sentences with difficulty. However, the symptoms that indicate this dysfunction are the easiest to notice at school age. It is a slow pace of reading, sometimes spelling, putting letters into words, difficulties with reading a longer word, i.e. with a synthesis, the inability to distinguish all the sounds in a word, explains Róża Sobocińska, a therapist for reading and writing difficulties. - There is also difficulty with mastering the spelling, resulting from confusing letters that sound phonetically similar, e.g. b-p, d-t, w-f, z-s-c.

The term "dyslexia" is derived from Greek - from the morpheme "dys" which means lack of something, difficulty, inability, and the noun "lexicos" understood as a vocabulary.

A dyslexic person has huge problems with writing by ear, he makes mistakes repeatedly rewriting the same text. There are also problems with motor skills, e.g. with all team games, mastering riding a two-wheeled bicycle, graspingand throwing the ball. Often there are difficulties remembering. Such a child takes much longer to learn the poem, the names of the months or the multiplication table. Sometimes, he has the right messages but is unable to deliver them. Pulled out to answer, he cannot remember the material he has learned.

In general, dyslexia is associated with attention deficit disorder, which makes it difficult to solve maths, physics and chemistry tasks. When speaking, he often twists complex words and uses phrases that are grammatically incorrect. "Thick" books evoke overwhelming aversion. It happens that a child who has no vision or hearing impairment "looks and does not see", "listens and does not hear".

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Dyslexia test to help diagnose

The presence of several of these symptoms may or may not be a symptom of dyslexia. In making a diagnosis, a test (in a pedagogical and psychological counseling center) will help you answer several dozen questions such as: "Do you have trouble remembering the meaning of what you read?", "Do you make spelling mistakes", "Do you twist long words? "," Is your handwriting difficult to read? " If the disease is not noticed in time, adult dyslexics may have problems with planning work, daily schedule, meetings and trips. There are problems with getting a driving license, with learning foreign languages, with remembering the read text, inability to use your knowledge in stressful situations, problems with distinguishing the left side from the right, lack of orientation in the field, making spelling mistakes, confusing dates and times, difficulties in formulation of official letters or problems with the use of operating instructions, e.g. household appliances. Such people avoid speaking in public because they are afraid of the problem of constructing a coherent statement.

How to help a dyslexic find himself in the environment?

In the school period, when a lot can be achieved by systematic therapy, students often remain lonely with their problems, and they cannot always find support at home. With such luggage they travel into adult life, and often what is not a problem for people who do not have difficulties with visual-auditory-motor coordination, is an insurmountable obstacle for them. - Dyslexia causes a child discouraged by learning failures to stop believing in his own strength, his self-esteem is low, there is often a feeling of rejection due to otherness, some kind of helplessness - says Róża Sobocińska. It is very difficult to walk confidently through life for those who at school were labeled as lazy or not very talented just because they made spelling mistakes or hadproblems with other symptoms of dyslexia. An insecure, lost teen can grow into a frustrated, anxious adult.

We also need to show the other side of the coin - adult dyslexics who systematically overcome their visual-auditory-motor dysfunctions in childhood, are often persistent in pursuing their goals and are very ambitious. - The modern world, filled with all kinds of codes, PINs, numbers, can be a great challenge for a dyslexic person, says Róża Sobocińska. - Confusing numbers in a sequence makes it difficult, for example, to move around the city, because 34 and 43 may turn out to be the same number for such people, and buses or trams marked with these numbers "maliciously" go in opposite directions. It would seem that the map makes it easier for a person to reach the goal, but not for the one who manifests dyslexia. For him, reading a map is black magic, as it is difficult to distinguish the right side from the left.

Professional help for dyslexics

In 1896, a case of dyslexia in a 14-year-old boy was described for the first time in Great Britain. He was intelligent and had no difficulty in math, but he could not learn to read. The ophthalmologist, W. Pringle Morgan, did not find the suspected vision defect in him, and he considered reading difficulties a symptom of specific disorders, which he called "congenital verbal blindness". In Poland, the first publications on dyslexia appeared in the 1930s.

In 1990, the Polish Dyslexia Society was established. It brings together parents of dyslexic children, people with this disorder and specialists. Today there are 37 branches of PTD. It is worth knowing that, apart from dyslexia, we also distinguish dysorthography, which is associated with making spelling and grammatical errors despite knowing the spelling rules, dysgraphia, i.e. a motor skills disorder characterized by non-calligraphic writing, dyscalculia - problems in mathematics, especially in counting (caused by poor orientation in space-time). The rarest is dysphonia, which manifests itself in very slurred and quiet speech and difficulties in hearing sounds properly.

Róża Sobocińska emphasizes that every dyslexic is different, struggling with various symptoms of this disorder. He admits that public awareness of this subject is growing, but still too low. In classes with 30 students, it is difficult for all of them to devote enough time to them, not all teachers have sufficient knowledge about dyslexia. Children starting their education from the very beginning have a difficult start: the new primer is too small. Our expert regrets this very much.

Genius despite dyslexia

More and more professionals are talking about the "gift of dyslexia" that holds the promise of outstanding achievement and personality development. The dyslexic mind functions in the same way as the minds of many brilliant people. Hans Christian Andersen, Alexander Graham Bell, Winston Churchill, Leonardo da Vinci, W alt Disney, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Cher, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Nelson Rockefeller, Quentin Tarantino, Jacek Kuroń are just some of the outstanding dyslexics.

Global organizations that promote gifted persons with dyslexia, such as the Davis Dyslexia Association International and the Arts Dyslexia Trust, work on the principle that convincing a dyslexic person about the potential for success and being proactive is equally important, and even more important. like any therapeutic activities. Dyslexics need to concentrate more and experimentally find their own way of doing things. As a result, they often become more creative and resourceful, although at the basic level of education they could not boast of successes.

Three types of dyslexia

  • The visual type - there are mainly disorders of visual perception and visual memory.
  • Auditory type - it is based on impaired auditory perception and auditory memory, often associated with language disorders.
  • Integrative dyslexia - coordination is impaired, i.e. perceptual-motor integration disorders;

Note! The term "disturbance of perception, eg visual or auditory" does not mean a visual or hearing impairment. Often the term "dyslexia" is accompanied by the term "developmental". It means that the described difficulties occur from the beginning of preschool and school education, in contrast to acquired dyslexia (loss of already mastered reading and writing skills, usually by adults after brain damage). The number of people with dyslexia is increasing due to the increase in the number of children coming from at-risk pregnancies and difficult births. The reason is also the influence of unfavorable cultural factors (e.g. children draw less, do not develop motor skills while playing in the yard) and the lack of contact with a book, which is more and more often replaced by a computer.

Selected exercises to help you deal with dyslexia

  • daily 2- or 3-sentence dictations,
  • combining sounds into syllables and words,
  • learning rhymes, songs by heart,
  • search for the same letter among others,
  • recalling previously seen patterns in memory,
  • sorting letters of similar shape,
  • highlighting confused letters in the text,
  • rewriting and out loudsaying syllables that are written
  • extracting syllables in words.
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