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Frequently asked questions

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia can be commonly referred to as word blindness. This is a condition in which the individual is unable to associate a letter with its sound. Therefore he finds it extremely difficult to put several sounds together and form the word. The longer the word, the greater the difficulty. Reading becomes quite strenuous and the meaning behind the content is lost because all the effort is invested in figuring out the word. Automatic word recognition is very difficult.

What is dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is a condition in which the child has severe difficulty with writing. The basic mechanics of writing such as correct posture, pencil grip, pencil pressure, stroke order, letter formation, spacing, alignment, copying from the black board and overall neatness may be areas of difficulty.

Dysgraphia also includes difficulty with written expression such as syntax, semantics, spellings, ideational fluency, etc.

What is dyscalculia?

Dyscalculia is a condition in which the individual has serious difficulties with math. It may be a difficulty with even basic number concepts like one to one counting, sequencing, place value, the four basic operations etc. Or it could be a problem involving higher order mathematical concepts.

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD] is a condition in which the individual is highly restless, easily distractible, fidgety, and impulsive and has a fleeting attention span. Impulsivity and over activity are typical ADHD characteristics. They seem to have boundless energy and crave for constant activity. This is not deliberate. It is caused due to bio chemical imbalances in the brain.

Almost half the population of ADHD individuals is dyslexic as well.

What is ADD?

ADD or attention deficit disorder is characterized by very low attention span combined with very low need for activity. The child is normally a quiet dreamer and gets easily tired of any activity which demands focused attention and application of cognitive reasoning. This is a child who is very shy, withdrawn and generally lost in the class. He often escapes the teacherís radar.

At which age can we identify?

It is possible to identify these difficulties by seven years of age or the second grade. Parents do get the sensing that something is not ‘right’ even before the child completes five years of age, but it is recommended that we wait till the child completes seven years of age before labeling him. However, remedial intervention should begin at the earliest for those children who are ‘at risk’.

Who will do assessment and how to confirm that the child has learning difficulty?

There are formal, structured assessment tools to diagnose dyslexia. Only trained special educators with considerable experience in the field should administer the tests because only they will be able to interpret the scores obtained in these tests and then arrive at the correct profile and prognosis since no two dyslexics are alike.

Can dyslexia be cured? How long should the remediation continue?

The intensity and the duration of remediation will depend upon the severity of the problem. There is no ‘cure’ as such, since dyslexia is a condition, not a disease. However, remedial support is essential to identify the areas of difficulty and help the student cope with them.

Does it need any medication?

Medication may be advisable under strict medical supervision only when the child is extremely hyperactive and this hyperactivity is making him accident prone and hindering any learning from happening. There is no medicine for dyslexia.

Can regular tuition help these kids?

Regular tuitions will not help the student unless the problem areas are first addressed, and the student’s academic skills such as reading, spelling, arithmetic, comprehension, written expression etc. are brought almost up to grade level. Tuitions without remedial intervention will only promote rote learning without any comprehension.

Is any diet modification required?

Simple dietary changes like avoiding sugary foods, carbonated drinks, and heavily spiced foods, etc. is recommended for children with ADHD.
Gluten [wheat products] and casein [dairy products] free diets are found to be beneficial for children with attention problems.

Are any concessions/exemptions available to these children in academics?

Most of the educational boards in India do give concessions at the 10th and the 12th standard levels. Parents and school authorities are required to follow certain procedures regarding submission of relevant documents etc. to avail these concessions.
Concessions generally include overlooking spelling errors, extra time [one hour per paper] etc.

What is phonics?

Phonics is an essential part of the remedial intervention program for dyslexia. It deals with the sounds of the letters of the alphabet, spelling rules, syllabification patterns, pronunciation of words etc.

What is NIOS?

NIOS is the National institute of open schooling, which conducts board examinations at the 10th and 12th std levels. Several special schools seem to prefer this board since the board offers enormous flexibility in the choice of subjects. A substantial part of the paper is made up of objective type questions and all the papers need not be attempted at the same time. Students may also opt out of math, second language etc. The NIOS board is recognized at the college level.

Can we use audio story books for these kids?

Audio stories may be a good idea especially for those children who have reading difficulties but possess reasonably good listening comprehension skills.

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy involves a set of physical activities aimed at correcting sensory imbalances in an individual diagnosed as dyspraxic [mild motor dysfunctions].This is a highly specialized field. It consists of two parts- assessment followed by therapy. OT is usually recommended for children with handwriting problems, hyperactivity etc.

How to choose a correct remedial center?

A good remedial centre should focus on the child as a unique individual with his/her specific strengths and weaknesses. Lesson plan should be customized accordingly, and focus should be more on strengthening academic skills rather than driving the child to score better marks. Marks will anyway improve once reading, writing, and arithmetic are in place.

Do dyslexic children have any problems with social skills?

Some dyslexic children may have difficulties with social skills and grow up to become difficult individuals. This could be because of their low self-esteem, repeated experience of failure, parental pressure and non-acceptance, inability to comprehend implied meanings in a social context, and the constant need to mask their inherently puzzling disability to read fluently. They are either too sensitive and withdrawn, or aggressive and demanding, or they chose to wear the mask of a clown. Many of them have problems making and keeping friends.

Or in the other extreme some dyslexic individuals have very good interpersonal skills and are surrounded by friends all the time.

ADHD child is one who everyone knows, but nobody likes. This child is impulsive, accident prone and restless. So, most of his classmates prefer to avoid him.

Is dyslexia more prevalent in boys or girls?

It is estimated that dyslexia is more commonly found in boys than among girls.