Lockdown and online causes have put a strain on children’s education. Indian education curriculum has not yet been developed to explore a child’s full potential through digital mediums. ‘Children’ being fourth graders and below. This shift can veil learning disabilities that start showing symptoms early on. A very common example of this is Dyslexia, yes, it’s what Ishaan Awasthi from Taare Zameen Par had.
The diagnosis and treatment is one leaf, the other is to see the people living with dyslexia scores more than just the disorder. Like a finger is just a part of you, and your biological anatomy, dyslexia is merely a finger sized part of the individual. The identity of a child may sometimes be reduced to a learning disability. Prevention of these labels need to be ensured from all aspects, including parents, the child itself, teachers and even children who are ‘merely’ classmates. This plays a major role in two spheres; a healthy development of the child, and destigmatisation of mental health disorders right from a young age.
The earliest diagnosis of the same can be made by third grade. The criteria for diagnosis is that a child having average level of intelligence and given all possible opportunities, is performing two grades below his current grade.
Even in a pre-pandemic world, it was no shocker to me when most of the these children missed an early diagnosis. Therefore, they face a constant battle, making it more stressful. Consequences include loosing interest in studies, behavioural issues, anxiety before the tests and exams, humiliation on not performing in the class, and lowered self esteem possibly leading to depression, among many.
The concern I wish to address is that an earlier diagnosis will reduce the stress on both, the child and parent. Schools are becoming increasingly supportive in such cases. According to the CBSE Disability Act, a child can drop the the third language, or subjects like maths and science and opt for more practical and artistic subjects. Subsequently students get extra time, a scriber to write, also later receive school assistance in getting admission in colleges too. Furthermore, an earlier diagnosis also means early intervention for the child with special educators.
Dyslexia risk factors include family history of dyslexia or other learning disabilities, premature birth or low birth weight of the child, mother’s exposure during pregnancy to nicotine, drugs, alcohol or infection that may alter brain development in the foetus, and individual differences in the parts of the brain that enable reading.
Dyslexia is the most common learning disability and people with this medical affliction are having trouble in the language processing areas. Yes, the Dyslexic brain is larger than the average brain, and usually much more imaginative. A Yale study found the ratio of girls to boys with Dyslexia to be nearly equal. Dyslexia is not a disease therefore there is no treatment for it. It’s a learning disability that involves difficulty in using / processing verbal and symbolic symbols, alphabetic letters describing speech sounds or numbers and quantities.
Before your child begins school signs of dyslexia may be difficult to detect, but some early clues can suggest a problem. Once your child reaches school age, the teacher may be the first to notice an issue. Severity varies but sometimes the disorder becomes evident when a child starts to learn to read.
Psycho-educational assessment for any learning disability should be done by a trained and licensed clinic psychologists who should be registered with RCI i.e. Rehabilitation Council of India.