Dr. Michelle Frank
9 May 2018 . 1 min read

Understanding Cause Of Dyslexia & Treatment For Your Child

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Our brains go through several different processes to understand one letter from the words we read. While it may seem effortless for us, there are a few who take a little while to get accustomed to how the words sound and what they look like.

Dyslexia is a learning disorder. Children and adults who struggle with this are unable to match a word or letter with its corresponding sound.

Let’s understand Dyslexia in detail along with if there is any therapy.

What are the causes of dyslexia?

The dysfunction associated with dyslexia has been located to the language processing site in the brain. The exact cause of dyslexia is not completely understood. However, there are several environmental and genetic factors that have been linked to it.

Researchers have observed that dyslexia tends to run in families. Even distant relatives could be a possible link to one’s child having dyslexia. In some families, if one sibling has dyslexia, other children might also exhibit some reading and learning disorders to a lesser degree. Another common feature observed among dyslexics is their differing brain function.

While there might be minimal structural differences between those who have dyslexia and those who do not, the main pathology has been attributed to their brain function.

For instance, when you read the letter “A,” the sensory part of your brain remembers what it looks like and projects a motor response which coincides with this letter. However, in children with dyslexia, these two areas of the brain don’t function in synchrony. Therefore what the eyes see, is not related to what the actual letter is. In order to produce a result other areas of the brain function, leading to an inappropriate response.

Other causes for this condition include premature delivery or low birth weight. Babies that are exposed to drugs, nicotine, alcohol or other forms of infection during pregnancy are at a risk of developing dyslexia. Although all these causes are postulated, there is no one specific cause that is known to cause this condition.

How can I identify if my child has dyslexia?

There is a spectrum of different signs that your child can display if they have dyslexia. These are not consistent and new ones can appear daily. The key therapy is to observe patterns and try not to brush aside any difficulties that your child might be experiencing. Most children with dyslexia are of average or above average intelligence and have a keen sense of curiosity. They are interested in learning new things but often get frustrated due to their disability.

  • Children with dyslexia are observed to speak with ease and understand what they hear. However, they struggle to write and read.
  • They take their own time reading, mainly because they are unable to string letters and the words together. The same goes for writing. They usually take longer than the other students in their class to complete assignments.
  • Teachers and parents observe consistent errors with spelling despite several attempts to correct it. Each time the spelling might differ and not be close to the original word.
  • Since they are average or above average in IQs, their errors are often overlooked at school. It could be pushed aside as misbehaviour or a simple unwillingness to learn.
  • They tend to avoid activities that involve reading or writing. However, they excel in oral exams.
  • Since they are unable to read, many of these children tend to wander off and look into space, especially during tests.

Dyslexic children are noticed to have low self-confidence as many of them are made to feel bad for something that they know they can’t help. Since they are unable to participate in the regular curriculum they lose focus easily and move on to things they enjoy. These children are observed to master several crafts and arts like music, painting, drama, sports and other such activities. Parents should be on the lookout for the following if they suspect that their child might have dyslexia.

  • When asked to read, they change words, make errors, use different words for the same one, or in some cases add new ones.
  • Often complain of tummy upsets or headaches when asked to read or write.
  • Attempt to spell words based on their sound rather than what the word actually is.
  • They complain that their eyes might be unable to see the words properly when there is actually no visible optical difficulties.
  • Many dyslexic children also say that they can see words moving across their book or floating in the air.
  • They are easily distracted by surrounding noises.
  • They sometimes struggle with putting what they think into fluent sentences.
  • In rare cases, they can be ambidextrous, as they are confused which hand is used to write the words correctly.

These are just a few highlights of what you as a parent should be on the lookout for. Each child displays a different spectrum of symptoms. The key is to be observant of difficulty your child is experiencing. As mentioned before children have a different range of symptoms daily. Give your child time some time and space. If they are genuinely facing a difficulty do not overlook it. Your care is a therapy for them.

What should I do if I feel my child has dyslexia?

The first step is acknowledging that your child indeed has a difficulty. As parents, it is always a wish to see your child attain excellence. So when they falter, parents tend to pressure their children to work harder and aim for the stars. But as parents, it is important to listen to your child and understand that they may need a little more assistance than the other children.

Parents should look out for reading and writing difficulties more prominently. When you observe that your child has a difficulty the first thing to do is to pay your child’s teacher a visit. Teachers can usually give a clearer picture of your child’s behaviour and performance in class. After this, you can go to your paediatrician. In most cases, a pediatric psychologist handles cases of children with dyslexia.

Detecting it early can help to determine the course of treatment that is required.

What are the treatment options available for dyslexia?

It is good to know that there is no straightforward way to cure dyslexia. While it is a lifelong condition, children who are diagnosed early have an overall good prognosis.

A whole ecosystem will have to be created to foster learning for your child (If you call it treatment). The teacher, therapist and parent have to work hand in hand to further a dyslexic child’s progress. Senses that are working efficiently like touch, hearing and vision are implemented when teaching a dyslexic child how to read and write. When reading the sounds each letter and word makes is vital. Today, in the generation of technology, children are able to visualise different words and their specific function. As a parent, you should be taking additional steps to assist your child.

  • Talk to your child’s teacher on alternative locations and times for extra revision sessions.
  • If you observe that your child is depressed and withdrawn as a result of their condition, get him/her the special help they need.
  • Co-ordinate often with teachers, psychologists, speech therapists and other specialists.
  • Research alternative study programs that cater to children with dyslexia.

Dyslexia is not a disease or in any sense a severe disability. It is a mere roadblock that requires a little extra effort to overcome. If your child has dyslexia, ensure you are aware of everything regarding the condition. Both you and your son/daughter should have a talk about it. Make it known that there is nothing wrong with them and together as a unit you both will get over any struggles that your child is facing.

Let it be known to your child that they are equal to all the children around them, and they can achieve the same levels of excellence. Do not let dyslexia be an excuse for either your child or yourself to justify an inability to learn and educate them. In most cases, early diagnosis leads to exceptional results.

Dr. Michelle Frank
Call me your unconventional doctor, who is currently treading on the road less travelled. I love all things medicine. The human body and it’s inner workings never cease to fascinate me. Helping others is what gives me unparalleled satisfaction and keeps me marching on this enlightening and fulfilling journey.

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