Lazy, difficult or just special: How to help children struggling with dyslexia or dysgraphia

Children with learning disabilities have such a hard life. Not only do they have to struggle with their own condition but have to tolerate the ignorance of others. So many people, when they see a child having problems with reading, writing and similar issues, they tend to chalk it to the laziness of the child, or render the child slow and difficult.

However, learning disabilities like dyslexia and dysgraphia are neither. People suffering from these problems can still function in a normal school, provided they get help. Since this condition can plague anyone, children are at no fault of getting this disability.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a reading disorder, although some children also find it hard to write and speak as well. Such people have problems processing language, and thus have a difficulty in connecting the speech to the text.

Symptoms of dyslexia include problems reading, writing, pronouncing words, seeing similarities in words and spelling words. Moreover, such children have difficulty in articulating their thoughts as well. They thus take more time in completing activities and tasks. Due to these learning difficulties, they are often termed as slow children.

How can dyslexia be diagnosed?

Dyslexic children have problems starting early in life; they generally end up talking late. They are not active in playing games and learning rhymes. Dyslexic children cannot read for their age. Hence, if you are experiencing these issues with your child, it is best to consult a child specialist in Lahore and get a timely diagnosis.

How does dyslexia affect the child?

People can be extremely cruel and casual in their remarks regarding children suffering from learning disabilities, especially when they are undiagnosed. As a result, dyslexic children tend to suffer from self-esteem issues. This can lead to social anxiety, aggression and other behavioral issues.

Moreover, their education suffers, which has an important impact on their socioeconomic growth as well.

How to help children with dyslexia?

Parents need to emotionally and otherwise support their children. They need to help children practice their reading and writing skills. They should help their child learn different things so that the habit develops.

Since such children do not learn at the level of the ordinary students, they need a separate instruction medium at school as well. Due to their writing difficulties, teachers should allow them extra time, and different caliber of assignments that do not involve too much reading or writing.

What is Dysgraphia?

A less commonly known condition, dysphagia refers to problems with transcription skills. These include writing, typing and spelling issues. Children then have extreme difficulties in putting their words on literal or proverbial paper.

Messy handwriting is a tell-tale sign of dysgraphia. Such children also tend to experience problems in the activity of writing; the letters are non-uniformly spread across the page, paragraph spacing is skewed. Writing does not follow a straight line but is haywire. Letters are also irregularly shaped.

Children also find it hard to hold the pencil or pen in one hand and take control of the paper with the other hand. Thus, they are not able to exert sufficient pressure on the paper when writing. These issues also make the task of writing more laborious for them, which is why they take more time to write. Their posture is also improper as well.

Not only this, they also find it difficult to form the letters. The writing itself is laden with mistakes ranging from punctuation to grammatical faults to spelling errors. It thus gets hard for the children to express themselves.

How can it be diagnosed?

Dysgraphia is more to do with motor issues. They can think, it is the execution that is hard for them to do. This then also causes problems with the learning, as their focus shifts to the arduous task of writing rather than learning.

An expert occupational and physical therapist can help with the process of diagnosis by gauging a child’s motor skills, performing writing tests and motor planning skills.

How does dysgraphia affect the child?

Due to the general lack of awareness amongst people, so many teachers and parents fail to recognize the underlying issue with the child. Constant chiding for not being neat, terming children as sloppy and lazy can wreak havoc on their confidence.

Children as a result feel isolated and frustrated. They thus suffer from low self-esteem. Moreover, they despite their efforts, are not able to perform well due to which they associate negativity with school.

How to help children with dysgraphia?

Rather than insulting their children and calling them difficult, parents should be less critical of their child and try to understand if they are suffering from some learning disability. Occupational therapists can help with the diagnosis and treatment of such children.

Parents can also help their children practice, get apps that translate speech to text, explore writing exercises etc.

However, perhaps the most important role to be played is by the teachers. They need to be more patients towards such students. They should give them extra time to complete the activity and should never make them perform some writing task in front of the class. The activities should also be more graphical in nature to decrease the use of written words.

Likewise, their assignments should be designed to minimize the use of tex. They should also be allowed access to notes by other students or teachers, so they don’t lag behind.

Rather than making quick assessments, parents and teachers need to work together to understand the reason behind the lack of performance by the child. If left undiagnosed, these issues potentially ruin the life of the child. If you fear that your child might be suffering from some learning difficulties, visit a child specialist in Karachi to get your child the much needed help.