Dyslexia is quickly becoming one of the most common forms of learning disabilities in America. My personal purpose of conducting research on this topic is because my nine year old niece was diagnosed with dyslexia last year. The causes of all learning disabilities, not just dyslexia, are either heredity or environmental influences. Among these causes, each child is different, which is why it is most important to assess and treat the child as an individual not specifically as a child with dyslexia.
“The term “learning disabled” is a label given to a type of student who seems to be intelligent but is unable to learn academic material readily” (Stevenson, 1974, p. 3). It is hard to fully understand learning disabilities because they have so many misconceptions. Everyone has learning strengths and learning weaknesses. As adults, our weaknesses were either in areas which did not interfere seriously with our progress through school, or not severe enough to prevent us from achieving our most important goals. Children with learning disabilities, however, suffer an unlucky combination: not only are their weaknesses more pronounced than usual, but they also lie in those areas most likely to interfere with the acquisition of basic skills in reading, writing, or mathematics (Smith & Strick, 1997). In order to overcome learning disabilities, it is vitally important for both parents and students to understand exactly in which of these areas deficits lie. It is needed to establish reasonable goals both at school and at home. Most important, this knowledge will ultimately make it possible for the child to become a confident, independent learner. Precise identification of a child’s learning problems involve a comprehensive evaluation. However, any adult concerned with children who have learning disabilities must understand the following three points. “First, children with learning disabilities frequently have problems in more than one area. Second, learning disabilities do not vanish when a child leaves school for the day. Lastly, learning disabilities can produce “emotional consequences” (Smith & Strick, 1997, p.33-34). Without the right kind of encouragement and support, young kids will rapidly stop believing in themselves and their ability to succeed. Quite often, parents are offered only a vague description of their children’s learning disabilities. You may be told that your child has “a written expression handicap,” for example, or that the child is moderately dyslexic”. When a parent asks what exactly “moderately dyslexic” means, they are usually told a simple definition such as, “the youngster has some trouble reading” (Smith & Strick, 1997, p.118). This is not the case; dyslexia is so much more intricate and specialized than that. The trouble with terms like these is that they give parents absolutely no idea what the student actually can and cannot do. Columbia Encyclopedia defines dyslexia as, “in psychology, a developmental disability in reading or spelling, generally becoming evident in early schooling. To a dyslexic, letters and words may appear reversed, e.g., d seen as b or was seen as saw. Many dyslexics never learn to read or write effectively, although they tend to show above average intelligence in other areas (Columbia Encyclopedia, 2009). Now that the correct definition has been establishes, it is important for both the parent and the teacher to work together to help the student succeed. Here are simple steps to be taken by responsible teachers and parents when they suspect a reading problem. First, ascertain an estimation of the child’s level of intelligence. Contact the appropriate school administrator and ask if the child has been given any group or individual intelligence tests in the last which would indicate his/her intelligence level. Do not try to pin them down to an exact IQ score; just simply ask if the child is average, below average or above average, according to the test...
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