Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dyslexia - Aini, Noddy and Fatihah

Peter is a little boy. He works so hard at reading, but it just never gets easier. He knows he's smart so why can't he read like the other kids? Peter has a problem called dyslexia.

Dyslexia (pronounced: dis-lek-see-uh) is a learning problem that some kids have. Dyslexia is a reading and spelling disorder. The problem is inside the brain, but it doesn't mean the person is dumb. Plenty of smart and talented people struggle with dyslexia. Among some of those famous people who have dyslexia are,

· Walt Disney, founder of Disneyland, cartoonist

· Thomas Edison, inventor

· Leonardo Da Vinci, Renaissance artist

· Orlando Bloom, actor

· Tom Cruise, actor

· Richard Branson, English Entrepreneur, founder of Virgin brand

This proves that dyslexia doesn't have to keep a kid down. With some help and a lot of hard work, a kid who has dyslexia can learn to read and spell.

The most common childhood dyslexia symptoms are when a child:

  • Reverses letter sequences (soiled/solid, left/felt)
  • Avoids reading aloud
  • Trouble with word problems
  • Difficulty with handwriting
  • Awkward, fist-like, or tight pencil grip
  • Slow or poor recall of facts
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Delay in learning tasks such as tying shoes & telling time
  • Inattentiveness; distractibility
  • Inability to follow directions
  • Left-right confusion
  • Difficulty learning the alphabet, times tables, words of songs or rhymes
  • Poor playground skills
  • Difficulty learning to read
  • Mixing the order of letters or numbers while reading or writing

How Does Reading Happen?

To understand dyslexia, it helps to understand reading. Reading is a real workout for your brain. You need to do the following steps — and all at once:

  1. Understand the way speech sounds make up words.
  2. Focus on printed marks (letters and words).
  3. Connect speech sounds to letters.
  4. Blend letter sounds smoothly into words.
  5. Control eye movements across the page.
  6. Build images and ideas.
  7. Compare new ideas with what is already known.
  8. Store the ideas in memory.

Phew! Kids who have dyslexia struggle with the beginning steps, so that makes doing the rest of the steps even harder. It's no surprise, then, that trying to read and dealing with dyslexia makes a kid's brain really tired, really fast.

How Kids Become Readers

Most kids start learning to read by learning how speech sounds make up words. Then they connect those sounds to alphabet letters. For example, they learn that the letter "b" makes a "buh" sound.

Then kids learn to blend those sounds into words. They learn that "b" and "at" makes "bat." Eventually, most kids don't have to sound words out and can instantly recognize words they've seen many times before.

But it's tougher for kids who have dyslexia. They may struggle to remember simple words they have seen many times and to sound out longer words. Why is it so hard?

Dyslexia means that a person's brain has trouble processing letters and sounds. That makes it tough to break words into separate speech sounds, like b-a-t for bat. When it's hard to do that, it's really hard to connect speech sounds to different letters, like "buh" for b, and blend them into words.

So, a kid who has dyslexia will read slowly and might make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes he or she will mix up letters in a word, such as reading the word "was" as "saw." Words may blend together wrong and look like this:

Making Reading Easier

Most kids with dyslexia can learn to read with the right kind of teaching. They might learn new ways for remembering sounds. For example, "p" and "b" are called brother sounds because they're both "lip poppers." You have to press your lips together to make the sound.

Thinking about the way the mouth needs to move to make sounds can help kids read more easily. Learning specialists know lots of special activities like this to teach reading to kids who have dyslexia.

Kids with dyslexia also might use flash cards or tape classroom lessons and homework assignments instead of taking notes about them. They may need parents and tutors to help them stay caught up.

How Do Kids With Dyslexia Feel?

Kids who have dyslexia might get frustrated, ang

ry, or sad because reading and spelling are so hard. They may not like being in a different reading group than their friends or having to see a special reading tutor.

But getting this help is so important and will help them go on to do great things in life. Some of the most creative and successful people have dyslexia, but it didn't stop them from chasing their dreams and becoming successful in what they have achieved.

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