Parents and schools are equipping themselves with knowledge on dyslexia. SYEDA FARIDA reports
Eleven-year-old Giridhar is a cartoon buff. He likes writing storyboards for films as much as spending a few hours with the skateboard post school. "He is excellent in skating and very good with analysis and other school activities, except writing. He makes mistake in his work as he has a problem reading alphabet `b' and `d'," says his father Venkat Reddy, a businessman. Giridhar has a learning difficulty called dyslexia - a developmental reading disorder. About five to six per cent school children are identified with the disorder today. "They have a high IQ. They have difficulty in following instructions, and have significant spelling error. They cannot differentiate between similar looking letters such as `6' and `9' and `b' and `d'. Another feature associated with dyslexia is a `bubble sound'. Dyslexia comes to notice in PP 2 when children struggle to read sentences," says Dr. Shakila Naidu, consulting child psychologist. A few years ago this condition would have been brushed off as the child's laziness to go to school and then labelled as lazy, stupid, dull or moddu. And parents were not willing to accept remedial instructions. Not any more. Today parents are equipping themselves while working with the school on the child's improvement while schools have come up with special needs sections along with periodic seminars by psychologists. Read remedial instructions - set of procedures and method to bring about phonic awareness.While Oakridge International School has an active resource room to identify and offer necessary aid to deal with dyslexia, Chirec has remedial counsellors in supportive units offering remedial instructions to children. And more schools seem to ensure this apart. "We have individual sessions and monitor the classroom performance. The whole language approach is followed which is a combination of sight-reading and phonetics," says Leela Kondath, special needs teacher, International School of Hyderabad. Agrees Maya Sukumaran, headmistress, Gitanjali Senior School, "We call counsellors to talk to parents. There is a provision to help such students. For every hour during exam, the student is given 15 minutes extra. And the spelling mistakes are overlooked. This way the child fares well. We have a Standard XII student who has scored 76 per cent and another slow learner who is incredible as the class captain." "About 75 per cent get over this by the time they are in 10+2. Early identification is the key," says Dr. Naidu.
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