Monday, 7 March 2011

Dyslexia, Dislexea, Dislecseea?

Dyslexia affects 1 in 10 people in the UK. Dyslexia makes it difficult to process words and their meanings and is often linked with dyscalculia (inability to process numbers). Dyslexia is currently incurable - but what is dyslexia and what is the country doing to help sufferers? 

Dyslexia is usually spotted whilst a child is young. long term symptoms may include:

  • Bad short term memory.
  • Impaired maths ability.
  • Poor concentration
  • disorganization 
  • Slower to process information.
  • Trouble with order and routine.
Dyslexia is a problem with the brain that often runs in families and can sometimes be linked to left-handedness. Abnormalities in the brain cause dyslexia, but there are some links to eye sight with dyslexia too. Visual stress and some of the symptoms of dyslexia are quite similar and overlays are useful for both. For people with visual stress and dyslexia words can look like this on a page:

These are overlays, different peoples eyes prefer different colours to make their reading easier. Glasses can also be tinted in overlay colours so reading is even simpler!

I spoke with Lucy - a 14 year old dyslexic to find out more about the condition, and how it really affects young people.

"So Lucy, when were you first diagnosed with dyslexia and how did it happen?"

"I was eight. The Primary school I went to suggested that something was wrong but they didnt take it any further. My Mum was unhappy about the lack of help they were giving me so in the end she paid to have me privetly tested for Dyslexia at the local university."

"Did you know what was happening at the time? Can you remember?"

I can only remember bits but I remember it being quite fun really - I got asked a LOT of questions! The woman asked me lots of questions and she just watched what I said and how I reacted to certain things. I think I did some reading but I'm not sure. Towards the end of the day the person who had tested me told my Mum I had classic dyslexia."

"Was your family upset with the result?"

"I think they were more relieved actually because they knew what was wrong with me and how they could help and that I would get help. They thought that the school would do more about my problems now that I was diagnosed."

"How did the school react and what did they do to help?"

"The school was slightly supportive but they could have done more. I got more help - In year three I got put into a lower reading group which was a lot better. I got more support and they knew I wasnt just bad at reading. Then I moved primary schools and I got a lot more help, I still find using an overlay very useful."

"Whats the worst part of being dyslexic?"
"Seeing people reading and being embarrassed about how long you take to read. It makes me feel annoyed angry and upset."

"What do you think the government could do to make it easier for young dyslexics to live with the condition?"
"More tests for dyslexia in primary and secondary schools. They should be free too. They could also give overlays to primary schools to test kids who have trouble reading. "

"What do you think easy read format is?"
"I dont know."

Easy read is a format for people with learning disabilities of any kind. It features pictures that symbolise the simplified sentence opposite it. for example:

Then Bella watched the birds from the top of the cliff. 

This helps people who find it otherwise hard to read normal text and is now being produced by many transcription companies. 

From talking to Lucy and finding out more about 'Easy Read' format, I have started to understand how dyslexia affects people. Though there is no cure for dyslexics, there are lots of things to help, for example: extra time and readers are available in exams, and computer programmes such as 'Lexia' teach spellings, phonics and vocabulary simply and effectively. With 1 in 10 people in the UK diagnosed with dyslexia it is becoming a priority for medical research, meaning new treatments are on their way. So there is certainly hope for dyslexics of the future (and present too!)!

1 comment:

  1. Hey there,

    I am a dislexic. 27 and teaching English in Japan ^^ (yeah I still have to use spell check). When I say I am Dislexic I am saying I am off the charts Dislexic! Most people talk about this as if it was a disorder or something bad ~_~ be frank I am sick of this. It can be a great thing. It is not an eye condition, nor is it a retardation. Look at it this way.

    A "normal" person (we will call them "A") vs. a Dislexic (we will call them "B")

    A is PC (Window Computer)
    B is MAC (Apple Compute)

    Both are great at doing what they were made for! The problems start when you try to get a Mac to do a PC job, or try to get a PC to do a Mac job. (yeah we "B"s have a hard time following the way of "A"s... But you "A"s would not last an hour in the world of "B"s)

    Our brains are wired differently from "A" people. Our bodys (eyes) are 100% the SAME! It is how we translate visuals (from our eyes) in our brains that is different from "A" people. Many things like color, "slurge", too much too close together, ext... can effect how a "B" brain translates what the eye sees. The world was configured for the "A" brains. The way we read, write, watch things, learn things, ext... This is where the problems come up. The world is getting Macs to do PC jobs.

    Using color to fix this is a GREAT thing! I have been using amber glasses for years now. Long before I did any reading on how cutting some colors out can help translate visuals in a "B" brain.

    I was tested when I started learning about this, and go figure. I was told to take out blues and such as by using amber or brown glasses.

    This (color control) is not only a Dislexic problem. For the life of me I cant remember the name of the eye condition, but "A" brains can (it is rare though) be found to have some of the same "visual translation" problems a "B" brain has.

    I know a few people who, after I took my eye test and was told about the glasses I should have, took the same test. One of the three was told he too should be using color glasses (he was told to use pink... he never uses them in public lol).

    Well, this is turning in to a blog post more than a comment... so I will cut it there.