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First Off: Getting to Know About Learning Difficulties (LDs)

dyscalculia-main

“Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,

it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

-Albert Einstein

It sure can be quite exhausting for parents and teachers of students with one or more forms of a learning challenge, particularly in the absence of a proper diagnosis and professional guide. However, the exhaustion is often felt a lot more by the individuals themselves. As if they are not going through enough already, they have to deal with being labelled, being compared to others and often times being stigmatized. You absolutely have no idea how much they struggle just to be as good as their peers.

Simply put;

A Learning Difficulty is a brain related disorder which affects how an individual learns.

This means that it basically has to do with how the brain is wired and how it processes information.

It typically interferes with basic skills in learning such as reading, mathematics, comprehension, writing, reasoning e.t.c. An individual with learning difficulty may experience challenges with one specific aspect of learning or more. For instance, he/she may struggle with learning to decode words but may possess impressive numeracy skills. On the other hand, some other individual may struggle with more than one aspect of learning such as: reading, mathematics, writing or more.

l-dWhen getting to know about learning difficulties, it is important to note that firstly, it has nothing to do with being lazy, laid back or unmotivated! as a matter of fact, individuals with learning difficulties often work really hard and aspire to be better. However, it is easy for others to form an opinion about them when they seem to shy away from cognitive tasks such as reading out loud in class, spelling, solving numeracy problems, or performing other cognitive tasks in the classroom.

Secondly, it has nothing to do with gender as it affects both males and females which is contrary to some strongly held beliefs about learning difficulties.

Thirdly, it has nothing to do with race or tribe as it can affect just anyone.

Fourthly, it has nothing to do with being stupid as most individuals with learning difficulties are intelligent! Finally, it is mostly hereditary as it runs in families, therefore, the chances of being diagnosed with a learning difficulty is higher when there is a history of learning difficulty within the family.

Parents, guardians and teachers can provide support and seek early interventions to improve their child/student’s cognitive functioning. kindly visit www.mobilehealthconsult for more information about learning difficulties and how to make an appointment for a Psycho-educational assessment.

Also, remember to follow me on twitter @DrMorayoJimoh for more informative updates on

#LearningDifficulties

 


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What Could Be Wrong With Me?

ldMost of us are conversant with obvious “physical” disabilities in people and this may vary from person to person, it could be as common as eye problems to more severe problems that may even render the individual as handicapped. We all have definitely encountered individuals with one or more forms of these disabilities in our environment. However, there seem to be an unsolved puzzle with individuals that appear perfectly normal in their physical appearance yet do have serious challenges with learning. Such individuals are often labelled as “dumb”, “stupid”, “lazy”, “slow”, “nitwits” and are usually being made fun of as a result of their poor academic performance. Eventually, the weight of these labels on the individuals gradually affects many more aspects of their lives, erodes their self-esteem/self-worth and may lead to depressive tendencies on the long run.

A typical example is seen below:

Joseph is often best described by his classmates as “awkward”

His struggle with literacy and numeracy tasks over the years

has taken a huge toll on him.

This has also affected his relationship with his peers as he is often aggressive and irritable.

Although he puts in his very best efforts to get good grades, frustration is all he gets at the end of the school year.

When counseled by the school’s counselor, he becomes emotional and reveals that he really wants to get good grades and be as good as other kids.

 “What could be wrong with me?” He asks….

Today, many students are just like Joseph, struggling with one or more aspects of school work and not understanding why or what the reason may be. Parents/guardians are also not left out as they are frequently at the edge with school authorities regarding the unsatisfactory performance of their children.

ld

This may be a clear cut case of an undiagnosed learning disability/ learning difficulty.

Keep following me on twitter @DrMorayoJimoh for more eye opening updates on #Learningdifficulties

 

 

 


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Understanding Dyslexia: Myths and Truths

Are you a parent? A teacher? A school administrator? A special education needs coordinator or consultant? Are you just a lover of children? Do you know anyone who has a child with learning difficulties? Are you interested in enhancing children’s learning ability?

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If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then this month’s series on DYSLEXIA is for you. The theme is Understanding Dyslexia. The aim of this series is to uncover what dyslexia really is in the face of prevailing myths. We will be sharing with you the signs, factors responsible, possible intervention plans and strategies, and other interesting information.

Long ago, dyslexia was termed as word blindness. It was also associated with visual impairment. More than it was an educational problem or psychological one, Dyslexia was considered a medical problem that stemmed from damages to brain areas that control language. This introductory article will highlight what dyslexia means and some common myths about dyslexia. You will find out that a child who expresses difficulty reading, or has challenges with sounds or letters of the alphabet is not stupid, lazy or lacking motivation.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia as a word can be broken into two parts- Dys and lexia. Dys means “the absence of” while lexia means language. Thus, Dyslexia is commonly regarded as a difficulty with language which may include: reading, spelling, writing and sometimes speaking.

9 Myths about Dyslexiaalphabet

1. Dyslexia is a visual problem: Reversing letters as b’s instead of d’s is one of the signs of dyslexia but not a sufficient cause or sign for a dyslexia diagnosis. Most children while learning how to write, may reverse letters and eventually grow out of it.

2. Dyslexia affects only boys: Dyslexia is prevalent in both boys and girls. The reason boys get the most referrals is because of their behaviour. In expressing frustration regarding a reading difficulty, the teacher notices and makes referrals.

3. Poor performance equals dyslexia: Dyslexia as a learning difficulty does not imply intellectual disability. In fact most students with dyslexia may have an average or above average intelligence.

4. Dyslexics cannot read:  Children with dyslexia may find it difficult to read, but they can learn to read in which case, it takes them greater effort and more time to read.

5. Dyslexia can be outgrown: Dyslexia as we will see later is a difficulty that stems from impairments in brain functioning. As such, children with dyslexia grow on to become adults who read less automatically like those without dyslexia.

6. Dyslexia is caused by a lack of phonics instruction: Teaching a child phonics will not alleviate dyslexia . While they are able to learn phonics,  they experience difficulties applying them.

7. Every child who struggles with reading is dyslexic: Dyslexia is the most common cause of difficulties with reading, but it is by no means the only cause. Dyslexia does not only cause difficulties in reading but also in spelling, speech, and memorization. If a child is dyslexic, there will be other warning signs.

8. People with dyslexia see things backwards: Children with dyslexia do not see things backwards because dyslexia is not a problem with the eyes. Dyslexia may cause people to reverse certain words because of their confusion when discerning between left and right and their difficulties with comprehension.

brain areas

9. Children with dyslexia are just lazy. They should try harder!: Research has shown that those with dyslexia use a different part of their brain when reading and working with language. Dyslexic people show an abnormal pattern of brain function when reading: they show  under-activity in some regions and over-activity in another which, according to researches, accounts for the difficulty they have in extracting meaning from the printed word.

 

 

stupid 2A number of research studies have  provided evidence that people with dyslexia are not poorly taught, lazy, or stupid, rather they  have an inborn brain abnormality that does not have anything to do with their intelligence. When teachers and parents are not aware of these facts, the child is often labelled or branded as being ‘lazy or stupid.’ If children with dyslexia are not diagnosed early enough or do not receive the right type of intervention or classroom accommodations, they often struggle in school.

With the above myths and corresponding truths to debunk them, it is clear that many people including professionals have the wrong idea regarding the cause, symptoms, diagnoses and interventions for  Dyslexia.

 Always remember that every child learns uniquely, Dyslexia isn’t stupidity or laziness!

Welcome to the Dyslexia Awareness month!  Follow @drmorayojimoh for interesting updates.

 

 


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Possessed, Insane or SPECIAL?

Special childrenIn those days and maybe even now, the uneducated or superstitious would say  they are demon possessed,  others refer to them as witches,  the “educated” but uninformed may refer to them as abnormal, or maybe disabled or mentally retarded, but we call them SPECIAL.. and they are Special

Yes Special!

These children are indeed special. Beyond the difficulties they and their caretakers or parents face, these children are a true source of joy to the heart. They make you smile, they make you laugh, they make you cry and they make your wonder how great God is. black child An expectation of birth comes with gladness that is immediately dwindled with the sudden realization that the child carried for 9 months may have a developmental disorder that would affect his/her quality of life.  Some of these disorders such as Down Syndrome which is caused by an abnormality in the genes may be detected at birth while some others cannot be detected prior to birth.

downDevelopmental disabilities are a group of physical or mental conditions that children may present with as a result of an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. They have a low to average Intelligent Quotients (IQ)  and may have difficulties in social and communicative behavior. Learning and teaching proves a herculean task for the children and teachers respectively.These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning and may improve as the child grows older but usually last throughout a lifetime. Most developmental disabilities begin before a baby is born, but some can happen after birth because of injury, infection, or birth complications, trauma to the brain etc. Early detection and intervention play key roles in helping children with developmental disorders. Usually a delay in speech, motor and physical development may indicate the presence of such disorders. Parents and Teachers need to consult professionals in the field of special education should they observe a delay or disturbing behaviour or symptom.

You may ask how does this concern me. You probably feel you have other problems to deal with. Whether or not you are directly involved with children with developmental disabilities, you have a role to play.

Firstly, these children are often stigmatized and labelled by society because they are considered different from the norm.  They are excluded from mainstream education, holding a job is even more difficult and people believe that they have no potential. Parents may also be frustrated and may not give the necessary care, love and encouragement the children need. Every member of the society needs to learn to accept their differences as unique qualities, after all we are all different people, even twins have observed differences. This is a call to accept and embrace children with developmental disorders as Autism, Down Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome, Learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, and other disorders.

Secondly, people are not aware that these disabilities are genetically caused. Like the title suggests, some people feel they are demon possessed or witches and that’s why you need to help in spreading the word.

Did you know that Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon had Autism?

They have great and unique potentials

Only look beyond their disabilities.   kids-smiling Be a VOICE to Children with Special Needs.

They need YOU.

They need ME.

They need LOVE.

Be  their VOICE.

Happy Global Autism Awareness Day.

Always remember, they are Special Children!

Spread the word by sharing this article