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

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“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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When Does Life Begin?

crying babyThe anticipated joy of a couple becomes complete at the sound of the cry of their new born after about 9 months of pregnancy and several hours of labor. The birth cry has been known to signify life and is looked out for by the medical professionals at the point of delivery. However, it should interest you that life does not begin at birth but at the moment the man’s sperm fuses with the woman’s ovum (This is called fertilization in biological terms or conception). A child’s life begins at this time. According to a renowned developmental psychologist, Professor Agiobu-Kemmer, the womb is the primary environment where an unborn child develops. It cannot be seen with unaided eyes but advancement in technology has made it possible to know what happens in there.

What evidence exists regarding life at conception? What makes one know that a child starts developing from the womb? Why must environmental factors both in the womb and outside be considered for optimal development?

sucking babyThe developing “child” or “fetus” in the womb hears, feels, sees, and moves even before birth. At approximately two weeks after conception, a lot of development occurs in the womb of a mother. At this stage, nutrition and environmental factors as well as genetics play a role. The body organs and parts begin to develop and take shape. At 12 weeks (3months), the fetus can smile, frown, suck and swallow. This same period coincides with when the fetus can urinate, move arms, legs, fingers and toes. Sucking the thumb usually is not learnt after birth, rather at about 20 weeks after conception, fetuses have been reported to have begun this behavior. At 25 weeks, they begin to hear and at 32 weeks they begin to respond to sounds particularly their mothers’ voices. A very recent study by Lahav (2015), an assistant professor of pediatrics, indicated that neural connection grew at sound centers of the brain of premature babies in incubators who heard recordings of their mother’s voice rather than the regular noise of intensive care units. This research shows how important it is for a mother to speak to her child while in the womb.  Another recent story was published in the news by Mail Online; A newborn baby who refused to be pacified kept on crying until he heard his father’s voice and was held by him. This provides evidence that bonding begins in the womb and both parents play a role.

It is really amazing the delicacy of the life that exist in the womb. How all the organs develop is still a continuous source of inquiry for scientists and researchers. Nutrition, emotional attachment, genetics and the  physical environment during pregnancy play a role in determining a child’s life outside the womb.  Thus, it is important to note that all these factors determine a child’s physical, intellectual and socio-emotional development

“Everything a mother does and is, is shared with her unborn child”.

Development

Every child deserves the best and remember that what a mother does or does not do during pregnancy will affect the child’s development in later years.

For more interesting updates on #child development, kindly follow @DrMorayoJimoh.


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Understanding Dyslexia: Successful People with Dyslexia

Dyslexia

This month has been our dyslexia awareness month with the theme as “Understanding dyslexia“. During the course of this period, we have shared information on dyslexia which includes: myths and truths about dyslexia, prevalence of dyslexia, causes of dyslexia, differences in brain functions of people with dyslexia and those who do not have it, assessment/diagnosis of dyslexia, strengths and positive skills of people with dyslexia, strategies to help them learn, accommodations and school supports and so much more. It has been an interesting period of unraveling the myth behind dyslexia and creating awareness about it.

In this final part of the series, we will be sharing information about famous and successful individuals who have experienced similar difficulties with language and were found to be dyslexic. Yes! These set of people were able to maximize the diverse strengths they possess and utilize their skills to excel in life, despite the negative reports they received from teachers and the society at large. As creative thinkers, they have been able take on extraordinary and legendary roles, making their impact felt across generations.  Although, some are dead, the impact made by them is still felt till date while some are alive and excelling in their fields. Among these successful people are inventors, actors/actresses, CEOs, entrepreneurs, film producers/directors, writers, architects and more.

Truly, having a diagnosis of dyslexia is not a sentence to failure rather, an awareness of a different learning ability.

Below are some  famous and successful people with dyslexia:

Steve Jobs:Apple Announces Launch Of New Tablet Computer is a name that comes to mind when the computer and telecommunications company ‘Apple’ is mentioned with many inventions such as laptops and portable devices like iphones, ipods and ipads. Steve jobs is best known as a co-founder and CEO of Apple. He experienced difficulties in school and was diagnosed with dyslexia.

 

Albert EinsteinT1519086_24: was a German Physicist, an author and award winning scientist. He was famous for his timeless discoveries and theories. Having dyslexia, he was able to use his imagination and creativity to stand out in his discoveries. He was also known to be a genius with an IQ of 160.

TOM CRUISE

 

 

Tom Cruise: was diagnosed with dyslexia and had to work harder on what he was really good at from a young age. In Hollywood film industry,  he is a peak performing actor and producer well known for his leading roles in popular movies and production. He is one actor that has excelled in his field.

 

Thomas Edison:Thomas Edison was a scientist and inventor with creative innovations that caused a revolution in how things are done presently across the world. Among his innovations was the invention of the light bulb. He was said to have been dyslexic.

 

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Will Smith: The fresh prince of bel-Air as he is popular called is indeed a king of comedy dedicated to excellence. He is an award winning actor famous for his many comedy roles in movies. He refers to his dyslexia as one of the major reasons for his success.

 

 

Richard BransonRichard branson: After series of struggles with school work, he was diagnosed with dyslexia, with this, he was able to use his strengths to excel. he is a well known successful entrepreneur. He  is the founder of the Virgin group owner of Virgin Atlantic airlines.

 

 

Sally Gardner: a famous author who was diagnosed with dyslexia. She has sold more than Sally Gardner1.5 million copies of her work in the United Kingdom. Her work has been translated into 22 languages.

 

Orlando

Orlando Bloom: a famous actor and movie star claimed he had to do work three times as hard to get two-thirds of the way.  As a child he was diagnosed  with dyslexia but he was also told that he had a high IQ score. This gave him the confidence he needed to succeed.

 

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Michael Faraday: an English scientist who contributed greatly to the field of electromagnetic induction was reported to have had terrible trouble with spelling and punctuation. He also had poor memory. One thing that Faraday had common to dyslexics was a powerful visual sense. He was able to form a mental image of most of his studies.

 

GeorgeGeorge Washington: The  first  United States President  had trouble with words particularly spelling. Historians report that George Washington didn’t spend much time in school and was a self-taught man.  George often spelled words the way they sounded: blew for blue, oyl for oil and coff for cough.  Although there is no evidence, some believe he had dyslexia.

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Henry Ford: The famous entrepreneur and businessman was recorded to have had dyslexia. He even attributed some of his success to dyslexia. Even today, decades after he was born, you might still see cars on the road bearing his name.

 

Whoopi goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg: An actress and humanitarian, Whoopi was diagnosed with dyslexia. She claims that the support of her mother and a great  and understanding teacher helped her surmount her learning challenges. She is one of  twelve people in history to have won all four of entertainment’s major awards: Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy.

 

 

These are only a few of the many famous and successful individuals that were diagnosed with dyslexia and have been able to focus and maximize their strengths to excel in life. They did not let anything hold them back not even a learning difficulty!

 Children with dyslexia have enormous capacity and abilities to succeed.

 They learn differently. They have gifts.They are special!

They can become anything they set their minds upon with your love, encouragement and support.

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Remember to follow @DrMorayoJimoh for more updates. You can contact us for a consultation on dyslexia by clicking HERE

We would love to hear from you at Mobile Health Consult!


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Understanding Dyslexia: Strengths and positive skills

HiResWith the previous article dwelling on the signs and causes of dyslexia, it is important to note that a formal psycho-educational assessment is required to ascertain if a person has dyslexia. This assessment is aimed at examining memory, language, orientation in time and space, behaviour, motor skills, intellectual ability, bodily awareness, information processing, psycho-linguistic processing, and academic skills of the child. It determines whether or not the child is reading, writing or spelling at age appropriate level. Such assessments also take into account the child’s birth history, developmental milestones and overall school performance. It is conducted by trained specialists such as educational psychologists.

Strengths and positive skills of individuals with dyslexia

Although children with dyslexia have average or above average intelligence, they may experience difficulties learning language based subjects since language is the most common mode of communicating new knowledge in schools. People or children with dyslexia can learn to read and be proficient in language skills when their strengths are maximized. They have inherent strengths that if used can make them perform at levels at par with their contemporaries.

Below are some positive strengths of individuals with dyslexiaStrengths

  • They are great at visuo-spatial thinking.
  • Fast problem solvers who are able to think laterally
  • They are intuitive and good at reading people
  • They are verbally articulate and may be  great communicators
  • Creativity is a major strength possessed by them – so many people with dyslexia excel as designers, artists, actors and more
  • They are excellent at solving puzzles
  • They are spatially talented- many individuals with dyslexia are employed as engineers, architects, designers, artists, mathematicians, physicists, physicians, dentists and some other professions.
  • Individuals with dyslexia frequently enjoy above average physical co-ordination skills
  • they possess great emotional strengths such as empathy
  • They are inclined to think outside the box most of the times.
  • They are persistent individuals.

strengths 1

 

In order to maximize these strengths, brain based strategies are necessary to be utilized when teaching individuals with dyslexia and this will be the focus of the next article.

Always remember that individuals with dyslexia have strengths and learn differently!

Follow @DrMorayoJimoh for more updates. You can contact us for a consultation on dyslexia by clicking HERE

We would love to hear from you at Mobile Health Consult!

 

 

 


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Understanding Dyslexia: Learning and Brain differences

 

black-boy-readingJohn hates being called to read aloud in his class, he usually has some trouble saying some words even when he recognizes them. School is not really his favourite place to be because all his teachers complain about his writing and spelling. His parents often compare him with his  siblings saying “he is just the lazy one”.  He often gets discouraged thinking he is not as smart as his siblings and other pupils in his class. John would rather work on his drawings and participate in other activities that deal less with writing or reading.

What John, his parents and teachers have not realized is that he has dyslexia.

 

In the previous article of this month’s series on understanding dyslexia, we shared some information about what dyslexia is and some prevailing myths and truths about dyslexia. In this second part, we will emphasize on the description of dyslexia, causes, prevalence, signs and symptoms which accounts for learning and brain differences in people with dyslexia.

DESCRIBING DYSLEXIA

Dyslexia can be described as a brain based learning difficulty which is often hereditary and results in problems with:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Spelling

Also, it is associated with difficulties in concentration, short term memory and organization which are essential skills to facilitate learning that has to do with language. This is why people with dyslexia can be wrongly labelled as being “lazy”, “stupid”, “dumb”, “less intelligent” or “mentally slow/retarded” . Eliminating these wrong notions about dyslexia creates a better understanding of what is really responsible for the perceived learning differences/difficulties experienced by people with dyslexia.

CAUSES OF DYSLEXIA

The major cause of the brain based learning difficulty especially with literacy skills experienced by people who never had any damage to the brain and having adequate intelligence is genetic. As noted earlier, it is a condition that is hereditary; research has shown that it runs in families therefore, a child has a 50% chance of having dyslexia if only one parent has it and a 100% chance if both parents have dyslexia.

People with dyslexia use only the right side of the brain to process language, while people without dyslexia use three areas on the left side of the brain to process language.maxresdefault

Dyslexia is not as a result of laziness, stupidity or poor intelligence, rather, the brains of people with dyslexia are wired differently which accounts for the language difficulties they experience.

 

PREVALENCE OF DYSLEXIA

  • Dyslexia is the most common learning difficulty.
  • It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia occurs around the world irrespective of tribe, race or socio-economic background.
  • It occurs in both boys and girls.
  • It can be seen in adults too.
  • It varies from person to person.

 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DYSLEXIA

The following are some signs and symptoms experienced by people that may have dyslexia.128563473

  1. Difficulties with reading, spelling and writing despite normal intelligence and proper teaching: consistent reading, spelling and writing errors such as putting letters or words in the wrong order for example; ‘was’ for ‘saw’ or sounding ‘dub’ for ‘bud’ or omitting letters when spelling, such as ‘shool’ for ‘school’ could be a sign of dyslexia.
  1. Delay in reaching developmental milestones: this occurs when children are unable to reach certain language and motor development at the expected age. It could be an early sign of dyslexia.
  1. Speech problems: such as sudden loss of speech and difficulty expressing self through spoken language are possible signs of dyslexia.
  1. Directionality difficulties: confusion with directions such as being uncertain about left or right, up/top or down/bottom directions. It is also responsible for letter reversals such as ‘b’ for ‘d’ (not corrected after a long time of correcting and proper teaching). It is also known as mirror writing and could be a sign of dyslexia.
  2. Pronunciation problems: such as being unable to pronounce long words properly.
  3. Difficulty carrying out a sequence of directions: being unable to follow a sequence of directions is a possible sign of dyslexia.

 

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Dyslexia should be seen as a different learning ability rather than a learning disability. People with dyslexia within any age range are capable of learning efficiently with a different approach that matches their learning ability.

Beyond all the difficulties experienced by people with dyslexia, are strengths unknown to many and themselves. Some of their strengths and more information about people with dyslexia will be shared in the next part of these series.

Remember to follow @DrMorayoJimoh for more interesting updates on understanding dyslexia throughout this month of November!


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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.