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DyslexiaDyslexia

The reading disability dyslexia is in no way associated with intelligence levels, but sufferers can fall behind at school and their education suffer unnecessarily if action is not taken.

Dyslexia, sometimes known as word blindness, is an abnormal difficulty with reading and writing. It results from a minor problem in the brain; either some parts of it do not develop fully, or there are a small number of faulty cells.

Dyslexics are not suffering from brain damage; this alarming term implies something more dramatic. Teaching professionals tend to use the term minimal cerebral dysfunction. Dyslexia is, in fact, fairly common; one child in 20 may be affected, boys more than girls, and it tends to run in families.

Although a relatively minor problem physically, it can create psychological difficulties. If they do not get special attention, dyslexic children fall behind at school, and tend to suffer from low self-esteem and depression in later life.

TYPES OF DYSLEXIA
All dyslexics have trouble reading. The condition affects the ability to recognize and understand words both long and short. Writing, too, is often affected, either because the child has difficulty in forming letter shapes or because the ability to learn how to spell is affected.

Some children also have trouble with arithmetic, largely because they have problems writing down figures correctly. They can often perform perfectly well with verbal questions, but when asked to write down the answer they jumble or reverse the figures or even include a completely irrelevant number.

In writing, dyslexics typically confuse letters that are similar in shape, such as d and b, or u and n, or are similar in sound, such as v, f and th. Words as well as letters are reversed, and sometimes letters are completely jumbled. When reading, they find it difficult to keep their place, and to move from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. Most children make these mistakes at first, but dyslexics go on making them.

EARLY WARNINGS
Potential problems can sometimes be spotted before a child starts school, Those who suffer from eczema and especially asthma are statistically more likely to be dyslexic, as are left-handers and those who show no marked preference for their left or right hand. Clumsiness and difficulties with the fine control needed, for instance, for drawing are other early warnings. Most pre-school children can at least write their name. Continuing problems with this suggest they may be dyslexic.

OUTLOOK
Dyslexia may get better by itself, because the brain finishes its delayed development, or finds another way of doing things, bypassing the brain lesions that originally caused the trouble. Even if this does not happen, with special attention and plenty of practice a dyslexic child can learn to read and write as well as anyone.

     
     

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