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Dyslexia: How Can We Help Our Children?

Photo: I. Alix


Dyslexia is a neurobiological disorder specific to phonological decoding (reading accuracy) and recognition of words (speed and reading fluidity) that interferes with the academic performance of children. Currently, since there is an estimated 40% of fraternal recurrence, genetics and inheritance are casually hypothesized as the primary causes. In addition, through neuroimaging techniques, differences were found between brains with and without dyslexia in areas related to the ability to read.

Comorbidity with other disorders is high, so it is common to also find problems in writing (dysgraphia, dysorthography), mathematics (dyscalculia), coordination (dyspraxia), attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, as well as emotional and behavioral disorders. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment is imperative.

The main symptoms of dyslexia are:

In early childhood:

  • Difficulty learning new words.
  • Difficulty recognizing letters and how they match with their sounds.
  • Difficulty eliminating the beginning sound of a word.

In school-age children:

  • They do not recognize familiar words at a glance.
  • They often forget how to write many words that they have studied.
  • They make a lot of spelling mistakes.
  • They confuse letters, either by repeating, adding, or eliminating them.
  • They need to reread texts in order to understand them.
  • Their reading level is much lower when compared to their speaking.

As parents, how can we help them?

  • It is fundamental that your little one knows what is going on and for you to talk to them about it, explaining and resolving any doubts or questions they may have.
  • Get in contact with their school to facilitate adaptations in their curriculum.
  • Use alternative methods of learning, such as audiovisuals, to help them learn their lessons from school.
  • Create a reading space. Put aside a time every day where you can read with your child, each of you taking turns reading a page.
  • Support your child on an emotional level. Always use reinforcement to praise their effort and ability to overcome.
  • Use models. Having dyslexia does not mean ”failure” in their adult life, just that they need to look for alternative routes to the conventional. There are many celebrities that, despite their dyslexia, have gone on to have very successful careers.

“Dyslexia is not a pigeonhole to say you can’t do anything. It is an opportunity and a possibility to learn differently. You have magical brains, they just process differently. Don’t feel like you should be held back by it.” – Princess Beatrice of York

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