Dealing with dyslexia

By admin
17 May 2014

Dealing with dyslexia can be a traumatic experience for children if not diagnosed and addressed correctly. But with the love and support of parents, this is by no means an insurmountable situation.

When Idols winner Musa Sukwene (26) was eight years old he realised he wasn’t learning things as quickly as other children at school. He didn’t know what was wrong and never felt different from other children until he was in the classroom.

At 12 years old Musa was diagnosed with dyslexia, which meant he was unable to read at the same pace as other children because some letters and numbers were switched around when he looked at it.

Although his parents didn’t fully understand what was happening at the time, they were supportive.

“My mother was a teacher at some stage so as soon as they told her she paid attention and that really helped. I have wonderful parents and they just made me feel comfortable in my own skin,” says Musa.

Musa could have gone to a psychologist to help him cope with his dyslexia but he chose not to, preferring to deal with it in his own way.

“I found solutions. I lived and breathed. I synchronised my life with music,” he says with a smile.

Musical notes made sense to him and he says although he isn’t as “fluent” as other people are musically, he can cope since his hearing is great.

“My hearing is beautiful and I look at words and picture them in my mind. I also have a very good memory so if I hear the lyrics to a song once I have already captured the song,” he says.

“Put yourself in a good space. Learn to lean on confidence and to believe in yourself. You are not sick and there is nothing wrong with you,” is his advice to others with dyslexia.

He believes the most important thing for parents is to pay attention to their child and not neglect their challenge.

“It is not a disease, nor is it a disability.”

Facts

  • Boys and girls are equally likely to be dyslexic although boys are more likely to get frustrated and display disruptive or aggressive behaviour.
  • The earlier dyslexia is diagnosed, the better for a child's development.
  • People with dyslexia are often creative thinkers who find solutions to intricate problems easily.

Possible symptoms to look out for

  • Difficulty sounding out letters.
  • Reading slowly.
  • Confusing different words.
  • Difficulty remembering something just read.
  • Being unable to combine letters and form a word despite being able to sound out letters.
  • Confusing letters such as “b” and “d” or “ue” and “eu”.
  • Switching letters around such as “tea” instead of “eat” or “78” instead of “87”.
  • Dropping letters or battling with sentence structure, punctuation, syllables and capital letters.

Top tips for parents

  • Help your child practise reading by finding books on subjects they’re interested in.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on them. Remember, they’re not doing this on purpose and losing your temper could make things worse.
  • Have regular meetings with your child’s teacher.
  • Get special help if they fall behind at school.

Here’s help

  • Contact the Tina Cowley Reading Centre in Johannesburg on 011-615-2026, in Witbank on 013-656-5748 or in Bellville on 021-919-5929.
  • The Pretoria Centre for Dyslexia can be contacted on 012-332-3734, or visit the website at audiblox2000.com
  • Call the Wise Eye Reading Academy in Bloemfontein on 051-447-3344 and ask about its colorimeter spectacles – which help children differentiate between letters – and its reading programmes.
  • The help centre for dyslexia in Bela Bela can be contacted on 014-736-3440.

-Shandukani Mulaudzi

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