Health & Wellness Nigerian Rants

Dyslexia in the Nigerian society


You know that classmate in primary school who had trouble pronouncing words and we all laughed at, anytime she or he was called to read out loud from the English text? One of the famous member of the ‘Olodo’ or ‘slow learners’ club?

Or that child in Church who had trouble reading bible verses during Sunday school?

I was no saint but we were all wrong for laughing. That classmate of ours or that kid at Sunday school may have been suffering from dyslexia.

The parents probably beat the hell out of the child as many African parents are prone to do when they don’t understand why their child seems different. Without understanding that beating was not going to solve the problem. 

At some point, that child would have probably heard phrases like this, “you will end being a roadside tomato seller”,  or
 “when God was busy giving out intelligence, you were playing”, or
“I don’t know what I did to get a child like you”, or
“Is it not your mates that are reading, but no, your own is always different”. If you are familiar with how some people compare kids, you may have heard this one.

I read an article that said over 32 million Nigerians are suffering from dyslexia. The problem with data in Nigeria is that it is hard to obtain or non-existent. So this could be true or not. The number could be less or it could be more.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a reading disorder. It is classified as a learning disability. It is usually not noticed until a child is of school age.

 The onus is more on the teacher to notice early signs of this, but if you as a parent are involved in your child’s education as you should, you will also notice it.

At first degree, I read a bachelor in science education so I have a teacher certification but no where was I trained for this…correct me if I am wrong. Or maybe there is some training for those specially trained to be early learning teachers.

Cause of dyslexia

Dyslexia is caused by both genetic ( runs in the family and can passed down from parents to children) and environmental factors.

So some of those parents of children with dyslexia claiming, “when I was your age I was reading fluently” might have just been lying.

Did I say lie? What disrespect. I am sorry. It was a slip of tongue. Off-course, elders don’t lie!  They just maybe ‘skip’ the truth sometimes.

Dyslexia could occur in people with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). You know those children that have trouble maintaining concentration on something for a while, yes those ones.

Children normally have short attention span but in a group you might have noticed one or two who cannot even concentrate for a little while. They seem to be in a world of their own.

Let’s say they have been given a task to draw, and a specific object to draw on, you may find them instead drawing on the desk or even their clothes. They can even forget they were asked to draw.

Diagnosis and treatment

After a child has been tested to ascertain that his hearing is OK, she or he is getting the right age appropriate teaching, and his eyesight is good. Then the child can be tested for dyslexia by a licensed educational psychologist or medical officer.

It’s also possible for a person with dyslexia also to have trouble spelling, writing or even speaking.

Different interventions will be be carried out to help the child learn better.

And don’t worry, your child is in good company and will do great with the right attention. Just ask Albert Einstein.

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