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Dyslexia not a disability

Mon, 13 July 2015 02:57
by Juliet Anebe

A mother of a child suffering from dyslexia has embarked on a campaign to raise awareness of the challenges such children are subjected to.
The aim of the campaign is to lobby that children with dyslexia not be placed in disability centres, where their self-esteem is taunted by being labelled disabled.
In an interview with The Villager, Martha Khoeses described dyslexia as a disorder in the brain, and not a disability in the physical sense, with possible high IQ found in such people.
It is a learning challenge which affects the child in the areas of reading, writing and spelling.
‘’Dyslexia is not viewed as a disability, but a learning challenge. We don’t want our children to be labelled as having a disability because in principle, they don’t’’, she stressed.
 Khoeses said her son showed signs of dyslexia at an early age.
At first, she did not know that her son had the disability, and she only thought he was stubborn and did not want to study.
 However, two years ago, she opted to read homework and classwork to him, and realised that he could pass his school work. They later realised that he had a problem, and last year took him to an educational psychologist, and got the diagnosis.
She added that parents like her face great challenges because then they have to balance life at home. In her case, she had two extremely different children, one with dyslexia and the other an A class student. The situation at home was thus very difficult.
 She said extra care was needed for both children so as not to neglect one.
 As a mother, it put strain on the finances, as reading centres and psychologists did not come cheap.
According to a report by the United Nations Education and Scientific, Agricultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2010, out of a total of approximately 66 000 learners entering each grade, about 20 000 learners from Grades 1 to 9 drop out - 12 000 from the Primary phase and 8 000 from the Junior Secondary phase.
Dyslexia does not only impair reading and writing, it also affects a child’s social interactions with their peers, especially if left untreated.
It can further lead to low self-esteem, behavioural problems like anxiety, aggression and withdrawal from parents, teachers and friends.
 Evidently, learners with learning disorders have to be identified as early as possible, receive learning support and obtain special examination arrangements, as is their right, to optimally attain their educational potential.
Khoeses added that although Welwitchia School in Windhoek for integrated learners caters for children such as these, it’s very expensive and is not accessible or affordable for everyone.
She thus urged parents with such children to seek expert treatment and the use of computer????
 and coloured reading glasses to enable them to read well, especially if the background is coloured.
 She also called on communities and the government to intervene so that all children with dyslexia can have access to services like these at the grassroots level.