​Dyslexia


Dyslexia is a common learning disability. It may cause a child to have difficulties with reading, writing spelling and a number of other symptoms. Words and letters often appear to be ‘jumbled’ or ‘backwards’, even though dyslexia does not impact on vision, hearing or intelligence.

It is usually diagnosed at a young age, is a lifelong disability and can differ in degree (from mild to severe). If the disability remains undiagnosed, it often results in frustration at school, low self-esteem or even depression. Therefore the outcome of treatment is thought to be more favourable if the disability is diagnosed at a young age.

However, sometimes dyslexia goes undiagnosed at childhood and is only realized at a later stage in life. Yet it is never too late to acquire techniques to improve learning and coping skills if you have been diagnosed with dyslexia relatively later than usual.

Being diagnosed with dyslexia does not necessarily mean that ability to learn is below average. Conversely many people that are diagnosed with dyslexia are very intelligent. However, dyslexia may compromise learning as it impacts reading and writing skills to varying degrees.

Currently, there is no definite known cause of dyslexia. However, the disability is often found to run in families. Thus it is possible that there is a genetic component to dyslexia, which may be passed on from parents to their children.
  
There currently is no cure for dyslexia. However, most people with dyslexia are able to cope and manage their symptoms effectively, despite the difficulties that go along with the disability. With specialized educational programs, tutoring, emotional and occupational support, many dyslexic individuals are able to lead happy and successful lives.

     

The symptoms of dyslexia may sometime be challenging to recognize before your child starts school. However, there may be some early indicators that your child may have a learning disability. These may include:

  • Learning to talk relatively late

  • Learning new words relatively slowly

  • Trouble learning new nursery rhymes

  • Trouble playing games involving rhymes

The symptoms of dyslexia often become more apparent when your child begins school and starts to learn how to read. You or your child’s teachers may notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Reading ability significantly lower than the expected level for your child’s age group.

  • Reversing the shape of some written letters for instance “b” and “d” (e.g. writing “bog” instead of “dog”).

  • Writing “backwards” (e.g. “pot” instead of “top”).

  • Difficulty processing and comprehending what he or she hears.

  • Problems understanding quick instructions.

  • Trouble with remembering sequences or patterns.

  • Difficulty in sounding out the pronunciation of unfamiliar words.   

  • Struggling with linking letters and sounds

  • Difficulty spelling

  • Difficulty learning foreign languages.

Sometimes, dyslexia goes undiagnosed at a young age and is only realized once older or as an adult. Symptoms of dyslexia in teenagers and adults are similar to those of children, but may also include:

  • Trouble reading, including reading out loud.

  • Trouble with time management.  

  • Difficulty learning new languages.

  • Struggling with summarizing a story.

  • Trouble with math and struggling to solve mathematical problems.  

Although it is favourable for a diagnosis and treatment for dyslexia to start at a young age, it is never too late to benefit from treatment for dyslexia.  

If your child exhibits symptoms that are similar to those of dyslexia, it is not always necessary that they have a learning disability. For instance, many children under the age of seven tend to reverse their letters. However, if your child shows a number of persistent signs of trouble with reading and writing, and there is a history of dyslexia in your family, you should have your child visit a specialist working with the Children's Hospital at The Aga Khan University Hospital, to see if they have a learning disability.

If you are older and feel like you recognize some of the symptoms of dyslexia, you may wish to visit a specialist working with the Mind and Brain Service Line who will give you advice and guidance about diagnosis and treatment.

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

There are a number of different techniques and methods used to diagnose dyslexia. For instance, your doctor will usually begin with asking questions about your child’s development, educational problems and about their general medical history. They will also ask about whether there is a family history of dyslexia or other learning disabilities, as it is often thought that there is a genetic component to the disability. They may also ask about whether they may be a major life event, or if there may be any problems at home that could potentially be distressing to a child. They will also often question your child directly in order to get further insight of their struggles.

Your doctor may ask you, your child, your child’s teachers, or anyone else who might be close to you child to fill out questionnaires designed to provide further understanding of your child’s reading and learning skills.

Psychological tests are also helpful to a doctor to help determine a child’s psychological state and whether they struggle with social situations, anxiety, depression, or any other negative symptoms of dyslexia. Educational tests or IQ tests may also be useful for diagnosis in order to assess reading and writing skills.

Furthermore, your doctor may conduct a few neurological tests in other to determine if there may be another cause for your child’s problems, or is adding to their struggle with dyslexia. Thus they may take tests to examine their vision, hearing and brain.

After one or a combination of these tests, your doctor will be able to give a proper diagnosis and suggest a course of action accordingly.

Although there is no cure for dyslexia and the disability persists throughout one’s life time, there are a number of educational and interventional programs that can be very effective with improving reading, writing and learning skills. Research suggests that the earlier treatment and action is taken, the better the results of such methods. Involving your child’s teachers in the treatment process is also advisable, is order to lessen their struggle at school.

The amount and intensity of the program will vary according to the severity of dyslexia (mild to severe), and some children will need long-term assistance and support in order to learn coping strategies. However, most kids are found to respond well to such programs.

As an adult with dyslexia, you may struggle with work or employment. You should seek an evaluation and advice about how to improve reading, writing and other symptoms of the disability.

There is no denying that people with dyslexia regularly face challenges, however with the right treatment and support, even people with severe dyslexia are able to lead happy and successful lives.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
 
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
 
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.