BRONZE

DYSLEXIA : A DISABILITY OR ABILITY

To understand what is Dyslexia. To find the causes, types, symptoms and possible interventions etc. for Dyslexia. Also to meet some Dyslexics and learn more about this condition through them. To evaluate if Dyslexia is really a disability or an ability.
Arya Bhuyan Ayush Pant
Grade 7

Problem

 

Hello Judges and Viewers !

We often see people with some level of Dyslexia in our families, school or neighbourhood.

 

                        

 

In this Project we try to understand Dyslexia and find the answers of the following questions:

  • Is Dyslexia a mental disorder or mental condition? 

  • Is it curable?

  • Follow some famous people with Dyslexia and also some people in our neighbourhood with Dyslexia.

  • Can such people live ordinary life?

 

 

Hypothesis

At the beginning of Project, our hypothesis regarding Dyslexia is:

Dyslexia is related to the mind of a person. We know Dyslexics take longer time to read and write. We don't think Dyslexia is curable because you can not change anyone’s brain therefore such individuals will struggle later on and have difficulty leading a normal life.

 

 

Once Again. Welcome to our project

 

Method

To find the answers to the questions defined in the above section and to evaluate our hypothesis, we used the following main Methods in our project:

 

1. RESEARCH : 

a. Browsed books in the library

 b. Checked information available online in various websites.

   
     
(Please see our "Citations" section)

 

 

2. CASE STUDY: 

Interviewed kids having Dyslexia.


   
   
(Please see our "Data" and "Report" sections. Also see our Video) 

Research

What is Dyslexia


Dyslexia is a brain based learning disorder that involves difficulty in reading. Here individuals read at levels which are significantly lower than expected, despite having normal intelligence. This reading difficulty occurs because of the problems in identifying speech sounds and relating letters and words (decoding). 

        

  ♦ Dyslexic people are not able to connect sounds and letters properly. 
  ♦ More than 10 million dyslexia cases. It is more common in young age. 
  ♦ In America, 5 to 10 percent of the population has some symptoms of Dyslexia. 
  ♦ Kids with dyslexia have trouble in school because they lag behind other class mates.

 


Types of Dyslexia


1. Phonological 

2. Surface

3. Rapid Naming Dyslexia

4. Double Deficit

 

     
1. Phonological Dyslexia

Also known as auditory or dysphonetic Dyslexia. Phonological Dyslexia is the result of phonological impairment. This means that people have difficulty with phoneme awareness. Phoneme awareness is the ability to recognise the sounds of individual letters in a word and then blending these sounds into a word. For example.. Describe/Prescribe,   Specific/ Pacific.

 


2. Surface Dyslexia

Surface Dyslexia is also called as visual Dyslexia because these persons have difficulty recognising words by sight. Although Dyslexia doesn't have any problems with vision/sight but it is the way the person’s brain recognizes letters, words and numbers. In surface dyslexia people have difficulty reading the words which are spelled differently than they are pronounced. For example.. Yacht, Thorough, Subtle.

3. Rapid Naming Dyslexia

These dyslexics have problems rapidly naming things like letters, numbers, colours etc. when they see them. Their brain takes a longer time to process information and leads to slower reading. 

 

 

4. Double Deficit

A double deficit implies an individual  is coping with two forms of Dyslexia . The two types that frequently appear together are phonological and rapid naming Dyslexia. When a person has both types, it is known as double deficit.



 


Causes of Dyslexia

 

Structure of Brain 
Basically, Brain has three main parts- Cerebrum, Cerebellum and Brainstem. Cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and is divided into 2 hemispheres- Right and Left hemisphere. Further each hemisphere is divided into four lobes-frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe and temporal lobe. 
 

 


Brain with Dyslexia


> Dyslexics show disruptions in the left hemisphere which is critical for reading fluently.

> The right hemisphere of the brain shows more activation.

> There is also less gray matter and white matter which help with transfer of information of language (phonological  processing)

 

 


Cerebellar Theory
Dyslexia is caused due to mild dysfunctional cerebellum. According to this theory, cerebellum not only does the motor control during articulations of speech but also controls the atomisation of learnt behavior which includes grapheme- phoneme relationship when reading text.

 

Various Causes of Dyslexia
Dyslexia is usually linked with certain genes which affect how the brain processes reading and language.
Other common causes of Dyslexia are:

♦ Premature birth.

♦ Low birth weight.

♦ Exposure to  nicotine, drugs or alcohol during pregnancy.

♦ An infection that affects the brain.

♦ Individual differences in the brain which enable reading.

 

Complications of Dyslexia:

Trouble Learning: 

   Reading is the most basic skill in any school so a dyslexic person will have trouble learning and keeping in pace with peers.

Social Problem: 
   If dyslexia is not treated then it may lead to low self confidence, low self esteem, anxiety and aggression etc. Such people will also have trouble interacting socially.

ADHD: 
   Such children are at an increased risk of having ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). This can cause difficulty in maintaining and sustaining attention as well as impulsive behavior which can make dyslexia harder to treat.

 


Other Learning Disabilities with Dyslexia:


These may also occur with Dyslexia, but they are not Dyslexia, for example:

♦ Dyscalculia: Difficulty with math and all symbols.

♦ Dysgraphia: Difficulty with writing. 

♦ Left and Right Confusion: When individual has inconvenience differentiating right from left. 


Interventions

 


Once Dyslexia has been diagnosed after a professional evaluation, then a proper intervention and support can lead to improvements.
Interventions could be:


♦ Guidance and Counselling:  Continuous support and guidance will have a positive impact on the self esteem of these individuals.
 

♦ On Going Evaluation:  Will help to continue developing the coping strategies and identifying the areas where additional support is needed.

 


 

Data

 

SYMPTOMS OF DYSLEXIA

 

Stage

Symptoms

Before School 

• Late talking.
• Problem forming new words.
• Learning new words slowly.

School Age 

• Reading below the expected level/age.
• Problem understanding and processing.
• Avoiding activities including reading.
• Difficulty spelling.
• Difficulty figuring the differences and  similarities between letters and words
• Mispronouncing names of people, places, and things.

Teenage and Adults 

• Difficulty reading aloud.
• Spelling issues.
• Slow reading and writing.
• Difficulty memorizing. 

 

 


Famous People with Dyslexia 

 

There are many famous people in current times and in history, which suggest that Dyslexia is an advantage, atleast for some. 

Some of them are listed below:


 

Albert Einstein

Tom Cruise

Thomas Edison

Jim Carrey

Walt Disney

Cher

Mohammad Ali

Leonardo da Vinci

 

 


Case Study

 

As a part of our project, we had a meeting with two students in Calgary, who have Dyslexia.

NAME AGE PICTURE
CHANNING 9 Years
EVEY 12 Years

FolLowing tools were used to collect information about these girls:

  • Interview

  • Questionnaire

See our Reports section for the Questionnaires filled by them.

See our Presentation video for their interviews.

 

   

 

 

We found that these girls realise that they have some issues due to their Dyslexia, however they are very enthusistic and positive about themselves. Also, they are somewhat creative and have some artistic hobbies.
 

 

Conclusion

 

In our research we found out that people having Dyslexia usually rely on the right side of their brains more than normal. The left side of our brain handles the language and ability to read and write and basically decode language. The right side of our brain focuses more on pastimes like art and is where people get their creativity. 
Some people just grow up using their brain differently and use one side of their brain more, and this is why they usually struggle in school. 

In conclusion, dyslexics aren’t dumb. The majority of famous or successful people are dyslexics. 
Dyslexia is a neurological and often genetic condition. It is not the result of poor teaching or upbringing. Therefore early intervention- early diagnosis, proper guidance and support can reduce the impact of Dyslexia.

 

 

Acknowledgement

We wish to sincerely thank our science teacher Ms Alexis Watson who is also our project coordinator with CYSF, for the great help provided to complete this project and keep it on track. Ms Watson informed us about all the CYSF guidelines regarding project preparation and submission, through regular updates and  meetings.

We are very thankful to Evey, Channing and their moms who gladly participated in our case study and shared all the information about themselves.

We also want to acknowledge all the great help and support by our parents and sister to put this project work together !