LAGOS – The Labisi Ayoku Foundation (LASAF), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has said that many children of school age may end up as drop-outs because they were suffering from word blindness or ‘dyslexia’.
Mrs Labisi Ayoku, the founder of the foundation, disclosed this to newsmen yesterday in Lagos.
She said that if the deficiency was not tackled by parents and teachers early in the lives of pupils and children, it could lead the country to recording more educationally-disadvantaged children.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines dyslexia as a neurologically-based condition, which is often hereditary and affects reading, writing and spelling, among children.
It is usually associated with difficulties in concentration, short term memory and organization, among children of school age.
This deficiency is found to be the most common language learning disability as the brain of the affected child cannot translate images received from the eyes or ears to understandable languages, WHO said.
According to Ayoku, children suffering from dyslexia are usually frustrated and eventually dropout from schools due to poor management.
She alleged that dyslexia had been one of the major factors responsible for the high rate of dropouts of children from schools in the country.
Ayoku said that children suffering from dyslexia were usually very intelligent but they become frustrated due to difficulty in reading, learning and writing.
As a result, they would be avoiding schooling, she said.
“Children who suffer from this condition may also have difficulty in copying from the chalk boards or text books.
“The child may not be able to remember the content of his or her storybook; such a child may also be uncoordinated when playing with other children, during organised sporting activities.
“Most children suffering from this problem usually dropout of school in Primary Four, if the situation is poorly managed.
“Most times, teachers, parents and pupils may not recognize this condition in the early years of the children’s schooling,’’ she said.
Ayoku also said that children with dyslexia could develop psychological and emotional problems which could lead to sadness, lack of self- confidence and reduced self esteem at tender age.
“The motive for going to school reduces and the academic future of such child may be compromised,’’ she said.
She said dyslexia was not a health related deficiency.
It is caused primarily by the impairment in the child’s brain’s inability to translate the image it received through eye-contact or the ears into understandable language in the brain, she said
‘’It could also be transmitted genetically from either of the parents to their children,’’ Ayoku said.
She said that parents and teachers could detect dyslexia through a careful observation of their pupils and children.
The LASAF founder said that the awareness of dyslexia in Nigeria was still poor, adding that was why her NGO had been creating awareness and enlightenment in schools in Lagos.
She advised parents and teachers to be conscious of the existence of dyslexia in their pupils and children early in life, so that it would not pose a serious threat to their academic pursuit in later years.
Ayoku also suggested that teachers and parents should always apply reinforcement strategies that could elicit self-esteem, love and responsibility, among children.