I was invited to be a Guest Speaker on Career Counseling by the school that once deemed me eligible only to graze cattle in the farm. Dyslexia is not a disease. Harindran, who was dyslexic but has overcome the disability of slow learning and has become a leading lawyer and an industrialist.
September 8th is the World Literacy Day. With an objective of eradicating illiteracy in the world the UNESCO organized a world conference in Tehran, the capital of Iran on 8th September 1965. Ministers of education around the world participated in the conference. There was an extensive discussion on the measures to eradicate illiteracy during the conference.
In continuation, on 17th November 1965, the day of 8th September was proposed to be the World Literacy Day. Based on the meet, measures have since been taken to emphasize the need to ensure basic literacy globally and at the same time extend support to those who missed the opportunity to gain literacy during childhood through informal education programs.
Literacy is essential for every human being. The great poet Avvaiyar said ‘Numbers and letters are equivalent to one’s eyes’, meaning illiteracy is mere blindness. But some students might spell words wrongly, however hard one tries to teach them. They will identify D as B; A as E. They will not be able to remember letters for long. This problem of learning is termed as dyslexia. The dyslexics will have a problem of not able to identify alphabets and spellings.
The one who was rejected by the schools where he studied because of the learning problems he had and was deemed unfit to study, has now been invited as a guest speaker in those schools. He is Mr Harindran. He shares his experiences and views with us.
“Many think that dyslexia is a kind of disease. It is not true. They are merely slow learners and nothing else. I found it difficult to read and write when I was doing 9th standard. I was hesitant to approach others and I would be mostly alone. Hence I was thrown out of my school.
Then my parents admitted me in a school in T Nagar that is meant for children with learning disabilities. The way of their teaching was commendable. They will never condemn a child as unworthy if the child is not able to learn. They will be kind enough to teach the child with care and respect. So, I was able to score more than 80% during my 10th standard exams. Today, I am an accomplished person with B.com and a law degree. Besides, I also conduct real estate business. There are more than 100 who work at my firms. Other than my business I also provide career counseling for school and college students. If they are properly taught and not considering them as patients the dyslexics could outperform the regular students.
Those who are having dyslexia are uniquely talented in a way. They cannot lead a saddled way of living. They will not be interested to continue a monotonous task. Many dyslexics, now, are thriving as renowned musicians, sound engineers, journalists and F 3 racers”.
Learning disability could be a heritable problem. It’s also neurology and psychology related. It is not preventable. It could be diagnosed only after the age of six. Dyslexic children cannot be taught the way regular children are being taught. It requires a multi sensory approach to teach them.
Multi sensorial method is an experiential way of learning through, touching, hearing, seeing and sensing through body. They can remember what is taught by way of this method.
Earlier, children were taught to write on spread sand or rice, by holding their fingers. This is called ‘Micro neural training’. Dyslexics should be taught by that method. Role of parents and teachers plays a key role in developing a dyslexic child.
The parents of dyslexics should find out the uniqueness of their children. They should try to arrange to training them work on their uniqueness. They should relentlessly encourage their children in order to nurture their confidence and assure a sense of security in their minds.
It is the responsibility of the teachers to inform the parents of a child if he or she is found to be suffering from the problem of dyslexia. At the same time those dyslexics should not be compared with regular children of the class. There is no need for special schools for dyslexics if they are treated with kindness and care in the regular schools”. This is what is suggested by Ms Harini Mohan, Special Trainer, Madras Dyslexia Association.
Eminent scientist Albert Einstein , Leonardo Davinci, famous painter Pablo Picasso, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Alva Edison , Boxing great Mohammad Ali, Hollywood director Stephen Spielberg, Novelist Agatha Christie, Henry Ford and Hollywood Actor Tom Cruise were all affected with dyslexia. The achievements of these people have transformed the world in many ways . If children affected with dyslexia are treated with proper care and training, they can attain the highest level in the society.
(This article written by R Senthil Kumar in Tamil has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)