By Zahavit Paz
It’s actually quite difficult to tell if someone suffers from dyslexia since the symptoms of the disorder can be confusing. To make matters worse, no two dyslexics manifest the exact same symptoms of the disorder. As a general rule, a physician should be consulted if you suspect that you or someone you know suffer from dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a chronic condition. If addressed with therapy at an early age, the chances for improvement increase tremendously. However, the condition frequently continues into adulthood where chances for its detection decrease dramatically.
In terms of recognizing the condition, though, you may wish to keep the following points in mind:
- Keep your diagnostic spectrum wide. Because dyslexia can take so many forms, don’t focus too narrowly on diagnosing one particular symptom. For instance, some dyslexics find written words are difficult to recognize and process. Some, however, can quickly figure out complicated formulas and commit them to memory. Both may suffer from the disorder, but in different ways.
- Remember that dyslexia is not a defect in vision or hearing. It’s easy to detect when a person experiences physical difficulty with vision or hearing; less so to detect when a person experiences difficulty processing what he or she sees.
- The symptoms of dyslexia and those of inner-ear imbalance and/or cerebellum dysfunctions are often very similar. Many patients suffer complications from inner-ear and/or cerebellum dysfunctions. In fact, a lot of current research has been geared toward discovering if inner-ear and cerebellum conditions are possible causes of dyslexia. Some dyslexics have experienced significant improvement when treated for these conditions. Consultation with a qualified physician is essential to determine the actual cause of a patient’s symptoms.
Dyslexia doesn’t affect a person’s intelligence.
Allow me to cite my own history on this point. Often, after I’ve told people that I’m dyslexic, they respond by saying, “But you speak so well! I would have never guessed in a million years!”
What these people don’t understand is that speaking comes quite naturally to a dyslexic. Reading, however, is a more complex process despite the fact that the abilities to read and speak arise from the same cognitive part of the brain.
What these people also might not know is that dyslexics are often developed excellent memories to compensate for their poor reading and writing skills. Again, I draw on my own experience. Before my disorder was diagnosed, I became very skilled at guessing the meaning of words’ from context – that’s how I got by in life. I would often confuse the pronunciations of words or misname objects – not because I didn’t understand their meanings; the words or objects had similar phonic sounds, which played upon my dyslexia.