New Straits Times Article

Copyright New Straits Times Press, Ltd. Aug 9, 2007

Coping with reading, writing issues

By Ellen Whyte

WHEN someone isn't doing well at school and they are putting in their best effort, everyone worries. Until just a few decades ago, kids who just can't seem to get a grip on reading and writing were stigmatised as lazy, slow, stupid, or handicapped. Today there is still a lot of prejudice, but thanks to better science and communication, we are becoming more aware of dyslexia, dysgraphia, Meares-Irlen syndrome and other conditions that affect learning.

There is no substitute for a professional analysis and treatment, but if you, a friend or a relative has been diagnosed with such a condition, there are some excellent Web sites that will help you understand more.

DYSLEXIA. Dyslexics have trouble recognising language, especially written language. Typical problems include extremely poor reading skills, a tendency to read and write words and letters in reversed sequences, reversals of words and letters when speaking, difficulty with sound-symbol matching, omission of syllables in multi-syllable words, poor comprehension in oral and silent reading and extremely bad handwriting.

Studies suggest dyslexia is a neurological disorder, or a brain wiring problem. While exact figures are disputed, research shows some five to 10 per cent of people suffer from dyslexia. the condition is inherited, and that boys are more susceptible than girls.

A special tuition can teach reading a writing techniques that help most dyslexics overcome these difficulties.

Visit the British Dyslexia Association at http:// www.bdadyslexia.org.uk, Dyslexia International - tools and technologies (DItt) at http://www.ditt- online.org, and Dyslexia Association of singapore at http://www.das.org.sg for details. some local contacts are listed at http://www.dyslexia- teacher.com/ malaysia.html.

DYSGRAPHIA. Dysgraphics have trouble writing, although they often read well, and might even be able to copy written work beautifully.

This rare condition often comes hand-in-hand with other conditions such as dyslexia, Attention Deficit hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism. It can also occur after an accident where the brain was damaged. Diagnosis therefore requires experts, as does working out appropriate treatment.

Because this condition can stem from various causes, treatments differ. Occasionally a doctor may suggest the best thing to do is to avoid handwriting altogether and use a PC!

For details, read the article from the West Virginia university site at http://tinyurl.com/yux8fg, Dysgraphia: Causes and Treatment paper at http://www.dyscalculia.org/edu563.html, and Diagnosis and Intervention strategies for Disorders of Written Language at http:// tinyurl.com/25f9x7.

MEARES-IRlEN SYNDROME. This unusual condition typically causes victims to have trouble focusing on print material, especially black ink on white, shiny paper. Their condition causes them to see the words "vibrating" or "sliding off" the page.

In severe cases, people with this syndrome might also have a restricted area of clear vision, and difficulty interpreting facial expressions and body language.

Treatment starts with a visit to an eye specialist who analysis the exact vision problem. The patient is then prescribed appropriate coloured glasses with tinted lenses and given vision therapy that teaches simple techniques that improve focus and concentration. Plastic see-through coloured overlay sheets are also a useful tool.

For a discussion on this type of therapy, read a summary article helping reading With Colour by Arnold Wilkins from the Applied Psychology unit, Cambridge at http://tinyurl.com/2f7ln2. Other useful Web pages include http://irlen.com and http:// www.irlen.org.uk.

FINDING LOCAL SUPPORT. If you are trying to find a local support organisation, try hati at http://www.hati.org.my, a non-profit information provider for Malaysian charities, nonprofit organisations and underprivileged communities.



WHEN someone isn't doing well at school and they are putting in their best effort, everyone worries. Until just a few decades ago, kids who just can't seem to get a grip on reading and writing were stigmatised as lazy, slow, stupid, or handicapped. Today there is still a lot of prejudice, but thanks to better science and communication, we are becoming more aware of dyslexia, dysgraphia, Meares-Irlen syndrome and other conditions that affect learning.

There is no substitute for a professional analysis and treatment, but if you, a friend or a relative has been diagnosed with such a condition, there are some excellent Web sites that will help you understand more.

DYSLEXIA. Dyslexics have trouble recognising language, especially written language. Typical problems include extremely poor reading skills, a tendency to read and write words and letters in reversed sequences, reversals of words and letters when speaking, difficulty with sound-symbol matching, omission of syllables in multi-syllable words, poor comprehension in oral and silent reading and extremely bad handwriting.

Studies suggest dyslexia is a neurological disorder, or a brain wiring problem. While exact figures are disputed, research shows some five to 10 per cent of people suffer from dyslexia. the condition is inherited, and that boys are more susceptible than girls.

A special tuition can teach reading a writing techniques that help most dyslexics overcome these difficulties.

Visit the British Dyslexia Association at http:// www.bdadyslexia.org.uk, Dyslexia International - tools and technologies (DItt) at http://www.ditt- online.org, and Dyslexia Association of singapore at http://www.das.org.sg for details. some local contacts are listed at http://www.dyslexia- teacher.com/ malaysia.html.

DYSGRAPHIA. Dysgraphics have trouble writing, although they often read well, and might even be able to copy written work beautifully.

This rare condition often comes hand-in-hand with other conditions such as dyslexia, Attention Deficit hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism. It can also occur after an accident where the brain was damaged. Diagnosis therefore requires experts, as does working out appropriate treatment.

Because this condition can stem from various causes, treatments differ. Occasionally a doctor may suggest the best thing to do is to avoid handwriting altogether and use a PC!

For details, read the article from the West Virginia university site at http://tinyurl.com/yux8fg, Dysgraphia: Causes and Treatment paper at http://www.dyscalculia.org/edu563.html, and Diagnosis and Intervention strategies for Disorders of Written Language at http:// tinyurl.com/25f9x7.

MEARES-IRlEN SYNDROME. This unusual condition typically causes victims to have trouble focusing on print material, especially black ink on white, shiny paper. Their condition causes them to see the words "vibrating" or "sliding off" the page.

In severe cases, people with this syndrome might also have a restricted area of clear vision, and difficulty interpreting facial expressions and body language.

Treatment starts with a visit to an eye specialist who analysis the exact vision problem. The patient is then prescribed appropriate coloured glasses with tinted lenses and given vision therapy that teaches simple techniques that improve focus and concentration. Plastic see-through coloured overlay sheets are also a useful tool.

For a discussion on this type of therapy, read a summary article helping reading With Colour by Arnold Wilkins from the Applied Psychology unit, Cambridge at http://tinyurl.com/2f7ln2. Other useful Web pages include http://irlen.com and http:// www.irlen.org.uk.

FINDING LOCAL SUPPORT. If you are trying to find a local support organisation, try hati at http://www.hati.org.my, a non-profit information provider for Malaysian charities, nonprofit organisations and underprivileged communities.

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