Fuelling the progress of children with Dyslexia through governing non-profit associations in India

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Who better than a parent to identify and understand their child’s struggles? Especially a child with dyslexia!

When a child experiences challenges in reading, writing and comprehending, it’s the parents who are the first to notice. However, it may not entirely be understood if the child is actually struggling with any kind of learning difference. Moreover, one cannot identify what one is not aware of!

With the establishment of specialised non-profit organisations, the awareness of learning differences like dyslexia is increasing. That said, over time and if one is keenly observant, the learning issue can be identified and corrective action can be taken.

In India, this process of recognising when a child needs help in these cases was most often treated from a generic perspective. The child was made to work harder at learning, often leaving them questioning their own inability to cope well in studies.

Dyslexia is known as the invisible disability, which is termed so because of how it stayed unidentified in many individuals. This was until the condition and its signs started to get noticed among children across India.

Dyslexia in India and its impact for higher education

Dyslexia is a condition that is lifelong and it impacts 20% of the population in India. When you look at the global statistics, 40% of the world’s self-made billionaires are dyslexic, yet 35% are likely to drop out of school, never pursuing higher education. Meanwhile, Dr Nandini Chatterjee, a Cognitive Neuroscientist, UNESCO MGIEP stated that early identification of dyslexia makes a key difference. That said, children must be assessed in their native language, including their second language whenever assessments are conducted.

Not-for-profit organisations were formed as a result of the lack of clarity on learning issues widely prevalent in India. For instance, the Maharashtra Dyslexia Association was formed by a group of parents and professionals with the aim to spread awareness about Dyslexia.

Similarly, the Madras Dyslexia Association was formed by, again, a group of parents, educationists and philanthropists with the objective to spread awareness of Dyslexia.

Furthermore, the Dyslexia Association of India (DAI) was established with the aim to help children with dyslexia lead a normal life.

Challenges faced by Indian parents of children with Dyslexia

With less information about learning differences, Indian parents of children with dyslexia were already facing numerous challenges.

A child who was unable to grasp any topic in a chapter as quickly as their peers did was considered intellectually ‘slow’. Teachers would deem them as the backbenchers who didn’t work hard enough. The other classmates would make fun of the student who was not the brightest in the class.

Parents in-turn would agree with the teacher’s assessment of their child’s low grades being the result of low IQ, and invest in expensive tuitions after school hours. Eventually, most students with dyslexia were made to change schools as they were considered unfit to learn by their teachers.

However, not many stopped to figure out just what the child was going through, or ask them about their challenges while learning. As time progressed and the psychology of learning differences was further studied, the need to spread awareness became necessary.

The formation and establishment of Associations for dyslexia

With the formation of associations for dyslexia in India, a new era was born where more and more people were made aware of this learning issue.

  • Dyslexia Association of India

The Dyslexia Association of India is a registered charitable trust based in Noida, India. The association is a non-profit Assessment and Educational Organisation that emphasises the needs related to children and adults with dyslexia. This also includes other special needs related to education throughout the Delhi NCR region and Pan India sphere. The association works towards helping families, schools and communities understand dyslexia, identify the early warning signs and take action for children who are displaying the differences.

  • Madras Dyslexia Association

The dyslexia association of Chennai, known as the Madras Dyslexia Association was established in 1992. It is a non-profit service organisation aimed at taking a pragmatic approach to nurturing children with dyslexia. The association provides remedial assistance and support to these children and their parents. They also help in spreading awareness to the community, helping schools to set up resource rooms and conduct teacher training programmes. They are dedicated to the cause of dyslexia and provide services in all the related areas that deal with this learning difference.

  • Maharashtra Dyslexia Association

The Maharashtra Dyslexia Association was established in March 1996. A group of parents and professionals got together to form this association and spread the awareness of dyslexia. This not-for-profit organisation’s mission is to promote the rights of individuals with specific learning challenges through diagnostic and remedial services, advocacy, research and capacity building. Their vision is to help every individual with a learning issue to overcome, achieve and thrive in society.

These associations offer workshops, training sessions, remedial programmes, library services and support for educational institutions among many other activities. More and more parents are making their way through the stigma of learning issues held by society for a long time. These associations provide a guiding light by spreading awareness, fuelling progress in the field of dyslexia and improving the lives of individuals with this learning difference.

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