In India, academics is considered a fundamental parameter that defines one’s career prospects and capabilities. Every child or young student is driven by the core concept of scoring high marks for progressing to the next grade, and ultimately progressing in the future.
Therefore, the need to achieve academic success becomes a priority in every Indian household. However, little emphasis is given to the method of teaching a child and identifying the child’s approach towards learning.
That said, every child is unique, which means that their way of learning new things, concepts, and theories at school will also differ. In the past years, this was rarely addressed by education providers or parents. Detecting Dyslexia was not really considered. However, nowadays, educators are realising the need to assess a child’s capacity to learn and grasp concepts, and thereby, formulate teaching methods accordingly. Furthermore, there are types of learners, like auditory, visual, kinaesthetic, and so on, and then there are learning differences, which require a great deal of emphasis.
Dyslexia is a learning difference experienced by a certain percentage of children worldwide. Its awareness has been gaining momentum, however, there’s still a long way to go.
Some children possess different capacities to learn, and in that there is a percentage of them who learn with the condition called Dyslexia. The awareness of this form of learning difference is gradually increasing in India. Educators are realising that some young students may be possibly struggling with Dyslexia. This differentiated learning capacity needs to be identified so that appropriate steps can be taken to help these children.
Therefore, understanding dyslexia in children is a matter of identifying whether or not they live with this condition. This is because, many children with Dyslexia have been labelled as dumb or slow learners, whereas the fact is that most of them are highly intellectual and intelligent students. It is only the difference in their capacity to learn which sets them apart from other mainstream forms of learning.
These days, more and more children are accessing education. That said, with the highly competitive nature of parents to have their children excel at school, the child experiencing academic challenges are often perceived as “badly behaved or hopeless”. In time, however, some students are identified with regards to Dyslexia, which helps them get the necessary help.
Yet again, there is the stigma associated with Dyslexia as being a disability. At the same time, many schools are still to provide remedial learning solutions for such students.
Research indicates that low-income students whose primary language is not English are more likely to be labelled with LD or Learning Disability compared to students from a high-income background. This finding suggests that the labelling was often dependent on the teachers’ subjective perception of a student’s academic difficulty.
Another research in India found that when government schools were unable to effectively meet standards of school efficiency, teachers began assessing a high proportion of students from marginalised groups as “failing”. In similar cases, many students hailing from economically and socially marginalised communities were perceived as weak, slow learners, or unteachable. This further made it difficult for these students to seek clarifications due to fear of being judged, or scared that the teachers would scold them, and peers would make fun of them.
Therefore, the government advocates that teachers help students with learning differences to overcome their challenges. Schools should provide these students with arrangements necessary like providing additional time for reading and learning. Adopting this practice will help teachers to efficiently detect any kind of learning challenges among other students and structure interventions accordingly.
The education system in India can work towards being more inclusive in providing relevant provisions for children challenged with learning issues. For instance, students should have the right to extra time for learning and an extended time period during their exams. It is important to understand that a child with dyslexia processes information differently compared to a child without any learning challenges or dyslexia. Therefore, in some cases, the child may require a scribe or a person who will write or type for them during the exam. This provision becomes essential as most exams in the country involve written examinations. Therefore, in order to elicit a fair assessment of these students, necessary arrangements need to be made. That said, some school boards and competitive examination boards have already begun providing these arrangements for the same.
More effort needs to be put in by the education system to be able to help students with learning disabilities. Educators and parents looking to help a child with learning issues can access our training modules, while also understanding Dyslexia in Children.