I could remember this scenario wide clear at the age of 5 while in Primary school and it went thus: Mr. Adeleke our teacher called out all the pupils in class to read; calling us by our first name till he reached a kid whose name is Fatai. Fatai was just a normal kid whose parents like mine were struggling to give us the best education they can. Mr. Adeleke was very surprised that Fatai could not read. He kept shouting and scolding Fatai as much as he can in order to read, but he couldn’t. What could have went wrong with Fatai? To me and to other pupils in class then, we thought Fatai was a dullard. We laughed at him for not being able to read.
This abuse continues with Fatai that his parents had to stop him from school. Parents who were struggling to pay school fees decided once and for all not to waste their money on the child whose brain is numb. Before Fatai was withdrawn from school, Mr. Adeleke would beat him, punish him and the poor Fatai couldn’t understand why he was suffering for what he is not guilty of.
Many years later, I met Fatai in a carpentry workshop. He is learning the craft of carpentry and he is doing well. I thought, well, maybe he is not interested in schooling in the first place. I was wrong. The problem with Fatai is dyslexia. Dyslexia is a disorder that makes reading or recognition of words difficult. Don’t get me wrong here. Not all kids that can’t read in the early stage of their lives are victims of dyslexia. Some kids need tough hands. By this, I mean discipline. But, after so much efforts and no positive result then you should know that dyslexia is in place.
How can we help kids with dyslexia? This is not an easy one, but we can still help them. Being dyslexic does not translate to not being creative. Most dyslexics are very creative and are very good at what they do. Parents and teachers should give kids with dyslexia their time in helping them to create strategy to improve their reading skills. They should let them study alone in a quiet place without distractions. They should give them materials like audio books while reading along with them. And finally, they should give them dictation by breaking the syllables in a simplistic way possible.
I hope this would help and stop our parents and teachers for punishing the dyslexics for the crime they are not committing.
-MOAB © 2013