Dyslexia is defined as a brain-based disability that affects someone’s ability to read. People with this kind of disability read at levels lower than normal individuals with normal intelligence. This disorder varies from one individual to another. A common characteristic among individual suffering from dyslexia is difficulty in sound manipulation, rapid visual –verbal responding and spelling problems (Taylor, Smiley, & Richards, 2000).
Its etiology is elaborated below. Dyslexia probably has been present during history of mankind. This should have been way before the development of writing systems. The causes are not yet known, but many theories exist trying to explain the cause of impairment. Dyslexia is, not as a result of poor parenting as many think. Scientist believe that dyslexia can be caused by inherited factors or haring problems, although the causes are not yet fully known (Taylor, Smiley, & Richards, 2000). These hearing problems are usually at an early age. Let’s look at the inherited factors. Research reveals that the condition is frequent in families, and it is often accompanied by the art of left handedness in the family. It is not automatic that parents who are dyslexic will have children who will contain the same condition. It also does not mean that any left-handed child will be dyslexic. Brains of individuals having dyslexia have been scanned for research purposes. It has been found that there are bunches of cells found beneath the surface of their brains but found on the surface of non-dyslexic people’s brains (Bawkin, 1973). These cells failed to move completely to their designed destination during foetus development. The cells are called ‘ectopic’ cells. They are found mainly in the front and left of the brain. These areas are important for writing and reading and therefore, making reading difficult. The second cause in hearing problems, which occurs at an early age in children below 5 years. This occurs when a child suffers from frequent throat infection and cold, blocking the ears from time to time causing hearing impairments. This greatly affects the early learning of words and sounds which is actually very fundamental in language learning. Lack of clear hearing delays a child’s phonemic awareness which causes dyslexia if no corrective actions are taken in this early age (Bawkin, 1973).
There are various characteristics of dyslexia. These characteristics, however, can vary from time to time. The characteristics are very incontinence. Behavioral characteristics are highlighted below. One appears to be very intelligent, articulate and bright, but they are unable to write, read or even spell. This is at the grade level. They are usually labeled as lazy, immature, careless, dumb and ‘not trying hard enough’. Their IQ is high, but academically the tests are not good; written tests are performed badly, but they excel in oral tests. They also show poor self esteem and are easily frustrated and get emotional about school testing and reading. They are very talented in drama, art, music, sports, story telling, mechanics, building, engineering, designing or businesses. Getting lost easily, loosing track of time or often daydreaming is another behavioral characteristic of dyslexics (Bawkin, 1973). They learn the best through demonstrations, experiments, observations, hand-on experience and through visual aids. Another behavioral characteristic is difficulty in sustaining attention where they seem ‘hyper’. They are also prone to ear infections and allergies. In addition, their sleep patterns are either light sleepers or extra deep; bedwetting beyond the appropriate age; low or high tolerance to pain; strong sense of justice; strive for perfection; unusually late or early development stages; extremely disorderly and lastly symptoms and mistakes increase dramatically with poor health, confusion, time pressure, age and emotional stress.
The historical aspect of dyslexia is discussed below. As i mentioned earlier, dyslexia has been a problem way before the development of writing systems. In the overview of dyslexia history, we can have four stages. These four stages are however, not clearly differentiated, but they will allow us to review the historic events. The first stage is the origin of the impairment (Aaron, Phillips, & Larsen, 1988). It identified the very first subjects who had language and reading deficit. This lasted by the end of the nineteenth century. In between (1895-1950) (Aaron, Phillips, & Larsen, 1988), which was the beginning of the study, its characteristics and causes, was analyzed. This was the second stage. The third stage was the evolution stage which was between 1950 and 1970 (Aaron, Phillips, & Larsen, 1988). In this stage, the field of dyslexia opened up. There was a crop up of various clinics, educational approaches, and research was intensified. In the final stage, (1970-2000) modern theories have created a big foundation in our current knowledge about the impairment.
History about dyslexia development began about a hundred years ago in Great Britain (Aaron, Phillips, & Larsen, 1988). Scientific atmosphere at the end of the nineteenth century was very exciting this was due to intellectual curiosity, great academic culture, and practical resources that were pushed by the rising economy in Britain. Dyslexia development saw some light from the professional journals published by the scientists. The first theories were based on structural defects in the brain. An important figure in dyslexia history is an American neurologist namely Samuel Torrey Orton who modeled the evolution study of the impairment between 1925 and 1948 (Aaron, Phillips, & Larsen, 1988). He made some revolutions about the study of dyslexia to psychologists, educators and sociologists from exclusive field physicians, neurologists and special ophthalmologists as perceived earlier. This brought about new theories all about the causes and symptoms of dyslexia. These theories have different degrees in validity but they all try to define the cause of dyslexia.
Dyslexia has various implications has shown below. Dyslexics have difficulties in handling and processing both speech and written words classically. They also have problems in spelling and maths. There is also a big problem in organizing their thoughts on paper. They are easily distracted, focusing on one particular task is a problem, and processing of information from various sources is difficult (Aldridge, 1995). In severe cases, they have a problem in sequencing the order of ideas, time management difficulties, organizing their work programmes and written work. There are a few advantages of dyslexia which includes: artistic, creativity, good problem solving and three dimensional thinking by the dyslexics. The society has a misconception that dyslexics need to be assessed at regular intervals for the condition will eventually grow out. They do not understand that this is a permanent impairment. It is important to think of dyslexia in visual issues, auditory and motor functioning. In the workplace, there are implications particularly in regard to the performance of an employee. One is supposed to maintain accuracy in high levels, neatness and plan their work correctly (Aldridge, 1995).All of this is supposed to be observed, in order to realize the organization goals. This is difficult for dyslexics. This causes stress to the dyslexics and those working with them since they don not deliver and work as expected most of the times. However, the condition should not be a hindrance to employment, but there could be health, safety implications and care issues in some roles. In schools, dyslexic children usually feel lonely, isolated, and inferior. Teachers and parents often feel fatigued due to the extra effort they apply in getting the dyslexic children learn like the in Britain at the end of the nineteenth century others. Lastly, failure in literature and low self esteem portrayed by the dyslexic are some of the implications (Aldridge, 1995).