Friday, November 12th, 1999
© The Times of India
Thursday, March 4, 1999
By a Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI: Children who suffer from dyslexia, a learning disability, but are otherwise normal and intelligent students can over come the problem if they are encouraged by parents and teachers.
Experts made this observation at a workshop, “Growing up and Living With a Learning Disability”, organised on Wednesday by Educare, a non-government organisation engaged in providing quality education and clinical diagnosis and creating general awareness about learning disabilities.
Educare director Sunita Sondhi said the purpose of the workshop was to share knowledge with parents of children with learning disabilities as well as professionals.
Dyslexia symptoms may be categorised as learning symptoms, behavioural symptoms and general signs.
During learning a child with this affliction shows difficulty in reading, writing, spelling, comprehension and mathematical calculations.
Dyslexia is recognised by the World Federation of Neurology as “a disorder manifested by difficulty in learning to read, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence and socio-cultural opportunity.
It is dependent upon fundamental cognitive disabilities which are frequently constitutional in origin”.
The workshop was conducted by Bart Pisha, director of research at the Centre for Applied Special Technology (CAST) and Richard Wanderman, an educational technology consultant from New Preston, USA.
Both Mr Pisha and Mr Wanderman, who suffered from a similar learning disability in their childhood, were in the Capital to share their expertise of dyslexia management with professionals in the field here.
Mr Wanderman, who also maintains a site(www.ldresources.com) on the worldwide web devoted to learning disabilities advocated the application of computers in a variety of capacities in helping children overcome dyslexia.
He spoke on the uses of a computer, AlphaSmart, as a writing tool of special help for dyslexic children. It is used in classrooms in the USA. According to Mr Wanderman, while a child must be told of his or her learning disabilities, the child should also be told of abilities in other areas, where he or she can do better than anyone else.
Self-confidence is the key. It’s the parent’s and teachers’s responsibility to develop self-confidence in a child,” Mr Wanderman said.
So, while the child must be made aware of certain disabilities in his learning system, he should also be told that he is capable of doing many other things in a way just like anyone else, or even better,” he said.
Note: Bart Pisha and Richard Wanderman were sent to India by Ketan and Manish Kothari (two of the founders of AlphaSmart, Inc.) to speak to a variety of groups about growing up with learning problems and ways to deal with learning problems in school. This article was written during one of our stops in Delhi. The picture is of Richard talking to a small group of teachers and service providers in Delhi.