October is observed as Dyslexia Awareness Month. It is a time to help people understand and appreciate the complexity of what has been described as the most prevalent learning disorder worldwide. Dyslexia affects a person’s ability to read, spell, write, and speak. While people who have dyslexia are normally of average (read regular) intelligence, they tend to have difficulty making connections between letters and sounds. Here are five facts about dyslexia in Jamaica.
- Dyslexia is thought to be a genetic condition that changes how the brain deals with information, and that it is passed on through families.
- Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in Jamaica. It generally starts in childhood and continues throughout life. Its severity can range from mild to severe.
- The sooner dyslexia is treated, the more favourable the outcome. However, it is never too late for people with dyslexia to learn to improve their language skills.
- According to a Gleaner article, symptoms of dyslexia include “delayed early-language development; problems recognising the differences between similar sounds or segmenting words; slow learning of new vocabulary words; difficulty copying from the board or a book; difficulty with learning, reading, writing, and spelling … not being able to remember content, even if it involves a favourite video or storybook; and problems with spatial relationships, which can extend beyond the classroom and be observed on the playground. The child may also appear to be uncoordinated and have difficulty with organised sports or games; difficulty with left and right is common; and often dominance for either hand has not been established.”
- There is no databank which disaggregates data on learning disabilities in Jamaica.