MISREADING DYSLEXIA SIGNALS IN SOUth Africa

Dyslexia is the most common learning handicap we know yet for some reason we ignore learning handicaps here’s a a story about how i realized our journey with aiding children suffering from dyslexia in south Africa. This article serves to not only bring awareness to dyslexia and remove this treatable

Imagine finding out that a friend of over 20 years, might have an all too common learning disability. Mmmhh let’s call him LEFA for the purposes of this article. I met LEFA in school in 1999 on his first day of school. He was 2 grades ahead of me. He could not speak English and could only speak Sotho and I knew how to speak Sotho. We were both then in the same transport and as the saying goes the rest is history.

Well not in terms of this article, let’s rewind back to 2019.

When LEFA and I were having our semi-annual meet up and while chilling as if we had just seen each other yesterday. I passed him my phone to show him a meme which was written in Zulu. He passed the phone back to me and asked that I just read it to him, I did and we laughed when I gave him the phone again to read another meme, although this one was written in English, LEFA had the same request. Now this I found peculiar because I knew that LEFA had made it to grade 10 and to get to grade 10 you have to know how to read, right?

Some of South Africa’s Adult illiteracy Stats

Please note that with these stats adults are categorised as anyone aged over 15. Now as much as most 15 year olds might agree with being categorized here I’m sure most actual adults will disagree but none the less I’m sure we’d like to hope that everyone over the age of 15 can read.

Over 470 000 people can’t read, this is obviously due to multiple factors and the numbers which are based on estimates retrieved from sources such as STATSSA, it’s still an alarming number. Now this is obviously due to various factors but we can’t deny that learning disabilities contribute to these numbers.

How we misreading dyslexia

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability affecting 3-7% of the population. That’s round about 1 in 20. Now how many classmates have you had over your schooling career? With me I know that its well over 20 but I don’t even know one person that suffered from dyslexia. It could’ve been one of those closely guarded secret, but in a school of 1000 that’s over 50 students,  so if I can safely assume that dyslexia wont be found in the chamber of secrets is it possible that we’ve been ignorant or unaware. So we just passed it of as he or she is slow, dense dumb or just simply not book smart. How many times have we ignored the symptoms and given up, how many times have we not known?

Above is a teacher’s guide to the types and symptoms of dyslexia. Now this is obviously not a diagnosis but we have also attached some screening tools and we will continue to build on that by adding more tools.

Share it with people you think might benefit from the article. Dyslexia is very treatable learning disability which should not stand in the way of anyone’s path to success.  

Here are some people that didn’t let it stop them from achieving their dreams

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