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27 May 2018, Edition - 1048, Sunday

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Coimbatore

Parents advised not to pressure children with SLD

Prasath Selvaraj

Exerting pressure and discouraging children with specific learning disability (SLD) for not being active in studies can make them anti-socials and even cause mental health problems, says child educational psychologist at Mnemonic Centre for Learning Enrichment V Sukumar.

Dyslexia is an inborn disability among children and is now called SLD. It is a disability seen in academic performance of children who struggle when it comes to learning, reading or writing.

According to a study in 2012, 15 per cent of children in the world have SLD and cannot be cured completely. But with early screening, children can be trained to overcome their disability. It can be cured only with continuous therapy and not medication.

Sukumar says that without consulting a psychologist, many parents and even teachers are not aware of the disability among their children. Instead of providing them proper care, these children were subjected to extra burden in the form of tuition and making them memorise portions without making them understand what they mug up. As a result, many lag in some skills, drop out from school and could turn into anti-socials, he warns.

To prevent SLD turning severe, children should be screened in between 3 and 7 years. Some of the symptoms include not crawling, speech delay and confusion between letters like b and d. Every child in initial stages of learning will face these kinds of symptoms but the frequency of showing these symptoms in children with SLD will be more.

The intelligent quotient (IQ) for normal children will be 90-109, slow learners 70-80 and mentally retarded 60. Many teachers in the schools consider slow learners are affected with SLD which may not be the case, he adds. Some may be found lagging in some of the skills for example: one student will be poor in Mathematics and will be good at all the other subjects.

“The government gives exemption and special concession for the children affected with disorders like neurological disorder, mentally retarded, physically challenged, visually challenged, deaf and mute and dyslexia. In that they can have scribe, additional one hour in exam, use calculator and log books for mathematics exam and even exemption in not writing the subjects which they are lag in,” he added.

These concessions can be obtained after getting the medical examination certificate from the district medical officer. This is not known to many teachers and even medical practitioners.

Sukumar said that due to commercialisation of education and all-pass system till eighth grade, the symptom for SLD in children is not known.