…written by Bunmi Onanaiye
As defined by the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5), dyslexia is an alternative term used to refer to a pattern of learning difficulties characterized by problems with accurate or fluent word recognition, poor decoding and poor spelling abilities, dyslexia is an acceptable, equivalent, alternative name for the conditions listed. In the western parts of Nigeria, a dyslexic child is often called ‘OLODO’ but without prior knowledge about this mental disorder in children, they are only referred to that way because they lack the intelligence and skills of other kids their age. Children like this are often cast aside by their peers or rebuked by teachers and parents through extreme disciplinary measures like spanking with wooden canes and verbal abuse. Of course, the issue of frustration comes to play when a teacher tries to pass knowledge to this class of pupils without them understanding the lessons been taught. The extreme measures would never be a cure for dyslexia, a disorder not even diagnosed yet as a result of ignorance to child’s psychological wellbeing in this part of the world.
Many educational bodies are unaware of Psychological and neuropsychological testing which should be deemed necessary to provide a better learning experience for students. The schools and other educational bodies with average awareness have ignored the severity of the issue terming it ‘the work of evil spirits’ or ‘white people problems’. It is very true western medicine has discovered a lot of ailments and disorders, termed them, given proper diagnostic measures and even treatments but we fail to understand they didn’t inflict these ill situations on us, rather, they brought discovery and solutions. For how long can we continue to ignore the possibilities? Until the adverse effects start to bite a larger percentage of our younger generation? I hope the next time you are about to beat up that child or verbally abuse him/her, you’ll consider this little conversation we’ve just had.