Dyslexia, a disorder common among children in primary school, but little known

Dyslexia, a disorder common among children in primary school, but little known

Within the first program in Romania dedicated to dyslexia, "Go on reading", OMV, in partnership with the Romanian Association for Dyslexic Children (ARCD), carried out the first research at national level aimed at identifying specific aspects of this disorder, as well as its incidence in Romania.

"The research was carried out in order to find out the incidence of this disorder in Romania and among children up to 11 years old. At the same time, it aimed to identify the difficulties encountered by parents, educators and specialists in order to find the optimal solutions to come to support. thus helping the dyslexic child in Romania, "said Cristina Gulie, Research Specialist at OMV Petrom Marketing.

"This study was able to capture the reality we face in the therapy of dyslexic children. I refer mainly to the worrying low knowledge among specialists and teachers, identified in the qualitative phase and confirmed by the quantitative study. This underlines the need for training specialists in Romania and developing standardized tests to diagnose dyslexia, which are essential for the dyslexic community in our country, "said Eva Bartok, President of the Romanian Association for Dyslexic Children (ARCD).

"This national research is part of a larger OMV initiative, which included actions for the first time in Romania, such as the launch of, the information campaigns and fundraising campaigns carried out at national level, the specialized seminar organized in 2011 or the educational package offered free of charge to dyslexic children, "said Dragos Ivan, Marketing & Training Manager, OMV Petrom Marketing.

On average, in a year specialists see 650 children in schools and 75 children in the office. The study showed that approximately 1 out of 6 dyslexic children seen in a year in the specialist office are new cases of dyslexia. This may mean that the diagnosis is made more accurately than in previous years, or that the number of dyslexic children is increasing. Moreover, about 4 out of 10 children who are on the record of a specialist among those interviewed are dyslexic. Of these, 40% are between 5 and 8 years old, and 60% are between 9 and 11 years old. At the same time, the interviewed teachers stated that they have, on average, 3 dyslexic children compared to an average class of 22 children.

In the opinion of most of the interviewed teachers, dyslexic children need more attention than the other children. More than half of teachers have observed that their dyslexic students live with frustration or fear and more than half of the specialists believe that the lack of specific teaching methods and the lack of therapy can lead, in time, to self-isolation, lower self-esteem and discrimination of the dyslexic child. .

Although 80% of the parents interviewed go to the dyslexic child for therapy with a speech therapist once a week, only 28% go to the psychologist weekly and 12% do not reach a specialist at all. The main reasons for this situation are: lack of money, time and insufficient information among parents, as the study shows. On average, only 14% of the children seen by a specialist arrived there at the initiative of the parents, 42% were identified in kindergartens and schools of speech therapists and psycho-pedagogues, while 27% were sent to a specialist at the initiative of the teachers.

Therapy with speech therapists and psychologists is an important factor in improving the life of dyslexic children. The study shows that 60% of the dyslexic children on the list of interviewed specialists significantly improve their reading disorder and quality of life by the end of primary school. But, although 68% of specialists recommend that the frequency of therapy be higher than once a week, only 43% of them say that dyslexics even do therapy several times a week.

Currently, 63% of the dyslexic children in a specialist record have, besides the reading disorder (dyslexia), writing disorders (dysgraphia), and 45% calculation disorders (dyscalculia).

The results of the research revealed that the diagnosis of the dyslexic child is a challenge, because the child must be observed by a specialist for a long time. 8 years is the age at which specialists can say with certainty whether or not a child is dyslexic, although the predisposition to dyslexia can be identified from an earlier age (5-6 years).

One problem identified by qualitative research is that specialists avoid diagnosing cases of dyslexia. This may be due to the fact that there are no standard examination protocols and standardized tests for writing and reading. Also, this uncertainty can come from the insufficient degree of information stated by the specialists: 70% of them consider that they are somewhat informed about dyslexia, the methods of diagnosis and the methods of therapy.

Currently, there are no standard methods for diagnosing dyslexia in Romania. Among the specialists, the most popular method of diagnosing dyslexia is the tests, followed by the reading exercises, used by 20% of the interviewed specialists.

Only 13% of the diagnosed children that the specialists have in evidence have certified CES (special educational requirements) for this disorder. It offers the child, among other things, access to differentiated, adapted school education, and to complex educational, social and medical assistance for people with CES.

81% of specialists consider that integrating dyslexic children into primary education is the best education option to alleviate the symptoms of the disorder and to prevent the difficulties of social integration of the dyslexic adult. Thus, the dyslexic child should be accepted into integrative classes and supported to develop on the basis of their own abilities.

The dyslexic child also needs a personalized approach to teaching and evaluating results. This involves exercises with a lower degree of difficulty and more time on tests. 44% of the parents interviewed generally declare themselves satisfied with the support offered by the teachers, but there are also parents who are quite dissatisfied. Some parents say that in their primary classes their children are not given more attention and no specific methods of teaching and assessment are applied. Moreover, there are parents who argue that teachers consider children smart, but lazy, treat them as children with disabilities or marginalize them. This, in the context where only 43% of teachers consider themselves somewhat informed about dyslexia and the options available to support dyslexic children.

Moreover, specialists claim that the extra work is extremely important for the dyslexic child. In this regard, the quantitative study shows that 77% of the parents interviewed spend at least 2 hours a day to do additional exercises with their dyslexic children. Parents are optimistic about improving their children's dyslexia. Thus, 73% of them believe that this disorder will improve.

The quantitative study showed that about two thirds of the specialists consider that the methods of teaching and evaluation in schools are very little or not at all adapted to the needs of the dyslexic child, a confirmed aspect and half of the teachers interviewed. Furthermore, 55% of teachers say they do not have the resources to work with dyslexic children. On the other hand, more than half of the specialists consider that there are other obstacles regarding the improvement of the symptoms of the dyslexic child, namely: the lack of specific tools or support from the parents, as well as the lack of support from the state, through legislation.

Parents expect the education system to help improve their children's dyslexia: 91% of them consider integrating dyslexic children into primary education as the best education option to improve their long-term dyslexic child's symptoms.

In this context, the percentages obtained for the primary classes in the research may represent an indication regarding the situation of dyslexic children in the gymnasium, which this study has not addressed. The increased need for information among specialists, as well as the fact that only 15.5% of the Romanians have heard about dyslexia, may represent sufficient premises for starting future actions in order to train specialists and increase the awareness of this disorder among the population, in order to improve quality of life within this community.