For the first time in history, Tanzania has observed the National Dyslexia awareness month to bring attention to this condition of learning difficulties previously unknown to many despite affecting a considerable number of people in the country.
Speaking at the climax event held in Arusha, the Acting Regional Medical Officer Dr Edna Chonge Ntulwe, revealed that many children are born with Dyslexia, a plight which primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.
“They are sometimes labelled as slow learners, but in reality these are children who prefer to learn differently,” Dr Ntulwe explained, adding that parents, teachers and guardians should take note of youngsters with such constraints and offer them special attention at home or in class during lessons.
It was revealed during the event that characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed and that usually Dyslexia occurs across a wide range of intellectual abilities.
“It is wrong to punish a child who fails to grasp a certain topic in class at the same speed with others,” the Regional Medical Officer added, warning that teachers who use canes to beat up such pupils will end up hurting them as it is something they cannot help themselves with.
Dr Paschal Kang’iria is a psychologist who explains that Dyslexia for children starts right in the womb, though it may take a while before the condition gets detected; usually it is after they start school.
The event was organized by ‘Dyslexia Tanzania,’ and one of its founders, Caudence Ayoti admitted that it took seven years before she discovered that her child was suffering from dyslexia.
“It was stressful, I didn’t know what to do until after prolonged research when it turned out that mine was not an isolated case; apparently there are millions others around the globe facing the same situation,” said Ayoti.
Johns Tenga, the co-founder of Dyslexia Tanzania, who is a tour operator said he has been compelled to set aside some of his earnings and use that to support the community through assisting people facing these types of problems.
Even though around 20 percent of the world population suffer from dyslexia, the condition is not hampering human development, because it is being reported that 50 percent of aeronautics in the United States were Dyslexics.
Professor Raymond Mosha who teaches philosophy and ethics said all that Dyslexics need is undivided attention in class as well as tailor-made and specialized learning; otherwise they are just normal people who can perform wonders, given the chance.