Living

Workshop

To some, the word "was" written on paper may appear as "saw."

The word "bat" may look like "tab."

It's something that happens often for people who struggle with dyslexia, a disability affecting as many as 1,700 York County residents.

Tonight, the S.C. branch of the International Dyslexia Association will host a workshop on dyslexia to help increase awareness and to promote the understanding of typical "warning signs" of dyslexia, when a child or adult has difficulty reading or spelling.

"Some people think you are not trying, you are lazy and you can't concentrate," said Susan McLeod, president of the association, who added that South Carolina does not recognize dyslexia as a separate learning disability. "Dyslexia is bound with a lot of problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A lot of people will think they are just learning disabled."

McLeod hopes to shed some light on the misunderstood disability in the workshop that includes a video about dyslexia and booklets filled with resources for those seeking help. A discussion will be after the video for visitors to share their stories. McLeod is not able to diagnose individuals who attend.

The most common cause of difficulties with reading, writing and spelling derives from dyslexia, and it affects people of all ages and racial backgrounds.

McLeod said today, children are being diagnosed with dyslexia more often than they were years ago because it is being closely monitored as soon as they begin kindergarten.

While teachers try to find a way to get the students with dyslexia comfortable with reading and writing, there isn't a cure to combat the disability. A person will be dyslexic for the rest of his or her life, McLeod added.

Some of those adults -- usually between the ages of 35 and 50 -- have sought help from the Rock Hill Adult Education Center, said Kathy Stanley, a staff member at the center.

Stanley said that while they do not have resources available to diagnose someone as dyslexic, often they find out during one-on-one tutoring sessions. Sometimes students will simply tell them they are dyslexic.

Stanley said they are able to determine if someone is dyslexic if letters are written the wrong way or jumbled on top of one another or if the individual reads from right to left.

Several strategies have been developed to help the struggling students with reading, Stanley said.

"We build review and reinforcement by using highlighters and covering up text in a book to let them read line by line," Stanley said. "The key is the repetition and the reviewing."

Stanley also said they teach the students that it's OK to use their index finger to follow the text.

While dyslexia can range from extreme to mild, it shouldn't put a damper on anyone's future.

Said McLeod: "Being dyslexic doesn't put limits on what a person wants to do. There are some dyslexics that are brain surgeons. You can do anything you want to do if you are dyslexic, but you need specialized instruction."

Tom Cruise, actor

Whoopi Goldberg, comedian and actress

Orlando Bloom, actor

Cher, entertainer and actress

Magic Johnson, athlete

Salma Hayek, actress

George W. Bush, 43rd U.S. President

Keira Knightley, actress

-- List from dyslexiamentor.com

Want to go?

n What: The S.C. branch of the International Dyslexia Association's workshop

n When and where: 7:30 tonight, York County Library, 138 E. Black St., Rock Hill.

n Cost: Free.

n Details: The workshop will help increase awareness about dyslexia and promote the understanding of some of the typical warning signs of dyslexia, when a child or adult has difficulty reading or spelling. For more information, call (410) 296-0232 or visit www.interdys.org.

Dyslexic celebrities

Tom Cruise, actor

Whoopi Goldberg, comedian and actress

Orlando Bloom, actor

Cher, entertainer and actress

Magic Johnson, athlete

Salma Hayek, actress

George W. Bush, 43rd U.S. President

Keira Knightley, actress

-- From dyslexiamentor.com

  Comments