Dyslexia: A Worldwide Perspective
From research done in Ghana, Kenya, and Myanmar
Learning can be difficult, but having learning difficulties can make it much more difficult to learn
Michael Rubbaman ICM Development Officer and Business Development and Delivery Coordinator for Ghana
Do you know about Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is defined as a “specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin”(International Dyslexia Association, 2002). Dyslexia is characterised by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, poor spelling and decoding abilities. For those with dyslexia, speech development skills may not match an individual’s other cognitive abilities. This can lead to difficulties with sequencing, remembering, organising thoughts or expressing them clearly. It has been estimated about 10% of the Ghanaian population may have dyslexia (Kyere-Nartey, 2021). This indicates that over 3 million Ghanaians struggle with this learning difficulty. In addition, most people with dyslexia are not aware of it, because little is known about dyslexia in Ghana and those individuals are left unsupported.
In Kenya and Myanmar, there are private schools established to support Learners with learning difficulties and children with special needs. It is difficult to gather information on dyslexia in Ghana, Kenya and Myanmar due to the lack of national support for dyslexia awareness. Teachers with knowledge about dyslexia are sometimes challenged by myths and misconceptions that children diagnosed with dyslexia have below average intelligence; however, in some cases, these learners are often gifted and talented. Yet the lack of an environment conducive to learners with dyslexia can affect them socially, emotionally, and psychologically. Better awareness and knowledge about dyslexia can help the way children learn and feel about themselves.
Global Goal 4 is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (Global Goals, 2015). Therefore, education systems should also ensure that the needs of children or adults with dyslexia are met. In view of this, the rules of designing qualifications and assessments must be fit for purpose, comply with the conditions of accessibility (e.g., appropriate use of command words, language and stimulus materials) which aid Learners with dyslexia to achieve their academic goals and fulfill their dreams.
Support from The Institute of Commercial Management (ICM)
The ICM policy for Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration, in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; 2010 and the Equality Act 2010 recognises the needs of Learners with learning difficulties and coordinates with respective ICM Approved Centres to ensure that these Learners’ needs are met throughout their learning experience. ICM is working to liaise with Centres and organisations across Ghana, Kenya and Myanmar to provide training for lecturers/teachers in ICM Approved Centres, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to identify Learners with dyslexia. As part of this work, Centre staff are encouraged to provide conducive learning activities and environment to support learners with dyslexia to achieve their full potential.
Support from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
The following are Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and private international schools established in Ghana, Kenya and Myanmar that provide reliable screening centres, create public awareness on dyslexia, offer training to teachers, empower families and individuals with up-to-date information about dyslexia and develop new ways of helping children and adult learners access education and careers:
i. Dyslexia Organisation Kenya (DOK)
ii. Proficiency Education Company, Myanmar
iii. The African Dyslexia Organisation, Ghana
Dyslexia Organization Kenya (DOK)(2011) Dyslexia. Available at https://www.dyslexiakenya.org/ (Accessed: 03 Aug. 2022)
Global Goals (2015) The 17 UN goals agreed by 193 countries on 25 September 2015. Available at: https://www.globalgoals.org/goals/4-quality-education/?gclid=CjwKCAjwsMGYBhAEEiwAGUXJaYPiBrdsb65xuPd2Gt4oj1HrfMVzx8j9OnZtxG2QPe3wxSXDdzUmLhoCfRcQAvD_BwE (Accessed 26 Aug 2022)
International Dyslexia Association(2002) Definition of Dyslexia. Available at https://dyslexiaida.org/definition-of-dyslexia/ (Accessed: 02 August 2022)
Kyere-Nartey. R. A. (2021).What is Dyslexia. Available at: https://www.modernghana.com/news/1110680/dyslexia-in-ghana.html (Accessed: 02 August 2022)
Proficiency Education Company (2010) Proficient Education Centre Myanmar (PECM). Available at: https://mm.linkedin.com/in/pecm-proficient-education-centre-myanmar-982944166 (Accessed: 05Aug 2022)
The Africa Dyslexia Organization, Ghana (2020) Championing Dyslexia Awareness & Advocacy Across Africa. Available at: https://africadyslexia.org/ (Accessed:02 August 2022)