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Mendez Susana (Doctor y Neurologist at Belgrano Hospital) Eventhough this seminar was not fully related with teaching, I believe that the topic discussed should be taken into account in every single classroom. Doctor Mendez explained that very well when she started with her presentation. She seemed really amazed when she found out that I was not a doctor nor a student of Neurology. She said ‘ ah this is going to be very useful for you , but even more for your students and your future ones.’ Right she was! The word ‘dyslexia’ means ‘difficulty with words or language’ she said. It can be related to many difficulties such as: Directional Confusion, Sequencing Difficulties, Bizarre Reading and Spelling, Late Talking or Immature Speech, Difficulties with Handwriting (the so called dysgraphia) and so on. She started explaining one by one and also provided many examples of each. She brought many written examples from children, young learners and adults who happened to have difficulties in their writing. It was really interesting to see the problems they had as regards ‘space.’ What I liked the most was her explanation on the different abilities a child should develop at a certain age. I really liked that ! Maybe, because it was like having a guideline of the development of a child! It went like this: • • • • • • 9 months : A baby should be able to understand simple words and commands. Around a year: he should be saying his first words. 2 years: he should have a vocabulary of up to 200 words, and be using simple phrases such as ‘drink milk’. 3 years: he should have a vocabulary of up to 900 words and be using full sentences with no words omitted. He may still mix up his consonants but his speech should be comprehensible to strangers. 4 years: he should be fully able to talk, although he may still make grammatical errors. 5 years : If a child talks immaturely, or still makes unexpected grammatical errors in his speech then this should alert the parents to probable later reading problems.
We also watched several videos based on dyslexia treatments for children and adults. The neurologist brought a video from the United States that showed how a teacher and the students (all with dyslexia) worked in the classroom with a tool kit that consisted of a kind of board with numbers and the letters of the alphabet. It was incredible to see how the children and the teacher worked together so as to improve their skills. Finally, she gave us a sheet with all the possible signs of dyslexia
• • • • • • • • • •
Makes up a story, based on the illustrations that have no relation to the text. Reads very slowly Loses orientation on a line or page while reading Mispronounces words, or puts stress on the wrong syllables. Reads only in the present tense although the text is in the past. Spells words as they sound Cannot write or match the appropriate letter when given the sound. Often ignores punctuation. Poor at copying from the board. Has trouble attaching names to things and people.
In all, this seminar opened my mind and made me realize that dyslexia could take place in my classroom and that only if I learn more about it, I will be able to detect it on time. We teachers care a lot about our students, and we care a lot about them when we realize that they have difficulties in their learning. That’s why I think that dyslexia is a topic that every single teacher should be acquainted with. I really enjoyed this seminar and I found it absolutely useful, interesting and enriching not only for my profession but also for my life!