Islamabad - Medical practitioners on Thursday called for creating awareness on dyslexia and educating the people on the interventions to properly deal with the affected children.

The practitioners said that dyslexia occurred in at least one out of ten people, which meant that in a world with population of seven billion, more than 700 million children and adults were at risk of life-long illiteracy and social exclusion. They said that 90 per cent of the students could achieve success if taught in regular inclusive classrooms with timely intervention.

They said that according to international statistics, fifteen per cent to twenty per cent of the children in each class had some form of learning difficulties.

It is estimated that approximately twelve million children in Pakistan are in need of help, said Dr Wasim Khawaja, a medical practitioner with the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS). He said that due to lack of awareness about dyslexia , maximum parents of dyslexic children were in denial while educational institutes were not dyslexia friendly.

He shared the indicators for parents including difficulty in rhyming, short attention span, confusion between left and right, and up and down, difficulty with buttoning up, colouring and cutting.

He advised the teachers to encourage families to get involved in life of their child, stimulate students’ motivation, empathise with children to understand their point of view and use multi-sensory methods to analyse the potential of the child.

Dr Sharif Astori from Federal Government Poly Clinic (FGPC) hospital defined dyslexia as a general term for learning difficulties involving reading, writing and interpreting words, letters and symbols, regardless of the general IQ.

He said that there was no cure because dyslexia was not a disease. He said that with support, proper instruction and hard work, many people with dyslexia could get successes academically and in their later lives.

He said that dyslexia was a life-long condition but intervention could have positive effect on a kid’s symptoms and outcomes.

An evaluation determines specific area of difficulty and disability. He said that it was very important that the child’s school or instructors were prepared to help implement a specific plan for intervention.

There are many specific reading approaches that rely on a multi-sensory experience to strengthen the child’s weaknesses while using his or her strengths, he added.