Every person has things they do with ease which become a preference because of the innate ability to understand certain fields better than others hence, the inclination to explore the preferred field against the other. The interest to explore another field from the preferred becomes low because of a disability to explore it. The person’s natural inclination with directives from the brain prefers a field against the other. Specialisation is natural and divinely determined from which comes the saying; ‘a Jack of all trades is a master of none’.
Every human naturally has an inability, hence, can only be good at something/s but not all. In a way, the inability to master something/s is a disability in the brain leading to preferring a certain field against the other making you a Jack of a specific trade and a master of it. It is the disability in one field that makes you a master of another. Specific parts of the brain, for every person, will develop dependence on exposure or nurturing. Every human can be a master at something if only it is identified and explored to the fullest. It is disability that makes every child, youth and adult flourish at something against the other.
The most prolific inventor in history, developer of light bulb, phonograph and motion picture camera was dyslexic. His teacher sent the following note home with him when he was six years of age: “he is too stupid to learn.” (The British Dyslexia Association) Children and youth in our homes, schools and communities who do not meet set standards of excellence are therefore not ‘stupid’ but require different methods to convey information to them. The difference between people is the speed at which information is processed. People comprehend information in varying proportions.
However, there is information processing disorder which does not imply that the person is less intelligent but requires suitable methods to convey information to them. Unfortunately, the traditional and formal education systems do not devise means of efficiently communicating to all categories, but instead, brand them ‘below average’ or ‘stupid’. The challenge is in setting standards suitable for the majority forgetting that the majority means there exists minority, for, even among the majority, the majority are not uniform.
I remember him for his prominent song welcome to Miami because of its memories of the beaches I chilled out on while in Florida. The journey though, like many others has not been easy for Will Smith. Due to dyslexia, reading and writing were his struggles as a child. He did not go without the mockery of teachers and bullying of students due to his poor grades. That pushed him to start on a life career that has been successful but, should not be the path for everyone because others may be dumped far down the bin to rise up again.
Information processing disorders include: Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and dyslexia. Of all, dyslexia is unique; children and adults with it are generally normal in all aspects besides difficulties in spelling, reading and writing. Adults, children and youth with this condition have been dumped in family corners, class rooms and out skirts of communities due to their unique- uniqueness in processing information different from the rest. The problem is with those incapable of understanding them, latter branding them as ‘stupid’, a virus nurtured by an ‘all-should-fit-in’ education, family and community system. To identify children and adults with dyslexia takes careful monitoring and interest to tell the symptoms. Centres inclined to addressing special needs can be of help though few exist in Uganda.
Steven Paul Jobs (dyslexic) was an American entrepreneur, inventor and industrial designer. He was co-founder of Apple Inc. and doubled as its Chief Executive Officer. He got several Awards: Grammy Trustees 2012, Bravo Otto- Social Media Star 2011, PGA Vanguard 2002, Samuel S. Beard Award for Outstanding 1987, National Medal of Technology and Innovation 1985.According to the International Dyslexia Association, ‘Dyslexia is a neurologically-based, often familial, disorder which interferes with the acquisition and processing of language’. Dyslexia is a condition with multiple wide ranging reading and non-reading signs. Those with learning and attention disorders often develop a low self-esteem because of mockery, ridicule and bullying. In America, about 40 million children and adults suffer this condition but, only 2 million are aware they do.
In Uganda, the number is not known; it may even be affecting half the population. Probably, the poor reading culture is a result of this, though not investigated. Low capacity information processing disorder can be compared to personality types; it is not curable but manageable. Some popular people the World has known like Albert Einstein, Tom Cruise, Pablo Picasso, Muhammad Ali, Steven Spielberg, Henry Winkler, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Richard Benson among others were dyslexics.
As a parent, you may be frustrated because of children repeating classes year after year because of ignorance. When it occurs, those who believe in witchcraft or voodoo, neighbours and relatives are accused out of malice and ignorance. Unfortunately, not many personnel in the education sector are of help either. These are the students silently suffering in our homes, schools and communities. Low grades often lead to dropping out of school as frustration mounts year in year out. Potential and destinies of gifted dyslexics (people with dyslexia disorder) are blocked, often resorting to dead-end occupations for life.
Nick named sister act because of a role in one of the films, she is among a few celebrities honoured in the World with an Emmy, Tony, Oscar and Grammy awards for being an actress, songwriter. She views dyslexia as an advantage to excellence: “The advantage of dyslexia is that my brain puts information in my head in a different way.” “The challenge will always be how we see ourselves, not as folks with a handicap, but folks with an interesting perspective on everything.” – In an interview with Quinn Bradlee of Friends of Quinn. Dyslexics’ processing information differently does not denote being less intelligent. Because some people with dyslexia write words in reverse for example a P to mean a 9 or write the word problem as melborp, they are given writing guides. This is natural and is acceptable by Uganda National Examination Board. Albert Einstein was a dyslexic of that type. Children with such challenges should be taken to schools tailored to their specific needs. The public education system is not a suitable match. Just because they read at a slow pace and write uniquely is no reason to dump a person in the bin, tagged “useless”. While it may be tasking, it is important as a parent to hold your child by the hand and not join the alienating group. If Steve Jobs had been ignored, the World would have missed great inventions. Where have you dumped the Warren Buffet of the time?
How many have you eliminated from school, or not taken to school or, chased from programs because they did not suit the conventional standards. Sometimes, it is as simple as challenging your opinion but, judgment is passed before understanding; the conformity syndrome- the mother of Ugandan and African intellectuals that do not think outside the box. “Gifted” versus “ungifted”, we are unable to predict which child with which gifts will evolve into the Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and … of the time. How will the Okot p’Bitek’s and Chinua Achebe’s of the time come through? Support those who think differently and together make a strong team for the betterment of the World.
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