Children with Dyslexia, a Specific Learning Difficulty that affects a person’s ability to read, write and spell are 3 times more at risk to commit suicide than children without Dyslexia, says the Project Director of Special Attention Project (SAP).
According to Mr. Richard O. Opoku, unidentified and untreated Dyslexia can cause serious psychological and emotional problems such as depression and anxiety.
“When dyslexic children repeatedly fail to perform in school, they feel frustrated, anxious and depressed. They lose self-esteem and sometimes reaches a point called real Cognitive Death, a situation where they has lost any motivation for learning,” Mr. Opoku explained.
The Project Director was speaking as a panelist at the First Annual Africa Dyslexia Dialogue under the theme: "Unmasking Dyslexia," held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Dyslexia Dialogue was organised by Dyslexia Nigeria to raise awareness about Dyslexia and renew calls on governments to fulfill their pledges on the implementation of inclusive education in mainstream education.
Mr. Opoku indicated that general lack of awareness and recognition of Dyslexia, as well as lack of inclusive systems in mainstream education presented a major challenge facing dyslexics from receiving the right learning support.
“The education system must seek other ways than reading, writing to assess children with learning differences like Dyslexia.
“Written examination was not the only way children could be assessed in school and determined to have learnt. If children can’t write, why can’t they speak and you assess them as Ghana’s Inclusive Education Policy proposes,” Mr. Opoku suggested.
With as many as 36 million Nigerians dyslexic, Dr. Adrienne Tikolo, Director of Dyslexia Nigeria said it was important that Nigerians discuss how to educate dyslexics to live more fulfilled lives.
Explaining SAP’s invitation to the dialogue, Dr. Tikolo said Mr. Opoku was invited from Ghana in recognition of SAP’s meritorious services and extensive work in the area of Dyslexia identification and support in Ghana and beyond.
“Your contribution on Specific Learning Difficulties was one of the most interesting talks at the Dialogue. It was indeed an honor to have you as a panelist at the Dialogue.
“We believe the knowledge you have shared will help immensely in the development of the education sector and better translate to programs that will help dyslexics. We look forward to your participation in future events,” Dr. Tikolo expressed.
SAP is the leading non-governmental organisation in Ghana working for the rights of children with Specific Learning Difficulties, such as Dyslexia (difficulties in reading and writing); Dyscalculia (difficulties in maths); and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).