Living With Dyslexia: How It Can Impact Your Life
“Dyslexia” is a general term that refers to any disability that limits your ability to read or comprehend language while not affecting intelligence. Dyslexia is the most common learning disorder, affecting upwards of 15% of people in North America. Part of what makes the issue of dyslexia so pressing, however, is how hard it is to identify and compensate for – only one out of twenty people with dyslexia are properly diagnosed and receive help. Since dyslexics do not outwardly exhibit any symptoms, many people with the disorder do not even realize they have it. They may have trouble in academics and not understand why when, in fact, all of that trouble is unnecessary should the proper preventative measures be taken.
Can Dyslexia Be Cured?
Unfortunately, no, the aforementioned preventative measures for dyslexia do not entail an actual cure for the disorder. Medically, there is little or nothing that can be done to even treat dyslexia. In terms of providing tutoring and specialized learning assistance, however, the possibility of a person with dyslexia living up to their full academic and professional potential is very good. Academic success generally leads to success in social and professional environments as well, because a heightened capacity for language cognition and discourse often leads to increases in self-confidence, productivity, and overall happiness.
What is the Best Way to Aid in the Academic and, Therefore, Overall Success of Someone With Dyslexia?
It is very easy to receive personalized aid for dyslexia once the disorder is identified and the proper parties are notified, but therein lies the problem. Many families with a dyslexic child, even if they suspect he or she is dyslexic, do not know how to proceed from there.
Diagnosis – The first step in helping someone overcome the obstacles put forth by dyslexia is definitively identifying the problem. This means not only finding out for certain that the person is dyslexic, but also finding the specific areas that case of dyslexia affects. Since dyslexia is so common, general practitioners nearly always know the signs to look for to tell if a patient likely has dyslexia. If the patient does indeed show signs of the disorder, the general practitioner will be able to refer you to a private service where tests can be performed to determine the exact nature of the dyslexia. These tests very rarely involve any medical procedures, and they will instead involve activities such as reading a story and retelling it or playing word games that test both written and spoken language reception and retention. The specialist who performs the tests will afterwards write up a report detailing exactly what aspects of the afflicted person’s performance the dyslexia affects.
Notification – Obtaining a report that identifies the exact nature of the dyslexia is only the first step towards receiving aid, and the report is essentially useless if it is not presented to the proper parties. Since dyslexia is a condition that can primarily affect performance in school and work settings, any academic or professional institutions the dyslexic person even thinks about enrolling in or applying to should be notified and shown the report as quickly as possible.
Treatment – Federal law stipulates that schools must provide dyslexic students with an individualized education program (IEP) tailored specifically to that student. The law has been in place for 40 years, so the process is streamlined and effortless. Together with the teacher and school councillors or special education teacher, the afflicted person will create a learning plan that takes into account the specific nature of the disability discussed in the report to devise the most effective possible teaching methods, as well as lay out specific learning goals and objectives. The plan is re-evaluated and revised once a year to keep up with the learner’s progress.
The law is also very accommodating of dyslexics in the workplace. The Supreme Court has ruled that “reasonable accommodation” must be provided to dyslexic workers. This is especially helpful in situations such as interviews, hiring exams, or work run on short deadlines, all situations in which the dyslexic person has to communicate (either orally or via writing) within a time limit. Accommodations such as alternative testing methods, easier-to-read texts, altered testing materials, and personalized linguistic support are common in the workplace.
It is of the utmost importance that the disorder be properly diagnosed and that the nature of the dyslexia be made known. This will allow the dyslexic person to tap into the vast pool of legally enforced assistance waiting for him and, ultimately, live up to his full academic and professional potential. As mentioned above, many dyslexics are never diagnosed, but even those that are do not always seek help because they do not want to make it known that there is something “wrong” with them. The truth is, dyslexia, a naturally occurring and extremely common condition, is perfectly normal.
Are There Any Other Ways to Receive Help for Dyslexia?
Even apart from the legally mandated aid, people tend to be extremely accommodating of such a common malady, making it extremely easy and painless to receive assistance. There are even entire organizations dedicated to aid dyslexics in dealing with obstacles their disorders present. Several organizations to be aware of are detailed below:
- Canadian Dyslexia Association – This organization is dedicated to researching dyslexia and delivering its results, free of charge, to dyslexics everywhere. They strive to promote awareness of the disorder and the methods used to counteract its effects with the mission of getting as many dyslexic Canadians as possible to take advantage of the help available all around them. The organization also hosts free seminars, forums, and classes to provide information on dyslexia and emotional support for those with dyslexia and their families. SEE WEBSITE HERE
- International Dyslexia Association – The IDA, a non-profit charitable organization, is a goldmine for those seeking information about helpful resources regarding dyslexia. The organization spreads awareness by publishing a newsletter, organizing seminars with knowledgeable speakers, and responding to general public inquiries regarding dyslexia. It is also a great place to contact if you are looking for a tutor who specializes in catering to a dyslexic person’s needs. SEE WEBSITE HERE
- Dyslexia Resources Canada – This organization takes more of a proactive approach than the CDA or IDA by organizing classes based on the Davis Dyslexia Correction program. The program is exclusive to the organization and includes an assessment, an intensive week-long one-on-one class tailored to the individual’s needs, a support seminar for the dyslexic person and his family, and follow-up support sessions as needed. The program addresses the nature of the particular case of dyslexia and helps the “patient” understand ways to minimize its effects. Dyslexia Resources Canada is a non-profit organization. SEE WEBSITE HERE
- Canadian Disability Tax Credit – People with dyslexia or, if the afflicted person is under 18, their legal guardians, that can claim disability often receive a significant tax credit. Tapping into the many resources available to help you make the best of dyslexia can be expensive, and the government is happy to offer a tax reduction to compensate for extra money spent on evaluations, specialized tutors, and counseling meant to deal with the disorder. This tax refund makes it easy to cope with dyslexia without breaking the bank for all Canadians, but Ontario residents can particularly benefit because of the Ontario disability tax credit, a rebate given in addition to the support given by the Canadian federal government. There are also benefits available for families with children suffering from Dyslexia. To find out more, please read our Child Disability Tax Credit Guide.
All the resources and programs available can make dealing with dyslexia a simple matter, and it is only right that the people who need to use them should be gifted with the extra financial means to do so. This is why it is extremely prudent to contact Disability Credit Canada, who can help you receive the tax rebates you deserve. An estimated five million Canadians suffer from dyslexia and many of them are not aware that they can receive up to $40,000 back on their taxes if they let Disability Credit Canada handle the filing of their disability for them.
While it is true that you can file for disability on your own, we have found that filing through our organization will maximize the rebate you end up receiving. Due to our professional application process and our many hundreds of encounters with the disability tax system, you can rest assured you are in good hands when you file through Disability Credit Canada.