Have you ever wondered if children in other countries suffer from dyslexia? Well… the wait is over because it’s true that dyslexia is a disorder suffered from people all over the world!
We recently read an article posted on TheNational.ae about a father and daughter from UAE who would have to travel to Kuwait in order to be tested for dyslexia. The father noticed that his daughter was reversing her letters and would avoid studying for as long as possible. Without any standardized Arabic testing for the disorder, he knew they would have to search elsewhere for the proper assessment. The young girl may just be one of many in the Arabic country suffering from dyslexia, but the article stated that dyslexia “largely goes unnoticed in the UAE as there are no standardized Arabic tests for the disorder.” The only way to detect and diagnosis a child with dyslexia is to understand the symptoms and look for proper resources offered in other countries.
The symptoms that parents or teachers must understand and look out for include problems with reading, spelling, and recognizing words. In the child’s colloquial language, it is easy to detect once they start mispronouncing words and/or experience short attention spans. The article also states that “for bilingual children, there is no problem with detection because many tests are available in English, based on UK and US standards, but no special-needs centers offer tests in Arabic”
An associate professor of speech pathology from UAE University, Dr. Yasir Nattur, explained to The National that in the absence of Arabic dyslexia testing, psychologists in the country “resort to informal testing but then that leads to informal intervention. It is frustrating that there are no schools or institutions that provide one.” The worst part is that if the child does not fully understand the English language, the test has to be explained to the parents and then translated into Arabic, which is not an appropriate assessment for the disorder.
When the young girl, who is discussed in the article, started to show the warning signs of dyslexia, her father knew that the only way for a proper diagnosis would be to travel to Kuwait. The country has a dyslexia association, which is only one of few institutions that provide Arabic language tools to help identify if someone is in fact dyslexic. The article explained the association’s language tool as a “computer-based dyslexia screening and assessment method that converts to Arabic.” There have been similar tests developed in Egypt, but nothing is still offered in UAE.
Overall the information provided throughout the article shows that dyslexia is a disorder that affects many all over the world, but without the proper testing, it doesn’t seem to be a major problem with great statistical value. When testing is not offered in every language, results from interpretations can be misleading, which is a major concern for misdiagnosis. In order to gain a complete perspective and calculate the true number of people who suffer from dyslexia, each language must have a specific test that uses culture related words and images in order to conduct proper assessments that reflect the testers current environment and development level.
Please check out the full article on TheNational.ae, which goes on to explain additional statistics and testing methods that were conducted at UAE University. To learn more about The National, you can follow the newspaper on Twitter – @TheNationalUAE for current news and trending topics.
Image source: Google Images