However, despite being such a big health condition, very less is known about dyslexia. The knowledge around dyslexia is so little that people often interpret it as problematic. Due to limited awareness around this condition, the affected individuals are ostracized and are marred by stigmas.
We at ETimes-TOI spoke to Suchita Pattnaik, a mother and a DIY teacher on what dyslexia means to her, how she helps her child, Shreyansh, deal with dyslexia and what all she has faced until now.
In 2010, Suchita’s eight-year-old son was diagnosed with dyslexia and following this her family severed ties with her. With nobody to lend her support, Suchita embarked on a journey in which she had to carry her emotions along with her son who was denied admission to schools due to his condition. Despite constant rejections and bullies this mother never lost her focus and years later when her son secured 96% in CBSE class 12 board exam her joy knew no bounds. Currently, Shreyansh is pursuing a course in Artificial Intelligence in a reputed college in Gurugram.
ETimes-TOI: What would you like people to know about dyslexic kids?
Suchita Pattnaik: In my opinion, we all should treat them normally but gently. Like all other kids they are also normal kids with special abilities and people must know that dyslexic kids are also intelligent. If they are coding, they are the best at it, if they are solving mathematical problems, they will do it faster than any other student. So bullying them and making them feel inferior to others should be discouraged. We should be more empathetic and inclusive towards them.
ETimes-TOI: What are the most disturbing comments and reactions you come across?
Suchita Pattnaik: Comments like ‘abnormal’ and ‘crack’ were the most disturbing comments but my determination and my son’s zeal to learn was much stronger than those negative comments. Therefore, we did not pay much attention to such comments.
ETimes-TOI: Any parenting tips you’d like to share with parents of dyslexic kids?
Suchita Pattnaik: Few things we must keep in mind such as looking for assistance at school, finding people who can connect with our kids, assure that they receive continuous support and encouragement so that they can put what they’ve learned during the treatment into practice.
Safety proof your homes, this is because many dyslexic kids are prone to self-injury. Take care of their emotional needs. Get ready for puberty, as when these children reach the age of puberty, they experience new emotions that are a natural part of growing up. Discuss what to expect as your child grows older and how to deal with it with your doctor. Relieve your child’s fears by reassuring them that the changes that come with puberty are natural.
ETimes-TOI: What was your son’s biggest strength?
Suchita Pattnaik: My son’s biggest strength is his knowledge of technology. He is interested in gadgets and has always been into reading tech books and magazines. His grasping ability of technology is faster compared to other kids of his age.
ETimes-TOI: How did you help him overcome his shortcomings?
Suchita Pattnaik: Constant therapies, counseling, brain development activities, sports, and meditation helped him to overcome his shortcomings. Sometimes, I had emotional and mental breakdowns but never expressed that in front of him.
On Shreyansh’s achievement and commending the effort of Suchita, Vibha Gupta, Principal, Orchids – The International School, Sector 56, Gurgaon, says, “I feel proud to have teachers like Suchita, who is not only a DIY teacher but an inspiration for all of us. We must learn how to take care of our specially abled child, and giving up is never an option. We all are God’s children, there is should be no discrimination on the basis of mental health.”