Dyslexia: Now screening tools in vernacular languages

Indian scientists have developed vernacular language-based screening tools for school teachers to help them identify the large number of students with learning disabilities, who may not be as lucky as Ishaan Awasthi, the protagonist in the 2007 film ‘Taare Zameen Par’.

In the popular Hindi flick, Ishaan studies in an English medium school where his teacher is fully aware about learning disabilities and how to overcome them.

But for scores of pupils studying in the vernacular medium institutions, teachers have barely any way to find out if a student is suffering from common learning disabilities like dyslexia, though the number of such students could be as high as 15 per cent of all school going children.

Researchers at the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), Manesar have now come out with screening tools for students in the age group of 5-7 years studying in the junior section classes (std I-II) and for 8-10 year-olds studying in standard III-V.

“Independent validation at five centres show teachers can accurately identify more than 70 per cent children with dyslexia both in English and vernacular language medium,” said NBRC scientist Nandini Chatterjee Singh, who lead the efforts.

The behavioural tools – basically a set of questions to examine a student's language, literacy and phonology skills – have been made in English, Hindi, Marathi and Kannada.

“We received proposals to make them in Urdu and Gujarati. We aim to do it for every Indian language. These tests are not for exact diagnosis, but serve as a warning belt,” she told Deccan Herald.

“It should not be confused with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), autism and mental retardation,” said Rajesh Sagar, professor of psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, who reviewed the NBRC work.

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, characterised by difficulties a student faces in reading, writing and doing simple mathematics.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry