CHENNAI: When he was in Class VI, classmates used to make fun of his inability to read and write. Worried parents enrolled the child at a special school, convinced of increased difficulties for their son as grades progressed. But on Friday, Harikrishnan, a dyslexic, exceeded expectations by scoring 79% in the SSLC examinations, for which he appeared as a private candidate.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability, where children have trouble with reading, comprehending, spelling and writing. According to the Dyslexia Association of India, 10 to 15% of children may suffer from some type of dyslexia, which in the long run may negatively impact their confidence and behaviour.
Hari first started displaying signs of dyslexia in Class I, while studying at Kendriya Vidyalaya in Avadi. Spellings were a huge problem. For instance, Hari used to spell ‘car’ as ‘dar’. Finding it difficult to comprehend what was written on the blackboard, he would copy down notes from friends books.
Diagnosis by doctors confirmed that Hari, then in Class VI, had dyslexia, following which he was admitted to Ananya, a school run by Madras Dyslexic Association. “We were late in admitting Hari to a special school, primarily because we were not aware of its existence. More work is needed to promote awareness about such schools,” R Suresh, his father, said.
While the school played a big role, notably by introducing several methods of learning, Hari was ably supported at home by his parents.
C Gopika, Hari’s mother, said he was accepted the way he was. “Dyslexic children need special attention both at home and school,” she said.
Except reminders that Hari needed to stop being playful, both his parents did not put any pressure. Although fear set in the months preceding the board exam, they enabled an easy approach for Hari. “We prepared a comprehensive question bank, consisting of objective type questions for all subjects. We made sure he studied them gradually every day,” Suresh, a railway employee said.
Having completed SSLC, Harikrishnan, 16, is now set to pursue a diploma course in his passionate subject - Automobiles. “It was only after I changed schools, I realised my interest. I dream about giving a makeover to motor vehicles,” he said with smile.