‘’That boy is dumb…”
’That girl no sabi book…”
‘’that boy just dull…”
“that girl no sabi spell, at her age…”
All of these are very common among scholars in our contemporary society and has been since time immemorial. As an individual that has been, and is still part of the educational system, these are not new to the ear. Then again, we need to pause, display empathy, and wonder… why can this guy not spell even the simplest of words or solve the simplest of calculus. Ever paused for a second to ask yourself, “ how can an individual just love to fail?” or “how can an individual just hate to pass?”? Surely, if you did this at any point, you will come to the only logical conclusion; they possibly can’t help it. It happens naturally,
As individuals, we all have different I.Q levels (intelligence quotient). A score Mr A can simply stroll to get, Mr B has to strive for, while Mr C has to cross seas, oceans and mountains. As true as this is, some individuals just have a mental side to their problem; DYSLEXIA or DYSCALCULIA or both. (yes, both. An individual can present with both)
A learning condition distinguished by the inability to be coherent with spellings and words in general. In other words, a dyslexic individual has a problem with spelling and reading. In our country Nigeria, the WHO puts the number of dyslexic individuals at about 1.5 million. With a population of almost 200 million, this puts the number of dyslexic people at almost 1% of our total population. Keep in mind that as a third-world country, we are not really A-standard when it comes to record-keeping and statistics. This goes without saying, there could be more than 1.2 million people out there with undiagnosed dyslexia, that walk around every day blaming themselves for being ‘dumb’. Unfortunately, there is no known cause for this phenomenon. It is more of a gene-transfer issue, as it has been found to run in families. It means, if one person in the family has it, everyone from that family tree is at risk.
Simply put, this is the opposite of dyslexia. While the latter deals with words and spellings, dyscalculia deals with severe difficulty in comprehending number-related concepts or mathematical functions. Easier to understand, it is the ‘dyslexia’ of mathematics. Like dyslexia, the presence of a dyscalculic gene in one member puts the rest of the family tree (living and unborn) at risk.
Risk factors of Dyslexia and dyscalculia
- Alcohol, nicotine and drug consumption while pregnant (this puts the foetus at risk)
- Family history
- Premature birth
- Genetic disorder
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for these phenomena. Although therapy is advised (with the specific aim of teaching individuals how to manage these conditions).
Worthy of note is the fact that a very intelligent/academically sound individual can be dyslexic as well. Our brains just process certain things faster than others. And that is why it is not common to find orators and renowned public speakers who have problems with spellings. Similarly, teachers are advised to focus on scoring students based on their workings rather than the final answer, as a couple of digits in the course of solving a mathematical problem can be misplaced or misinterpreted.
Sadly, unlike advanced nations of the world, ours, a third-world country has little or no provision for people with these conditions (at least non that I know of). It is for this reason that quite a lot of people are bullied into low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, aggression, anti-social behaviour and even suicide, preventing an individual from reaching his/her full potential, consequently exposing them to educational, social and economic consequences.
What these people need is love, patience and a lot of positivity, as this will help them understand and accept their situation, as a foundation to managing it.
If you are reading this and you are dyslexic, I understand your frustration and I love you, and I am sending you all of the positive energy in this world. you are far from dumb. You are special. Don’t allow the situation to box you. We can fight it.
So next time, think twice before you clown the next person for being ‘dumb’.
Last modified: April 13, 2021