International Journal of Medicine and Health Development

ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 101--105

Dyslexia: Literacy among school teachers in Perambalur, Tamil Nadu, India


Subramanian Hemadharshini1, Neethu George2, Elumalai Malaidevan1, Rock Britto2, Meera George3,  
1 Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Medical College Hospital, Perambalur, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Medical College Hospital, Perambalur, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Travancore Medicity Medical College, Kollam, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Neethu George
Department of Community Medicine, Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Medical College Hospital, Perambalur, Tamil Nadu 621113.
India

Abstract

Context: Dyslexia is a learning disorder that makes the student inferior and introverted if proper identification and guidance are not given promptly. Apart from the parents and health professionals, school teachers play a main role in the process of early identification and managing the problem. Objectives: The objectives of the study were to assess the knowledge of dyslexia among school teachers and to associate the knowledge with other variables like experience and prior training. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study done among school teachers from 10 schools for 2 months. In total, 279 teachers were enlisted through convenient sampling and data were collected using a predesigned questionnaire. The questionnaire had questions about basic socio-demographic details and the training and school experience. Results: The study was done among 279 subjects with a mean age (SD) of 31.78 (6.49) years. The study population composed a majority of females, 210(75.3%). The mean (SD) years of experience among subjects was 6.13(4.83) years and the range was from 4 to 32 years. Of the 279 subjects, 146 (52.3%) had mild knowledge, 122 (43.7%) had moderate and 10 (3.6%) had poor knowledge. Conclusion: The study showed poor knowledge of dyslexia among school teachers. Dyslexia has to be identified early, and appropriate training should be provided to the teachers at regular intervals.



How to cite this article:
Hemadharshini S, George N, Malaidevan E, Britto R, George M. Dyslexia: Literacy among school teachers in Perambalur, Tamil Nadu, India.Int J Med Health Dev 2020;25:101-105


How to cite this URL:
Hemadharshini S, George N, Malaidevan E, Britto R, George M. Dyslexia: Literacy among school teachers in Perambalur, Tamil Nadu, India. Int J Med Health Dev [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Oct 20 ];25:101-105
Available from: https://www.ijmhdev.com/text.asp?2020/25/2/101/291056


Full Text



 Background



Dyslexia is defined as difficulty in learning to read and spell despite adequate education, intelligence, socio-cultural opportunities, and without any obvious sensory deficits.[1] The overall prevalence of dyslexia in different parts of the world is variable (3.6 to 8.5% in Italy vs. 4.5 to 12.0% in the United States).[2] The prevalence of dyslexia is estimated to be between 5 and 17% of school-aged children.[3] In a study among the school children in Jaipur, the prevalence of dyslexia is found to be 7.43%.[4] A cross-sectional, multi-staged, stratified, randomized, cluster sampling study conducted in India revealed that the incidence of dyslexia is 11.2%.[5]

Worldwide dyslexia is more prevalent among male gender[6],[7] and also genetic predisposition[8],[9] was reported. Early signs of learning difficulties may appear in the preschool years, but they are only diagnosed after starting formal education. The core difficulty is with word recognition and reading fluency, spelling, and writing. Some dyslexics manage to learn early reading and spelling tasks, especially with excellent instruction, but later experience their most debilitating problems when more complex language skills are required, such as grammar, understanding textbook material, and writing essays. Dyslexia also affects a person’s self-image. Students with dyslexia often end up feeling “dumb” and less capable than they are. Children with learning disabilities also exhibit significant behavioral problems than children without disability, in the form of hyperactivity and aggression. About 30% of children with learning disability have behavioral and emotional problems, which range from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (most common) to depression, anxiety, suicide to substance abuse (least common).[10]

The disability can be controlled and taken care of if identified earlier. Health professionals have a limited role in this as it is difficult to screen hundreds and thousands of children. This difficulty can be solved with the help of school teachers. Many studies were done to assess knowledge among school teachers about learning difficulties.[11],[12]

Our study was done to assess the knowledge of dyslexia among school teachers and to associate the knowledge with other variables like experience and prior training.

 Materials and Methods



This was a cross-sectional study done among school teachers from 10 schools in and around Perambalur, Tamil Nadu, India, for 2 months. The school management was contacted early for getting permission and proper consent was taken from the teachers. The sample size was calculated based on the assumption that 50% of teachers have good knowledge. By using the formula n = Zα2pq/d2, where Zα = 1.96, P = 50%, q = 100 − P = 50%, d = 10%, nonresponse rate of 50%, the sample size came up to 144. The teachers from consented schools were approached conveniently to reach a sample size of 279. Data were collected by interview using a predesigned structured questionnaire, which included two parts:

Part A: Socio-demographic data, including age, educational qualification, and training, and teaching experience.

Part B: Questionnaire regarding the knowledge on dyslexia-self administered

The questions included an assessment of the symptoms of dyslexia, occurrence, severity, and prognosis of dyslexia. The responses were of the type yes/no and don’t know. There were 36 questions and each correct response was given a score of 1. The wrong response and the response of don’t know were given a score of 0. The score was categorized based on the percentile (<25, very poor; 25–50, poor; 50–75, fair; and >75 good). The data of 279 teachers were entered into Microsoft Excel and analyzed using SPSS 16. Descriptive analysis was used to summarize socio-demographic details and frequencies, such as percentages, mean, and standard deviation. The significance level for all statistical analyses was set at 0.05. Inferential statistics were done based on the dependent and independent variables.

 Results



The study was conducted among 279 subjects with a mean age (SD) of 31.78 (6.49) years. The minimum and maximum ages were 21 and 54 years, respectively. The study population had a female majority, 210 (75.3%). In the population, 62 (22.2%) had done their degrees, 178 (63.8%) had completed masters, and 39(14%) had a Ph.D./MPhil.

The mean (SD) years of experience among subjects was 6.13(4.83) and the range was from 4 to 32 years. Of the 279 subjects, 73 (26.2%) had come across a dyslexic child before. In the study population, 3 (1.08%) had attended some sort of training about dyslexia during their education period. Among the subjects, 32 (11.47%) had responded that they had some sort of knowledge from the internet, during their degree/masters training, movies, and textbooks.

[Table 1] and [Table 2] show the responses of positive and negative questions. Among the positive questions, most correct responses were on the symptoms and management of dyslexia and the least correct responses were on the prognosis of the disease and demographic features. Among the negative questions most correct responses where on the clinical presentations and least where on the management of the disease.{Table 1} {Table 2}

The mean (SD) knowledge score was 16.58 (4.55) with a range of 0–27. The score was divided into categories based on the percentages (>75%, high knowledge; 50–75%, moderate; 25–50%, mild; and <25%, poor). The Knowledge scores according to the percentiles turned to be ≥27 –high, 18–26 moderate, 9–17 mild and <9 poor respectively.[Graph 1] shows that 146 (52.3%) of the subjects had mild knowledge, 122 (43.7%) had moderate knowledge, and 10 (3.6%) had poor knowledge.{Graph 1}

The association between age, years of experience, educational qualification, and gender turned out to be statistically insignificant.

 Discussion



The present study shows, among the 279 subjects, 146 (52.3%) had mild knowledge, 122(43.7%) had moderate knowledge, and 10(3.6%) had poor knowledge. The “don’t know” responses were mostly for questions about the hereditaries and characteristics of dyslexia and the gender variability and approaches.

In a study done in Mangalore among 52 teachers were not even vigilant of the term dyslexia, amid the rest, two-thirds had insufficient knowledge.[12] In another study, 480 student teachers were surveyed regarding their attitude toward dyslexia. The student–teachers established a strong positive attitude toward dyslexia and a majority expressed confidence in their ability to guide students with dyslexia.[13] Another study showed that preschool teachers were having common misunderstandings about dyslexia when the comparison was done between the UK and the United States.[14] In a study done in Ghana, 62% of the teachers had awareness of dyslexia, 60.5% of teachers had knowledge of dyslexia recognition, and 65% had knowledge on support services for children with dyslexia.[15]

In our study, 3 (1.08%) had attended some sort of training about dyslexia during their education period. Among the subjects, 32 (11.47%) had responded that they had some sort of knowledge from the internet, during their degree/masters training, movies, and textbooks. This is less compared with a study done in Mangalore where 7% had prior training and the majority had some information about the disease.[12] In a study where the dyslexia awareness was assessed qualitatively, it is concluded that there was a lack of knowledge of teachers on dyslexia despite having undergraduate and postgraduate education as well as teachers participating in training offered by the education services.[16]

The study could have included qualitative component which would have shown the in-depth ideas and thoughts of teachers about the particular disease. The study should have included a few questions which show the teacher’s ability to tackle a disabled child or issues. The response of the school management and parents would have added more information about the society’s perception about educational disabilities.

 Conclusion



The study was aimed at assessing the knowledge of dyslexia among school teachers and to associate the knowledge with other variables like experience and prior training. In the present study, of the 279 school teachers, 146 (52.3%) had mild knowledge, 122 (43.7%) had moderate knowledge, and 10 (3.6%) had poor knowledge. The study affirmed the inclusion of topics like educational disability learning in the teacher’s training curriculum. The study showed the need for a change in approaching a particular disability or the need of the specially trained persons. The future training of teachers should be improved as the student’s second home is school and a good teacher can make the student achieve heights. Students spend more time at school than at home and this helps in early identification of developmental disabilities leading to earlier correction.

Acknowledgment

The school management and teachers who supported and gave their valuable time in responding to the study.

Ethical clearance

Ethical approval was obtained from the Institutional Ethical Committee, Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan Medical College, Perambalur.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflict of interest

Nil.

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