Asynchronity & Dyslexia
Most children who have a learning disability will come across as being out-of-sync, and children with Dyslexia or any other subcategory of a Learning Disability are out of synchronity both internally and externally.
Most children with Dyslexia will show Internal asynchrony due to differences in rates of physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and skill development.
In fact their uneven development will be evident in their external adjustment difficulties as the child will feel different from, or out of place with, other children surrounding him – specially his peers. It is no wonder that you will notice your Dyslexic Child having friends who are either much older than him or much younger than him or her.
This obvious external asynchrony is the lack of fit the child with other same-aged children and with the age-related expectations of the culture we live in. Therefore in a way the lack of synchrony and asynchrony are synonymous.
However the asynchrony that a Dyslexic child faces in his day to day life is more encompassing, with additional facets, and it can become a basis for understanding your child, if you give it some thought.
Uneven development is a characteristic of having a Learning Difference like Dyslexia and a Dyslexic child has greater discrepancies among various aspects of his developmental trajectory – especially during the schooling years.
The most evident to teachers, parents and the child himself will be the unevenness at the rate at which his or her physical development will outstrip mental development.
While we may feel that we can use the mental age of a Dyslexic child using basic IQ tests as a means of capturing the degree to which the child's mental abilities differ from those of his or her peers, the reality is that biodiversity means that no two comparisons can be the same.
For a dyslexic child, it is not the mental age that is important as much as the discrepancy related to academics and this lack of understanding has proved enormously detrimental in our understanding of the Asynchronity that is whirling about in the Dyslexic mind.
The inherent difficulties of having a 14-year-old body attached to a cognitive ability of an 11 year old doesn't arouse much sympathy in an academic or competitive environment.
We judge the Dyslexic with his academic performance and marks and correlate it to his mental ability and then predict the amount of knowledge he or she has mastered, the rate at which he/she learns, the sophistication of play, the maturity of the child's sense of humor, ethical judgment, and awareness of the world.
The problem is that in India, as we ignore the issue, it only compounds on itself like a bank recurring deposit and rather than having more, parents and the child are left holding less by the time the child reaches class X and is faced with the prospect of a looming Board Exam.
As chronological age predicts the child's height, physical coordination, handwriting speed, emotional needs, and social skills, lower the exhibited degree to which cognitive development lags behind physical development, the more "out-of-sync" the Dyslexic feels internally, in social relations, and in relation to the school curriculum.
It may not be appropriate to repeatedly emphasis the mental quotient or the ratio of mental age to chronological age to understand Dyslexia or the Dyslexic as then we shall never find the underlying problem and the associated correct solution.
For a Dyslexic a school report card can never and we say never measure the totality of his or her intelligence.
Intelligence is a rich, complex, multifaceted gestalt and is associated with a myriad of dynamically interrelated abilities. Abilities like emotion and personality play critical roles in the overall conception of intellectual ability.
The Dyslexia Association of India™ believes that intelligence is to a degree influenced by the processes that we use to impart knowledge and the environment we provide to a Dyslexic and appropriate instruction can make a huge difference.
That is why we encourage parents to enroll their children from the pre nursery level in our T.R.A.I.N™ Neuroplasticity programme that has been known to correctly build the neural circuits for reading and writing in a developing brain.
It is our view at the DAI™ that from an evolutionary perspective, intelligence can be a continuously evolving process, and not a static figure that stays the same throughout life. So rather than bracketing a child who is not able to read and write well in the early years we should be cautious to use simple - intelligence testing as a method of rigidly determining the limits of a Dyslexics abilities.
The Dyslexia Association of India™ firmly believes that IQ should be seen as the last and the least significant estimate of asynchrony or the level to which cognitive development diverges from chronological age.
Left untreated and undiagnosed the asynchrony increases with age and the Dyslexic who could have been remediated at the age of 5 will not be mentally advanced to the same extent as his peers by the time they are all 14 years old and in class X.
Being dyslexic and asynchronous does not mean that a child is static; the Dyslexic can be as dynamic, and constantly evolving cognitively, if he is provided the correct scaffolding in time.
Neuropsychologically a Dyslexic is an amalgam of many developmental stages and can confuse his teachers, parents and even himself with sparks of brilliance and then troughs of helplessness in different situations.
Rather than seeing the Dyslexic child through the lens of his chronological age may be which may be of the least significance maybe parents need to relook at the form of asynchrony that their child exhibits and needs to be addressed. Sometimes the most asynchronous child can be - both highly gifted and learning disabled.
Dyslexics have undetected learning disabilities, in areas as diverse as auditory processing, writing, visual perception and attention. These discrepancies do not melt away on their own - and continue into adult life.
That is the reason we have a Richard Branson or a Bill Gates whose cognitive complexity gives rise to intense emotional depth and intensity. Dyslexics not only think differently from their peers, they also feel differently, and we have to understand this right from the beginning.
In India as we deny problems exist with our children who have learning differences the sad part is that a considerable number of them will not grow up to be world class academicians – but if they are helped right from the start of school- all of them with their immense cognitive capacity which keeps changing can lead productive and fruitful lives in spheres they care about.
The most painful part of a Dyslexics lie is probably coping with the insensitivity and prejudice of the world.
The DAI™ knows a doctor in Hyderabad whose sons “Tiffin” box was withheld from him – “until he finished his work, just like the rest of the other boys”
Dyslexic children in India are faced with institutional and personal deficit of appreciation of cognitive complexity and emotional insensitivity - and the enhanced moral insensitivity born of denial, which renders them vulnerable.
Most Dyslexic children are morally and emotionally advanced and gentle and nonaggressive who are likely to withdraw rather than retaliate. So it becomes even more important for parents to be proactive and help their children at the first sign of a problem.
Maybe Dyslexics are like fine china and like chinaware at risk in crude and aggressive environments and we think it is time parents, teachers and society muster the courage to experience the depth of their Dyslexic children’s emotions in an insensitive society.
In India we view giftedness only within a competitive framework, and the Dyslexic among us can be the most cursed, because they cannot fit into society as it currently is, nor can they succeed by its standards.
So how can we help our Children who we consider Asynchrous?
Don’t just accept your child for who he is; treasure him for who he or she is.
Dyslexic children are often kind, thoughtful, focused, and very interesting company, as long as they’re in settings that work for them.
Dyslexic kids usually have the capacity to develop great passions. Cultivate these enthusiasms.
Intense engagement in an activity is a proven route to happiness and well-being, and a well-developed talent is a great source of confidence.
Traditional childhood activities like cricket and music may work well for some kids, but look off the beaten path.
If a child feels left behind or feels he is not able to cope up due to her Dyslexia and feels ashamed of her own personality traits, it is ‘crucial’ to seek therapy.
Yes, without a doubt. Do it for your child if not for yourself. She will pick up on your own poor self-image, and also its inevitable projections on to her. If you can’t afford the time or money for therapy, send the child to the Dyslexia Association of India™. We conduct classes’ everyday and these can be a great way to interact and learn from professionals and make friends the child can relate to.
If you had difficulties as a child with learning and academics, try not to project your own history onto your child.
Your inability to be helped or the inability to reach out to your parents and teachers may have caused you pain when you were younger. Don’t assume that your child will not face the same as ‘time has changed’. She may not be able to handle it, and she may not thrive. The best thing you can do for her is take joy in her wonderful qualities, have confidence that those qualities will carry her far, and teach her the skills she needs to handle the challenging aspects of her nature.
Reach out to your child. Don’t wait, it is not worth it.
If Dyslexic child is reluctant to try new things or has started getting scared of books and studies, the key is gradual exposure.
Don’t let the child opt out. Try to come together toward the thing he’s wary of. If it’s the long passages, for, example, approach at his own pace. Let him know that his feelings or anxiety are normal and natural, but also that there’s nothing to be afraid of. When he takes social risks, let him know that you admire his efforts: “I saw you talking to the new children today - I know that can be difficult, and I’m proud of you.” Point out to him when he ends up enjoying things he thought he wouldn’t like or that he was initially scared of. Eventually he will learn to self-regulate his feelings of wariness.
If your child is shy, don’t let her hear you call her that way.
Dyslexics are extremely sensitive and start to experience nervousness as a fixed trait rather than as an emotion they can learn to control.
Take your Dyslexic child to social events, like birthday parties, early.
Let your child feel as if others are joining him as this can give a heads up on becoming comfortable rather than having to break into a preexisting group. Similarly, if he’s nervous before school starts, bring him to see his classroom, meet his teacher, figure out where the bathroom is, and so on.
Teach your Dyslexic to stand up for herself.
Start young, if you can. If she looks distressed when another child takes her toy, take her aside afterwards and teach her to say, “stop” in her loudest voice.
Practice saying – shouting – STOP. Make it a game. Make it seem like a light issue, while letting her know that you understand her feelings. If you have a sensitive Dyslexic you are very lucky:
If your child is “highly sensitive” – the term for kids who are sensitive to lights, sounds, emotional experiences, and/or new situations — then he probably fits into a category of children we would call “Flame of the forest” children. Some flowers like ‘Periwinkle’ or what we call ‘Sadhabhar’ and are able to thrive in just about any environment. But others, including highly sensitive kids, are more like ‘Flame of the forest’. They wilt easily, but if they have good childhoods they can actually do better than dandelion children. Just like the flower which can survive longer and are brilliant, these children can often be healthier, have better grades, enjoy stronger relationships, and so on.
Respect your child’s desire for time and space to play alone.
Children with special needs have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Some children may have recognizable disabilities, such as Dyslexics a child with vision difficulties. Other children, while not having been diagnosed with a specific disability, may exhibit challenging behaviors that interrupt the daily routine.
Children may have a nonspecific diagnosis, such as developmental delay. Pediatricians and other medical professionals often prefer this diagnosis for young children, since it implies that, given time and opportunity, the child may catch up in the areas in which they are currently. But this may not always be the case, as children never ‘catch up’. Once, the neural tracts that make up much of our neocortex have established themselves and most of neuro migratory processes have established themselves, it is very hard to reverse the wiring in the brain.
This is one of the primary reasons why, globally Parents try to have their children screened and tested so that they can take action immediately if there is any form of a developmental delay and try to rectify it, so that they can give their children a better future.
Children With Special Needs in the Inclusive Classroom
When we speak of a child with special needs the first thing that comes to our mind in India is that the child is going to have a mental health issue. However we have to stop and think that a child could also be at risk for a disability because of environmental constraints or also because he was she may be having a health issue. This means that without intervention the child will develop a permanent delay whether it is an academic delay or it is a social delay or it is a combination of both.
Regardless of the type of delay a child experiences, it is important to keep in mind that all children can learn and should be allowed to participate in everyday routines and activities to the best of their capabilities.
You as a parent should work at embedding instruction and therapeutic services within the framework of natural classroom environments which is both beneficial to the child and cost effective for you as a parent because if we do not place a child with special needs in a setting with his peers meaningful inclusion will never take place.
Inclusion should be a philosophy that embraces a core belief that children with disabilities learn best in typical settings with peers and that the benefits of such programs have far-reaching, long-term effects on all the children in such a classroom. Asynchronity does not need to be repaired or fixed before a child can be included with his peers - every child is unique and has worth, regardless of his challenges our children are growing up in a society where not everyone is the same. Preschool and kindergarten children are at a developmental stage where they can learn to be tolerant and accepting of others.
What a number of parents may not realize about their children who are most likely suffering in school is that the Asynchronity the child is balancing on - may at times reach pathological proportions. A parent might say “it is a normal learning curve” but there are three general points to be kept in mind, and these are important because they stem from others beliefs and eventually are embodied in the out of sync child.
First, Asynchronity whether it results from Dyslexia or any other form of a learning difficulty results from deficiencies in your childs cognitive ability.
Second, your sons Asynchronity is a subjective phenomenon and is not necessarily synonymous with objective resolution, so he can tolerate suffering being ‘out of sync’ without being affected.
Third, different or being different and not in synchronity is unpleasant and distressing and those who are fortunate enough to be cognitively ‘better’ must avoid your daughter.
In India lack of synchronity in school with the academic pursuit of excellence is considered a discrepancy between your childs desired and achieved levels of ability and so by deduction his being different is seen as the direct consequence of a failure to ‘keep up’ with his peers and satisfy the requirement of fitting in and therefore his needs and any intervening cognitive processes are almost entirely ignored.
The Dyslexia Association of India™ has over a period of time observed several manifestations of children who are out of synchronity. We have observed children who manifest their being asynchronous and different via: affective, motivational, behavioural and social problems associated with being singled out day after day due to the system of grading children on marks alone.
Virtually by actual experience, being Dyslexic or Learning Disabled is an unpleasant experience. We have seen and heard children who describe it as - painful and frightening – to not be ‘like the others in my class’. This being different and the Asynchronity is co morbid with varying degrees of loneliness, depression, dissatisfaction and interpersonal hostility.
ADHD which is an attentional issue is an over diagnosed and - accuracy wise an – under and very poorly measured attribute which may stem from the hostility which comes from the loneliness of being ‘left behind’ or ‘confused’ or out of synchronity with the class.
Asynchronous children who are constantly hounded for the ‘lack of effort’ are very lonely children and it is no surprise that they feel - angry, enclosed - empty, and – not accepted.
At the DAI™ these are the children who describe themselves as tense, restless and anxious. In the month of June 2015 we had a mother who sent her child away to a boarding school and while the parents were very happy, the child whispered in our ear “I cry everyday at meal times”. Why? Because “ I am different”
This page below was written by two different children who cam to us in June 2015 and who said that they ‘felt different’.
Your dyslexic and asynchronous child is building a foundation of negative outlook, dissatisfaction and pessimism. It is no wonder then that these children are worn out for no special reason, and that their strength often seems to drain away from them when they have to go to school.
This Asynchronity increases the despondency, which is apparent in this evidence from children and contrasts with the hyperactivity, which can be engendered by the anxiety they feel.
A dyslexic child may well face three options. First, his awareness about himself may arouse motivation for discovering ways how he can sustain his academic output but then - diminish motivation for other tasks. Secondly, his isolation and Asynchronity may be arousing yet interfere with the effective channeling of his energies to complete tasks – because he does not know how to channelize his cognitive energy. Thirdly, being ‘out of sync’ or dyslexic may have different motivational properties over time for different children.
We believe that maybe having perceived control over one's learning abilities motivates children to seek ways of alleviating their situation further, but it is equally plausible, that your daughters dyslexia may influence the fluctuation in her motivational state more than its - average level and she may see saw between bouts of intense effort and abject despair and giving up which would be - periods of high and low motivational arousal.
The diversity of neurological factors that precipitate and perpetuate Learning disabilities like dyslexia are so many, that no single cure-all is likely to be found, but sensible intervention and proactive steps by parents may be useful when employed on time.
The most important step a father can take for his child is to ensure that he acknowledges the problem and helps ensure that interventions should be tailored to the specific problems of the child.
So a comprehensive analysis of the antecedents of the Learning Disability whether Dyslexia or any other cognitive delay needs to be done on a priority basis and this will facilitate the design of successful therapeutic interventions.
Second, interventions to help the child who is out of synchronity in the school and socially may need to consider the childs own explanations for the causes of her distress. Society and all too often educators driven by the pressure of the academic curriculum and the institutions - often underestimate the importance of situational causes of issues like Dyslexia and other learning disabilities and overestimate the role of cognitive factors. The Dyslexia Association of India™ observes this tendency to be especially clear in cases where Asynchronity in whatever form is severe and enduring.
While cognition plays a crucial role in performance, Asynchronity which develops into a Learning Disability usually results from a poor match between the individual's interests, social skills – his personal characteristics and his or her social environment.
Children with dyslexia have been known to underestimate the potential changeability of the causes of their learning disability. Children – left alone and with no guidance can focus on irrevocable precipitating events like consistent low grades - rather than on factors that can facilitate the development of a new, more satisfactory school life. We would advise directing children’s attention to factors they can control.
Lastly as a father you have to ensure that your dyslexic and out of sync child should be encouraged to view his world more positively. Some degree of negativism may reflect the reality of their situations, but some of it is undoubtedly due to a negativity bias on how they are singled out at school. If we can curb negative perceptions we should be able to help children overcome their perception of being different.
Interventions like the Dyslexia Association of India™ T.R.A.I.N™ Neuroplasticity programme which are aimed at specific problems such as neural rewiring or cognitive enhancement are – we believe more effective than interventions directed more globally at Dyslexia and other forms of Asynchronity.
Be clear- Dyslexia is an unpleasant and widespread experience. It is also associated with a variety of social problems, such as juvenile delinquency, alcohol abuse and social isolation.
The earlier we understand our children’s difficulties, their differences, their uniqueness, their Asynchronity, their way of thinking, their strengths and areas of normative weakness, the faster we shall be able to find the correct resources to single out what the main issue may be and how and what we have to do to help our son or daughter integrate into the mainstream of life.
To understand whether your child is suffering silently from a sense of being out of synchronity in the school and a feeling of being left behind which is making no sense to her or him - make an appointment with the DAI™ please call us on +91 – 8826022886
Or e mail us for an appointment on
As at the Dyslexia Association of India™ we have a strict policy to comprehensively check and diagnose only one child per day.
Any payment that is made for your appointment at the DAI™ qualifies for exemption from Income Tax (IT) and parents are provided a Section 80G receipt so that they can use it when filing their Income Tax Returns.
* Opinions and information expressed by the DAI™ are equivocal, reflect personal observations and ideas and are equivocally personal to the researchers and specific to the organization.