There is an extended number of diseases and conditions that prevent people from living their lives normally. ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, depression, anorexia, Tourette’s, and bipolar are among those conditions that have various symptoms and may make it challenging for a person to be among other people. Individuals with these and many other disorders usually have academic or working issues, can be underdeveloped, and find it difficult to socialize.
Dyslexia is another condition that may be added to such a list. According to researchers, this disorder may be caused by a vast number of reasons, including genetics, individual differences in brain development, or adverse habits during pregnancy (Caplain, 2018). Since this is a learning disorder, it may be especially hard to recognize a dyslexic child before she or he goes to school, but some methods do exist, and they are discussed further in the paper. Overall, this research piece is focused on the examination of dyslexia in girls aged five to ten. The purpose of the following paragraphs is to define dyslexia and its causes and symptoms, especially in young girls; explore the difference in brain development between dyslexic girls and boys; discuss the ways to diagnose dyslexia at an early age; and summarize different tools to relieve the symptoms of this disorder.
To begin with, it is essential to provide a definition of the condition under study and examine its symptoms and causes. Overall, dyslexia is a permanent neurological condition that makes young children have much lower academic performance. This learning disorder affects children’s education and communication skills, particularly reading and writing (Caplain, 2018). Young kids also find it challenging to process and remember information, which is why they cannot properly acquire literary skills. The most common signs of dyslexia among kids of primary age are slow reading and spoken or written language, inability to express their thoughts correctly, and confusion of information (Alonzo et al., 2020). They also tend to have an inability to concentrate and poor motor skills, which usually makes them seem easily distracted, excessively tired, and dreamy.
What is more, it is essential to mention that these symptoms are not due to kids’ laziness or inattentiveness. On the contrary, this disorder has unmanageable causes: dyslexic children have communication issues in their brains, which makes their brain activity different and affects their language and communication (Kossowski et al., 2019). Other causes may include genetics (it is quite often that dyslexia is a hereditary condition), premature birth, and pregnancy exposure to alcohol, drugs, or nicotine (Caplain, 2018). All children with dyslexia experience it in a unique way, and the difference is especially evident between girls and boys (Kossowski et al., 2019). As mentioned above, the focus of this paper is on dyslexic girls aged five to ten.
It is also necessary to highlight that some people may have a narrow understanding of dyslexia and consider it simply an inability to read properly. There are also many myths about dyslexia, and one of them is that any child who reverses words or letters is dyslexic. This is not true because such a sign may simply indicate that the representation of letters has not been firmly established yet (Caplain, 2018). Further, dyslexia is not caused by low intelligence or problems with vision, and it is never enough just to give a child some time to overcome this condition. Unfortunately, while there are some tools and techniques to relieve symptoms, this disorder is incurable.
Differences in Brain Development
As stated above, children usually have individual symptoms of dyslexia, and the difference is particularly evident between young boys and girls. It is common for people to believe that only males can be dyslexic. However, this is not true: while boys are more likely to have this condition, it is almost as frequent among girls (Caplain, 2018). However, the latter has less identifiable symptoms because many dyslexic females struggle quietly and find various ways to increase their academic performance and hinder their issues with literacy skills.
It may be rather interesting to explore the difference in brain development between dyslexic males and females. As noticed by Evans et al. (2014), developmental dyslexia, which may be defined as unexpected reading difficulty, is usually caused by abnormal brain function and anatomy (p. 1041). Structural neuroimaging studies show that, unlike in boys, dyslexia in girls is not characterized by left hemisphere language areas involvement. Instead, early motor and sensory cortices participate in the development of this condition (Evans et al., 2014). To be more precise, research demonstrates that boys’ left inferior parietal cortex contains less GMV, and so do right postcentral gyri and left middle temporal gyri (Evans et al., 2014, p. 1041). At the same time, the comparison between dyslexic and non-dyslexic girls did not show any left hemisphere differences. What is more, girls with dyslexia have less GMV but in different regions, including the left primary visual cortex, right central sulcus, right precuneus gyri, and paracentral lobule frontal gyri (Evans et al., 2014, p. 1041). Consequently, these findings indicate a severe difference in brain development of dyslexic and non-dyslexic children and also between girls and boys with dyslexia.
Neurotransmission Deficits in Dyslexia
The previous section proves that dyslexia is caused and characterized by abnormal brain development and not by laziness and inattentiveness of children. The focus of this subsection is to explore whether kids with dyslexia have neurotransmission deficits and whether these deficits play a role in the development of this disorder. While the current findings may seem inconsistent, there are some specific ideas regarding neurotransmitters deficits and their changes with age. To begin with, as noticed by Kossowski et al. (2019), dyslexic children have abnormalities in white matter microstructure, which is affected by neurometabolites. To explore their suggestions, the authors chose MEGA-PRESS single-voxel spectroscopy to examine the left temporo-parietal and occipital cortex in dyslexic and non-dyslexic kids and adults (Kossowski et al., 2019). According to their findings, the amount of total N-acetylaspartate (tNAA) in the occipital cortex of children and adults with dyslexia is significantly lower than in people without this disorder (Kossowski et al., 2019).
As mentioned above, dyslexia is a learning condition, which is why it usually becomes evident when a child goes to school. However, it may take educators and parents several more years to find out that a child is dyslexic, and it is even more challenging to spot dyslexia in girls. Nevertheless, early diagnosis is essential for numerous reasons, and it is particularly important for parents of girls to be aware if their children have this condition. Otherwise, it will be extremely challenging and stressful for such kids to study and put much effort into their academic performance but still struggle with the easiest tasks and fall behind their peers. It is vital for parents and educators to be aware that a child is dyslexic in order not to blame them for lower classroom achievements and prepare special supporting tools for them. A research paper by Alonzo et al. (2020) is a valuable and reliable academic piece for those who want to know how phonological awareness and letter identification can predict dyslexia.
Although the researchers do not focus on the differences between dyslexic boys and girls, it is still useful to discuss the findings in the article. Overall, Alonzo et al. (2020) examine how dyslexia may be predicted in children while they are still in kindergarten. As mentioned above, it is quite challenging, but Alonzo et al. (2020) state that such methods exist. For example, evaluation of letter identification and phonological awareness in kindergarten children may help predict the development of dyslexia. What is more, precisely letter identification is the best predictor of dyslexia in second-grade kids (Alonzo et al., 2020). The authors state that such a method of letter identification may promote the possibility of early diagnosis. Consequently, it is a very useful tool that should be considered by educators and parents when identifying whether their children have dyslexia.
Tools for Overcoming Dyslexia
Thankfully, dyslexia is well-studied nowadays, and awareness of this condition and its symptoms is raised among teachers and parents. Consequently, there are many tools and methods for adults to relieve the signs of this condition in children and foster their development (Caplain, 2018). It is especially important for young kids and girls aged five to ten. If adults do not pay attention to this disorder at an early age, it will be much more challenging for their kids to overcome the symptoms later and engage with the world as simply as non-dyslexic children and teenagers. Therefore, while girls are in kindergarten, it is possible to relieve the symptoms of dyslexia and prevent many issues that may be faced in school.
Effective interventions for dyslexic girls aged five to ten may be divided into several groups. The first one consists of useful mobile applications that are created specifically to foster the development of children with dyslexia and teach them the same skills but with different tools. Since it is difficult for some dyslexics to remain attentive and focused on their tasks, such websites and applications are engaging, colorful, and musical enough to attract the kids’ attention (Caplain, 2018). What is more, these applications offer dyslexic children those tasks that are just right for the kindergarten level, which allows parents not to worry that the material will be too difficult.
Another group of interventions is for parents to use on a daily basis. According to researchers, it is highly recommended for kids with dyslexia to listen to audiobooks while playing. Such activity allows dyslexics to get interested in reading, expand their lexicon in an engaging way, become acquainted with books without beings stressed, and prepare for school (Caplain, 2018). Finally, kindergarten and school educators can also participate in relieving the symptoms of dyslexia in children. For example, it is recommended that they give such kids additional and individual instructions about group tasks, be patient when dyslexics have difficulty reading or processing information, and allow them to type instead of write when possible.
To draw a conclusion, one may say that there are many gaps in the literature about dyslexia in girls aged five to ten and in females in general. A major part of research is focused on dyslexia as a condition that affects males, which is why it is quite difficult to find information about young girls. However, lately, more and more researchers have become interested in the differences between dyslexic girls and boys and abnormalities in their brain development. Overall, the available research allows to conclude that dyslexia is indeed a neurological condition that is permanent throughout people’s lives and cannot be cured. There are numerous causes of dyslexia like genetics or premature birth that ultimately lead to incorrect brain development. As stated in the research paper, young girls with dyslexia usually tend to hide their symptoms and struggle quietly, which is one reason why there is a gap in the literature.
Dyslexia in young females may be explained by lower levels of GMV and total N-acetylaspartate (tNAA) in various areas of their brain. Since this is a learning disease, it is especially challenging to diagnose girls before they go to school and show difficulties with their studies. However, some signs may be evident even in younger girls, so it is essential for parents to pay attention to kindergarten phonological awareness and letter identification. Finally, while dyslexia is a permanent neurological condition, it is still possible to relieve its symptoms. Some tools for children and their parents are audiobooks, typing instead of writing, useful mobile applications that foster development, and some other interventions.
Alonzo, C. N., McIlraith, A. L., Catts, H. W., & Hogan, T. P. (2020). Predicting dyslexia in children with developmental language disorder. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 63(1), 151-162. Web.
Caplain, J. (2018). The ultimate book for overcoming dyslexia – tools for kids, teenagers & adults: A dyslexia empowerment plan & solutions tool kit for tutors and parents to provide dyslexia help for kids & adults. Journal Publishing Group.
Evans, T. M., Flowers, D. L., Napoliello, E. M., & Eden, G. F. (2014). Sex-specific gray matter volume differences in females with developmental dyslexia. Brain Structure and Function, 219, 1041–1054. Web.
Kossowski, B., Chyl, K., Kacprzak, A., Bogorodzki, P., & Jednoróg, K. (2019). Dyslexia and age-related effects in the neurometabolites concentration in the visual and temporo-parietal cortex. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1-11. Web.