Dyslexic but not Deterred

Published by: The Star
Written by: Rowena Chua

WRITING emails is part and parcel of one’s professional life. It is simple and straightforward but it takes Taylor’s University School of Education head Dr Logendra Stanley Ponniah (pic) twice or thrice the duration needed by his colleagues to do so.

His process involves tools like a spell checker, a speech-to-text application and a text-to-speech reader.

The reason for the hassle is that he has dyslexia, a condition that he has had to live with for 51 years.

Growing up, Logendra struggled with spelling, reading and writing so much so that he was always “the last boy in the last class” in his exam performance, he told StarEdu.

Thinking that he was simply not applying himself, his parents and teachers gave him a hard time.

“I got a lot of scolding and punishment. I was asked to be more hardworking and to do spelling every day, ” he recalled, adding that there was a lack of understanding of dyslexia as a problem among students in the late 80s to 90s.

“The common notion when you misspell a word is that you are lazy to memorise. Spelling is not something you learn. It’s an audio-visual connection. Being a dyslexic, that part of the brain is not well connected, ” he said.

Secondary school with its “very text-centric” exams posed a bigger challenge for Logendra.

“If you spell a word, for example hydrogen, wrongly, your answer is considered wrong from the teacher’s perspective, even though you know the answer. That’s the style of marking, ” he lamented.

It was only when he was studying in the United States in the early 90s – he failed his SPM so he couldn’t gain admission to a public university in Malaysia – that the riddle of his learning difficulty was solved.

One of Logendra’s lecturers recognised the possibility that he may be dyslexic and suggested that he go for a diagnostic assessment. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Ashton Kutcher’s Brother Was ‘Very Angry’ When Actor Said He Had Cerebral Palsy

Published by: Complex Magazine
Written by: Mackenzie Cummings-Grady

In an exclusive interview with Today, Ashton Kutcher’s twin brother Michael explained that he was “very angry” with the actor after he revealed his condition on national TV.

“I was very angry. Very angry. I remember speaking to him about it,” Michael said. “I didn’t wanna be the face of CP. I never talked about it.” While he was initially mad, Michael says he now views the moment as a blessing. “[He] did me the biggest favor he’s ever done because he allowed me to be myself.” Michael is currently involved in activism with the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and has received countless amounts of praise from his brother. “My brother’s daily actions remind me that life isn’t about running around challenges – it’s about running through them,” Ashton told Today. ”Mike has a relentless work ethic and deep compassion for others.”

The pair were very close as kids, with Ashton often coming to Michael’s defense when it came to bullying. “I had all of the stereotypes that come with having a disability,” Michael said. “I was called every name in the book on the playground. I had difficulty making friends. But I had Chris there to help me and support me,” (Chris is Ashton’s first name).  Click here to read the rest of the story.

Pica and Autism: What you should know

Published by: Autism Parenting Magazine
Written by: Claire Delano

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably seen your child put something in his/her mouth that isn’t food. During the mouthing stage before the age of two, it’s normal for curious babies to try and chew on just about everything. But when children try to actually eat non-food items past this stage of development, they may have an eating disorder known as pica (pronounced “pie-kuh”).

Pica is a dangerous, potentially life-threatening behavior for anyone. Depending on what objects are ingested, young children may face nutritional deficiencies, choking, poisoning, parasites, blood infections, intestinal blockages or perforations, etc. These problems can require hospital visits, surgery, and may even cause death.

In this article, we’ll explore what exactly pica is, what may cause it, and how you can help your child with autism if it’s something he/she struggles with. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Hyposensitivity among Autistic Individuals

Published by: Autism Parenting Magazine
Written by: Yolande Loftus

When searching for information about your autistic child’s sensory challenges you may find many articles about hypersensitivity. But what about hyposensitivity, and the accompanying sensory seeking behavior of a child who finds the world an underwhelming place?

As research discovers more about the autistic brain, we can’t help but marvel at some of the skills and strengths that underlie the neurodivergent mind. One the other hand, research is also delving deeper into just how the deficits and symptoms of autism may lead to difficulties experienced in everyday life.

For those on the spectrum, sensory difficulties may be some of the most challenging symptoms to manage. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input is one of the ways in which restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior may manifest.

Another core impairment of autism is communication. When you consider the reality of an autistic child’s life, with sensory difficulties and deficits in communication, it may be deduced that he/she might experience sensory challenges and lack the necessary communication skills to express such discomfort (for example a lack of tactile stimuli) with parents or caregivers. Click here to read the rest story.

In case of emergency: ID bands offer extra protection for people with disabilities

Published by: Record-eagle
Written by: Sarah Elms

Peace of mind. That’s what medical identification bracelets bring to Becky and Michael Dornoff.

“We have a number of severely disabled children. We thought it was a really good idea for their safety,” Becky Dornoff said.

The Williamsburg couple’s children are among more than 100 community members with intellectual and developmental disabilities now sporting bracelets that display emergency contacts and medical information. The recent distribution was made possible by Roger and Elaine Loeffelbein, who donated the ID bands to interested families.

“We feel like they’re a lot more safe now,” Becky Dornoff said. “Things happen that you just don’t expect.”

An unexpected incident is what prompted the Loeffelbeins to take action in the first place.

Their son Mark Loeffelbein, 50, was riding his bicycle in June when he was struck by a motorist and badly injured. He told first responders not to take him to the hospital, but he doesn’t have the ability to make his own medical decisions.

Loeffelbein has Williams syndrome — a genetic condition that causes developmental delays, learning disabilities and cardiovascular complications — and Roger Loeffelbein is his legal guardian.

The emergency responders didn’t know about his syndrome, so they let him go home when he should have been hospitalized.

The Loeffelbeins were shaken from the incident. They called on Grand Traverse Industries, local law enforcement, emergency medical services, Disability Network Northern Michigan, Northern Lakes Community Mental Health, Munson Medical Center and local probate courts to come up with a plan to make sure what happened to their son wouldn’t happen again.  Click here to read the rest of the story