(Mr Davies is heard holding a phone conversation from his room)
“Okay doctor, I will be coming for the checkup later in the day” Mr Davies said, ending the call.
“Daddy, good morning” Tife greeted his father. “Oh, good morning my boy. How was your night?” Mr Davies replied. “My night was fine,” Tife answered reluctantly.
“I will be going to the hospital when I am done for the day at work for my medical check up” He told his son while leaving the living room to his bedroom. “Daddy, daddy I want to follow you too, I have been having this serious headache since last night” Tife said with a frown on his face. Mr Davies, feeling so worried on hearing that, looked back and said “Not again! Is it that serious?” “Yes dad it is, more serious than the other ones” Tife replied. “Have you taken paracetamol?” His dad asked. “Yes dad, I took it yesterday night before going to bed but it’s still aching me” Tife said, this time tears welled up in his eyes as he placed his hands on his head.
It was a Saturday morning, Mrs Davies had gone to the market to buy some foodstuffs for the house. Mr Davies called her and informed her to meet him at the hospital. At first, she was so worried. So many thoughts ran through her mind; “could it be that my husband’s mother is dead?” He told me of her ill health last week or is it my child? my joy? my only son? _ọkọ mi_ ?” she hurriedly left the market after buying all she wanted. She even forgot to collect her balance from the tomato seller because of how tensed she was.
“So doctor, what do you think is the cause of his headache?” Mr Davies asked. It could be a neurological problem although not precisely until a test is being conducted then we can fully ascertain the cause of the headache. However, I will love to ask you a few questions as his father.” “Yes doctor, you can,” Mr Davies said.
“For how long have you noticed his headache?” Doctor Obi asked. “For a long time now, I remember last year during christmas he had a similar kind of headache but when we administered paracetamol to him, he was relieved in an hour. Apart from then, he has always been having constant headaches while growing as a child.” Mr Davies replied. “Hmm… noted sir” Doctor Obi commented.
“What are the actual causes of this headache?” Doctor Obi asked further. “Apart from when he says he feels dizzy, he complains most of the time while reading. I don’t understand it, sometimes I just think he is being too lazy to read. He would rather watch TV programmes especially debate TV programmes for kids than to study when he gets back from school. His teachers have complained so much of his poor performance in school, his mother and I have tried our possible best yet we get the same result from him” Mr Davies replied feeling a bit disappointed. “Hmmm… I really understand how you feel sir, but it is not really his fault” Doctor Obi said to brighten his countenance.
“Ehennn… so whose fault is it?” Mr Davies said with so much eagerness to discover what’s really wrong with his son, Tife.
“Tife, is it true that you feel this pain mostly when you read?” The doctor asked with a calm voice. “Yes doctor, it makes me find it difficult to continue with my reading.” Tife spoke honestly. “What else?” The doctor asked to inquire more about the cause of the headache. “I also noticed that while reading it seems like the letters are moving and some of them are upside down. I really don’t see them clearly so I try to read slowly and aloud. I still don’t fully understand and can’t remember what I read,” Tife said looking so gloomy.
“Sir, the truth is your son is exhibiting symptoms of a neurological condition called dyslexia.” At this moment, Mrs Davies was already in the hospital heading to the doctor’s office as directed by one of the nurses. “Yes sir, it’s a neurological…” Doctor Obi just said as Mrs Davies immediately opened the door and rushed to hug her son. “Yes doctor it is neurological what? I heard neurological, what have they done to my child o” she said with so much unrest while sweating profusely.
(Mr Davies stands up places his hand over his wife’s shoulder while calming her down to sit and listen to the doctor)
Dyslexia is the most common learning disability amongst children. It is a learning disorder. Judging from my examination on your child and from my experience as a medical doctor for the past 10 years I can tell you that this boy is dyslexic but it’s not a death sentence rather should anyone do anything to lower his morale down; it will only worsen condition, Doctor Obi said to Tife’s advised.
“That Tife is dyslexic, has nothing to do with his intelligence,” Doctor Obi mentioned. “Ah! Doctor, is that so? the teacher said he will be repeating primary six. A child repeating a class, doesn’t it have everything to do with intelligence?” Mrs Davies interrupted with so much pain in her heart. “Yes madam, it does but not totally. Listening to Tife today, I perceive intelligence. He is highly intelligent. I want you, the parents, to begin to acknowledge that and build up a high self esteem for this child, ” The doctor said.
“Now that it has been diagnosed early it will be easier for him to catch up and begin to smash his subjects very well in school and prove his ability in learning, reading, writing and even pronunciation of words” Doctor Obi said with such a reassuring smile on his face. This made Tife who was looking so gloomy smile so radiantly that his mother had to smile back at him. “He will not lose interest in learning anymore provided you help him as his parents and he gets help from his teachers as well. The both of you and his teachers are very necessary in his life at this moment” Doctor Obi concluded.
“Thank you so much doctor, ” Mr. Davies said. So doctor, what of the drugs we will give to him, Mrs Davies asked, feeling much relaxed. Doctor Obi replied saying, “No ma, there is no need for drugs. I have diagnosed him already by the questions I have asked him. One thing you must know is that Dyslexia is not a disease and it has no cure but it can be treated. Treatment is easy if detected early just like Tife’s case. Tife’s learning disorder is 100% able to be corrected.”
To be continued….
University of Lagos, Lagos State, NIGERIA