Nigeria

Dyslexia Nigeria defines dyslexia as follows:

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that affects all the skills required for reading, writing and spelling.
It may be compounded by poor working memory, poor processing speed, poor organization and poor concentration.

Dyslexia is not a medical problem according to the Director of Dyslexia Nigeria. It is actually a learning difference. There is currently no law that states that all schools should do universal screening for children in their schools. And although in 2018, the Lagos State Office for Education Quality Assurance asked Dyslexia Nigeria to present a proposal to instruct teachers in schools about the basics of identifying dyslexia, it was stated that 90% of all Nigerian teachers know nothing about dyslexia. Nor is there yet any legislation for accommodation. Another study though, in Oyo State, Nigeria, found that while there seemed to be no correlation between dyslexia awareness and teaching qualifications, 31% of teachers were “knowledgeable about dyslexia”. In one 2015 study, 23.3% of teachers had heard of dyslexia; 76.7% had not. 10% said they had taught dyslexic children; 90% said they had not.

Indeed, according to the Head of the Education Desk at the Guardian (Nigeria):

There are hundreds of thousands of dyslexic schoolchildren in Nigeria today subjected to ill treatment and stigmatisation largely due to ignorance and impatience of teachers and parents.

Dyslexia Nigeria provides training and workshops, screening, assessment, specialist tuition, intervention programme development, consultancy services, awareness campaigns and the provision of assistive resources for dyslexics in their drive to raise awareness and provision for those with the condition. They offer online screening, and a programme that claims to help with working memory issues.

90% of Nigerian teachers do not know about dyslexia

Teacher ignorance of dyslexia is hardly surprising. Dyslexia is not officially recognised at all levels in Nigerian government, and the country, divided into 36 states with Abuja being the country‘s capital, has a literacy rate of about 50%. Although this is one of the highest in Africa, it’s still a contributing factor in the lack of awareness among professionals. In 1950, UNESCO estimated that the illiteracy rate in Nigeria was about 84%, and in 1994, 68%. As with many developing nations, the prevalence of illiteracy in Nigeria is the effect of several isolated and interrelated factors such as geographical distribution, government involvement, economic challenges, funding, and the value placed on education.

In Nigeria today, many individuals with disabilities are not being educated in schools, partly due to the very low level of importance attached to educating the less able, and partly due to the lack of diversity awareness. Unfortunately, in many cases, the Nigerian situation is such that traditionally, children with disabilities have been kept at home and many have been denied access to formal education on the misconception that they are not able to be educated.

Another study in Nasarawa State (which at the time of the study, in 2015, had no firm statistical evidence of the prevalence of dyslexia) found that the lack of any extensive understanding of disability and disability rights has impacted negatively on inclusive practices and the perceived understanding of who is deemed able to be educated. About 60% of the pupils have some form of learning difficulties as noted by their teachers, but these teachers are seldom aware of dyslexia, and they always experience learning difficulties with pupils.

Negative public attitudes towards disability have been identified as the biggest obstacle to disabled people’s meaningful inclusion into mainstream
community life in general.

The Dyslexia Foundation of Nigeria defines dyslexia as:

A neurologically based and often unfamiliar disorder which interferes with the acquisition and processing of language, which varies in degrees of severity. It manifests in difficulty in receptive and expressive language including reading, writing, spelling, handwriting, comprehension and sometimes attention [ADD and ADHD].

They add that dyslexia is not a “lack of motivation, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities or other limiting conditions, as many parents tend to believe”, but may occur with these conditions.

They go on to say:

It is also not Autism, ADHD, ADD but may be a fallout of these conditions. This means that one can be autistic but not dyslexic. It may show up as a problem of listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling comprehension and computation, despite some specific and innate intelligence.

SUMMARY OF WARNING SIGNS (according to the Dyslexia Foundation):

Speech delay

Inability to read at a particular age compared to age mates

Inability to write legibly

Inability to comprehend a read piece to answer questions

Taking too long on assignments and home work, including any expected academic work,

Taking too long to carry out or deliver a task in the workplace

Dr Onyenachi Ada Ajoku-Christopher writes:

Dyslexia is an experience that arises out of natural human diversity on the one hand and a world on the other where the early learning of literacy and good personal organisation and working memory is mistakenly used as a marker of ̳intelligence. The problem here is seeing difference incorrectly as deficit.

A lack of dyslexia awareness in the broader West African region however means that be it a difficulty, a disability, a deficit, or a difference, it is yet to be officially acknowledged as a specific learning difficulty / disability in Nigeria.

According to the Dyslexia Foundation of Nigeria, 20% of Nigeria’s 160 million population may well have dyslexia. The chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dyslexia Foundation, Ben Arikpo, said about 33.3% of Nigerian children have the condition, although Dr Adrienne Tikolo, Director of Dyslexia Nigeria, agreed with Dr Onyenachi Ada Ajoku-Christopher who said there’s no actual data to categorically confirm or deny these figures.

See for instance:
>>allafrica.com/stories/201809010016.html
>>dyslexianigeria.com/
>>dyslexianigeria.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/DN-Brochure_vs-3.pdf
>>dyslexiafoundation.org.ng/
>>premiumtimesng.com/health/health-news/290048-32-million-nigerians-struggle-with-learning-disorder-foundation.html
>>ajol.info/index.php/afrrev/article/view/77060
>>guardian.ng/features/dyslexia-and-the-challenge-of-teachers-parents/
>>guardian.ng/features/education/90-of-nigerian-teachers-do-not-know-about-dyslexia/
>>dyslexia-and-literacy.international/more-encouraging-news-from-nigeria/?doing_wp_cron=1591273493.9807679653167724609375
>>dyslexia-and-literacy.international/focus-on-nigeria/?doing_wp_cron=1591273538.2196888923645019531250
>>researchgate.net/publication/301284556_Understanding_Dyslexia
>>academia.edu/14346806/Dyslexia_awearness_and_its_impact_on_inclusive_learning_in_selected_primary_schools_in_Doma_Local_Government_Area_Nasarawa_State?auto=download
>>tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/18146627.2017.1302308?needAccess=true&journalCode=raer20
>>researchgate.net/publication/324979855_Equitable_School_Library_Services_for_Students_with_Dyslexia_in_Nigeria
>>researchgate.net/publication/301284556_Understanding_Dyslexia
>>pdfs.semanticscholar.org/153f/d4a6653fe388990a5ba78cfc56d84ae98d6a.pdf