The film Taare Zameen Par by Amir Khan, inspired me to look into learning disabilities in children that may easily get passed off as them just misbehaving and choosing not to listen. In this film, the main character Ishaan is an 8 year old boy who is considered lazy and a troublemaker who shows no interest in school. At first, you just assume that he is just a naughty boy who would rather do his own thing than listen to any adult. The first red flag I noticed while watching the film was that he did not know how to read, but he was already 8 years old. He struggled to answer simple math, concentrate on his school work, and pay attention to what the teacher was saying. His mind always wondered.
Later, due to a patient and compassionate teacher, you find out that Ishaan suffers from dyslexia. He does not pay attention in school because he simply does not understand the language or numbers. In his mind, the words in front of him might as well be a language he has never seen before because they are just characters that make no sense to him. Throughout the film you see how many adults lacked patience with him and never cared to understand why he was not learning at the same pace as the others. Everyone just assumed that he was a bad kid and did not care to look into his struggles. Even his father lacked patience with him and refused to believe that he had an issue. He thought Ishaan was just lazy and needed to grow up.
Most people are not taught to look for signs when a child is not learning something at the same rate as others or is struggling to do something that may seem simpler for other children. It is common for people to assume the child is just being naughty or lazy. If a child shows no other sign of disability, then why would anyone assume the child has a problem? It is ignorant to think if a child does not look like they have a disability, then clearly they don’t. This is how so many signs get missed and swept to the side.
This is how Ishaan was able to skate through school at the age of eight and still not be capable of reading. I can admit that before I did my research I did not know what dysgraphia was. I didn’t even know that there was a disability that caused a child to not be able to hold a pencil correctly, which also correlated with them not being able to properly write a sentence. This makes me wonder how many children are out there that are struggling to hold a pencil the right way and people assume that they are just sloppy writers or that they just might be right-handed, instead of left-handed.
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