Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in children, and can hinder a child’s ability to read, write, spell, and sometimes speak. Dyslexia is caused by an impairment in the brain’s ability to translate images received from the eyes or ears into understandable language. It does not result from vision or hearing problems, mental retardation, brain damage, or a lack of intelligence.
The management of dyslexia includes an accurate diagnosis, identification of the specific learning disability of the child, and a team-work attempt to create optimum learning conditions and alternative avenues for academic performance.
The basic principles of Ayurvedic treatment can be put to judicious use in treating dyslexia. Brain dysfunction, which is the root cause of this condition, can be treated using medicines which improve the metabolism of the “Majja” dhatu in the body. Medicines useful in this condition are: Pancha-Tikta-Ghruta Guggulu, Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) and Musta (Cyperus rotundus).
In addition, Ayurveda mentions a category of medicines known as “Medhya”, which improve the working capacity of the brain. This category includes medicines like Mandukparni (Centella asiatica), Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Guduchi, Padma (Nelumbo nucifera), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Vacha (Acorus calamus) and Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis). Some of the more commonly used medicines are discussed below.
The memory-increasing property of Brahmi is well known. This herb has been safely used in children for prolonged periods and has shown improvement in exploratory drive, improved perceptual image of patterns, increased perceptual organization and reasoning ability. Mandukparni and Shankhpushpi are both well established as memory boosters in children. These medicines effectively improve the mind’s ability to recollect and remember things, and also relieve mental stress; and are hence usually given a few months before school examinations. Vacha is effective in reducing depression, is a powerful memory booster, and is specially known for its ability to increase speech capacity and coordination.
It is important to keep in mind that the above mentioned medicines need to be given for prolonged periods, usually from eighteen months to three years, to get good, tangible and lasting results. Treatment needs to be tailor-made according to the individual requirements of the affected child. It is advisable for parents to consult a suitably qualified and experienced physician on a long-term basis, and to avoid the temptation to treat their children on their own.