Dyslexia at a Glance:
Definition of Dyslexia
According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is "a specific leaning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge."
Common Signs of Dyslexia (REF: International Dyslexia Association)
The problems displayed by individuals with dyslexia involve difficulties in acquiring and using language--reading and writing letters in the wrong order is just one manifestation of dyslexia and does not occur in all cases. Other problems experienced by people with dyslexia may include:
Not all individuals who have difficulties with these skills are dyslexic. Formal testing is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.
Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence or laziness. It is also not the result of impaired vision. Children and adults with dyslexia simply have a neurological disorder that causes their brains to process and interpret information differently.
Dyslexia occurs among people of all economic and ethnic backgrounds. Often more than one member of a family has dyslexia. According to the National Institute of Child and Human Development, as many as 15 percent of Americans have major difficulties with reading. Much of what happens in a classroom is based on reading and writing. So it's important to identify dyslexia as early as possible. Using alternate learning methods, people with dyslexia can achieve success.
How Is Dyslexia Identified? Trained professionals can identify dyslexia using a formal evaluation. This looks at a person's ability to understand and use spoken and written language. It looks at areas of strength and weakness in the skills that are needed for reading. It also takes into account many other factors. These include family history, intellect, educational background, and social environment.
Use the following strategies to help to make progress with dyslexia.
Expose your child to early oral reading, writing, drawing, and practice to encourage development of print knowledge, basic letter formation, recognition skills and linguistic awareness (the relationship between sound and meaning).
Have your child experience different kinds of texts. This includes books, magazines, ads and comics. Include multi-sensory, structured language instruction.
Practice using sight, sound and touch when introducing new ideas. Seek accommodations in the classroom.
This might include extra time to complete assignments, help with note taking, oral testing and other means of assessment. Use assistive technology, such as screen readers and voice recognition computer software.
Reading and writing are key skills for daily living. However, it is important to also emphasize other aspects of learning and expression. Like all people, those with dyslexia enjoy activities that tap into their strengths and interests. For example, people with dyslexia may be attracted to fields that do not emphasize academic language skills. Examples are design, art, architecture, engineering and surgery.