All about Dyslexia
All about Dyslexia
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is thought of as letter reversals such as reading /b/ as /d/. For many years, before becoming a speech-language pathologist, even I thought so. But it is much more than that. Dyslexia is a difficulty in reading printed material. It is a type of learning disability. The individual may have difficulties in reading words, sentences, passages, and longer texts. Not only this. Because they have difficulty in reading, they also face difficulty in understanding what they read. Many individuals think that it is a problem of low intelligence. However, that is not the case. Individuals with dyslexia have a minimum of average intelligence.
Following are the common types of learning disabilities. Dyslexia is one of them. And also the most common one. Almost 80% of individuals with a learning disability are estimated to have dyslexia.
Causes of Dyslexia
It is commonly seen in families. Dyslexia may be associated with some genes inherited from parents. However, we do not know the exact cause of dyslexia.
Signs of Dyslexia
The signs of dyslexia usually start appearing when your child starts school. In other words, the signs appear at this age because it is at this stage that children learn to read. Thus, a child with dyslexia may show the following signs:
- Read and write alphabets or words very slowly
- Jumble the order of letters within a word
- Letter reversals such as writing “b” instead of “d”
- Spelling errors that are inconsistent
- Understand verbal information but have difficulty with written comprehension.
- Difficulty in following sequenced directions
- Difficulty in planning and organizing tasks
Characteristics by age
Dyslexia can present in various ways in different age groups. Some of the main characteristics are outlined below:
- Difficulty in pronouncing words properly.
- Difficulty in pronouncing long words
- Jumbling up words and phrases such as “won for now”
- Difficulty in using sentences
- Difficulty in understanding and using rhyming words
- Appropriate word-finding difficulty
- Difficulty in learning alphabets
- Spelling errors that are inconsistent
- Difficulty in learning sounds of the alphabets
- Difficulty with the order of the letters
- Slow reading and writing speeds.
- Errors while reading
- Difficulty in following order of directions
- Poor handwriting skills
- Poor phonological awareness and word attack skills
Teenagers and Adults
In addition to the above characteristics, older adults may present with the following difficulties as well:
- Difficulty in writing expression.
- Poorly organized writing skills
- Difficulty in planning and organizing written tasks like articles, letters, etc.
- Difficulty in revising content for exams
- Avoids reading and writing
- Difficulty in note-taking or copying
- Poor ability to memorize phone numbers or numerical data
- Difficulty in following deadlines
Individuals with dyslexia may have some associated problems which may be present such as:
- Difficulty with short term memory
- Difficulty with reading, writing & manipulation of numbers
- Limited attention span such as ADHD
- Poor time management skills
- Poor physical coordination problems like dyspraxia
The earlier a child with dyslexia is diagnosed, the more effective interventions are likely to be. However, identifying the disorder in young children can be difficult because the signs and symptoms are not always obvious. A dyslexia assessment can be carried out by a psychologist. In addition, they will be able to understand your child’s requirements and help you and the teachers support your child.
The assessment may involve observing your child in their learning environment, talking with key parents and teachers involved with your child’s learning, and asking your child to take some tests.
These tests will assess your child’s:
- reading and writing abilities
- language development and vocabulary
- logical reasoning and memory
- the speed they can process visual and auditory data
- organizational skills
After your child has been assessed, you will receive an assessment report that states their strengths and weaknesses, with recommendations of what could be done to improve areas they’re having difficulties with.
Dyslexia is a lifelong problem. So, there are various interventions that can help children with their reading and writing development. These interventions are generally most effective if they are started at a young age. The type and extent of intervention needed will depend on the severity of your child’s learning difficulties. A specific lesson plan is made and implemented for your child. The following professionals will help treat your child:
- Special Educators: They are the frontline of dyslexia management. They provide strategies for reading and writing comprehension and expression skills, spelling, and vocabulary. Special educators also implement multisensory strategies which make these skills easier to pick up for dyslexics.
- Psychologists: Offer advice and intervention to dyslexics, parents, and schools.
- Speech-Language Pathologists: Intervention using strategies to improve phonological skills, language skills, and spoken communication such as social-pragmatic issues.
- Occupational Therapist: To intervene in the social and practical skills that co-occur with the disorder.
- Physical Therapist: To intervene in the physical movement problems that co-occur with the disorder.
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