Dyslexia Defined

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a brain-based learning disorder characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, poor spelling, and decoding abilities. These challenges are primarily due to a deficit in the phonological component of language and are often unexpected in relation to the individual’s cognitive abilities and the quality of classroom instruction received. Dyslexia is not caused by problems with intelligence, hearing, or vision. People with dyslexia may also struggle with reading comprehension and other language-related skills such as writing and spelling.

Dyslexia is not an illness that can be cured by medicine, however, early assessment and intervention can significantly improve outcomes.

Signs of Dyslexia in Children

Dyslexia can be hereditary, and specific genetic factors may increase the likelihood of developing the condition.

Effective support, such as specialized education programs and emotional support, is crucial for helping individuals with dyslexia succeed academically and personally.

Dyslexia is the most common language-based learning difficulty and a common cause of failure in school. It occurs across a range of intellectual abilities.   It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category.  Undiagnosed early, individuals with dyslexia may be perceived as lazy, or unmotivated and often function significantly below their potential. Early identification is, therefore, key to early intervention.

 

 

 

A German Neurologist, Adolf Kusmuaul, in 1878 first referred to Dyslexia as “word blindness” In 1887 a German ophthalmologist, Rudolf Berlin, was the first to use the word ‘dyslexia’ in place of word blindness. 

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Delayed Speech Development:

  1. Late talking compared to peers.
  2. Difficulty pronouncing words correctly.

Learning Difficulties:

  1. Struggling to learn the alphabet, numbers, and days of the week.
  2. Difficulty rhyming words.

Reading Problems:

  1. Trouble recognizing letters and matching them to sounds.
  2. Reading well below the expected level for age.

        Confusing the order of letters in words.

Writing and Spelling Issues:

  1. Poor spelling, frequently misspelling words.
  2. Writing letters or words backwards (e.g., “b” for “d” or “saw” for “was”).

 Memory and Cognitive Challenges:

  1. Difficulty remembering sequences, such as the alphabet.
  2. Problems following multiple instructions.

Attention and Behavioral Signs:

  1. Avoiding activities that involve reading.
  2. Behavioral issues stemming from frustration with learning.
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Signs of Dyslexia in Teens and Adults

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Speech and Language Issues:

  1. Problems finding the right word or forming answers to questions.
  2. Mispronouncing words or naming objects incorrectly.

General Learning and Organizational Skills:

  1. Struggling with note-taking and writing essays.
  2. Issues with organization and time management

   Reading and Writing Challenges:

  1. Reading slowly and with difficulty.
  2. Avoiding reading and writing tasks.
  3. Difficulty summarizing a story.

Spelling and Grammar Problems:

  1.  Poor spelling skills.
  2.  Problems with grammar and organizing written work       

Memory and Cognitive Difficulties:

  1. Trouble remembering names or lists.
  2. Difficulty with tasks that involve time management.
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Other Facts about Dyslexia

  1. It is a genetic-specific learning disorder that runs in families.  It is inherited
  2. It is best thought of as a continuum existing from mild to severe
  3. It is independent of social and economic factors or intelligence
  4. It is not an illness
  5. Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing, and spelling difficulty
  6. Dyslexia is not overgrown, it is lifelong, however, early identification and appropriate intervention methods can help overcome the difficulties.
  7. Dyslexia does not respond to conventional teaching methods, but individuals with dyslexia can achieve and even like reading if taught using a multi-sensory Structured Literacy Method.
  8. Dyslexia is not discriminatory; it cuts across people of all economic levels
  9. Dyslexia is not uncommon. Between 5-10% of people have dyslexia 
  10. Famous dyslexic people include Richard Branson, Will Smith, and Tom Cruise, among others

Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders That can co-occur with Dyslexia

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. 

Individuals with ADHD may have difficulty focusing, organizing tasks, and controlling impulses.

Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability that affects a person’s ability to understand and work with numbers.

Individuals with dyscalculia may struggle with basic arithmetic, understanding mathematical concepts, and performing mathematical operations.

Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing abilities.  Individuals with dysgraphia may have difficulties with handwriting, spelling, and expressing thoughts in writing. It can also impact fine motor skills related to writing

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD): 

APD is a condition that affects the way the brain processes auditory information.  Individuals with APD may have difficulty recognizing and interpreting sounds, which can impact language development, reading, and listening comprehension.

Language Processing Disorder: 

This disorder affects the ability to assign meaning to spoken and written language. Individuals with language processing disorder may struggle with understanding and using language effectively, which can impact communication and academic performance

 

 

 

Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD): 

NVLD is a condition characterized by strong verbal skills but challenges in non-verbal areas such as visual-spatial relationships, motor skills, and social interactions.  Individuals with NVLD may struggle with tasks that involve spatial reasoning and may face difficulties in social situations

Intellectual Disabilities

Intellectual disabilities involve limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviours. These limitations affect an individual’s ability to learn and apply new skills, and they may require ongoing support in various areas of life.

 

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