Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects a person’s ability to read, write and spell. It is a neurological condition that affects the way the brain processes language. Dyslexia is not related to intelligence, as many people with dyslexia have average or above-average intelligence. However, it can significantly impact a person’s academic performance, self-esteem, and social interactions. We look more broadly at learning difficulties, and their different types, in this linked article. If their issues seem to be more linked with numbers that letters it could be that they have a form of dyscalculia.
The exact causes of dyslexia are not fully understood, but research suggests that it is a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Dyslexia tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic component. Brain imaging studies have shown that people with dyslexia have differences in the way their brains process language, specifically in the areas responsible for decoding and recognizing words.
Symptoms of dyslexia vary, but typically include difficulties with reading, writing, and spelling. People with dyslexia may struggle to recognize words and have difficulty decoding them. They may also have difficulty with phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in spoken language. This can lead to problems with reading comprehension and spelling.
Dyslexia is a lifelong condition, but with the right support, people with dyslexia can achieve academic and professional success. Diagnosis typically involves a comprehensive evaluation by a trained professional, such as a neuropsychologist or educational psychologist. Treatment often includes specialized reading instruction, such as phonics-based approaches, as well as accommodations and modifications to support academic and work performance.
It is important to note that dyslexia is not a reflection of a person’s intelligence or work ethic. Rather, it is a neurological condition that affects the way the brain processes language. By raising awareness and providing appropriate support, we can help individuals with dyslexia to reach their full potential. There are many different types of intelligence but dyslexia can often mask the great strengths in others.
Are There Different Forms of Dyslexia?
Dyslexia, like learning difficulties, is often used as a collective term.
It’s worth noting that some researchers and professionals may use different terminology or categorizations for dyslexia. Additionally, many individuals with dyslexia may experience a combination of these different types, and treatment and accommodations should be tailored to the individual’s specific needs. The table below gives more clarity, however it would take a qualified professional to make a diagnosis.
|Type of Dyslexia||Description and symptoms|
|Phonological dyslexia||Difficulty with phonemic awareness and decoding words, particularly in reading aloud|
|Surface dyslexia||Difficulty with recognizing and recalling irregularly spelled words, such as “yacht” or “colonel”|
|Rapid naming deficit dyslexia||Difficulty with rapid naming tasks, such as naming letters, numbers, or colors quickly and accurately|
|Double deficit dyslexia||Difficulty with both phonological awareness and rapid naming tasks|
|Visual dyslexia||Difficulty with visual perception and visual memory, making it hard to recognize words and letters|
|Auditory dyslexia||Difficulty with processing and interpreting auditory information, particularly in distinguishing between sounds in words|
|Attentional dyslexia||Difficulty with sustaining attention and concentration, making it hard to focus on reading|
|Orthographic dyslexia||Difficulty with visual memory of letter patterns, making it hard to recognize words|
|Developmental dyslexia||A general term used to describe dyslexia that occurs during the developmental stages of reading and writing|
Is It Possible to Diagnose Dyslexia at Home?
The short answer is no. Dyslexia is a complex disorder that requires a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified professional, such as a neuropsychologist or educational psychologist. A diagnosis of dyslexia typically involves a range of assessments that evaluate reading, writing, spelling, phonological awareness, rapid naming, and other cognitive abilities that are related to reading.
It’s important to note that dyslexia cannot be self-diagnosed or diagnosed by a non-professional. While there are online assessments and quizzes that claim to diagnose dyslexia, these tests are not reliable or valid and should not be used to make a diagnosis.
If you think your child may have a form of dyslexia the first port of school must be the school.
What if I Disagree With the School or It Is Not Moving Fast Enough?
A common opinion of parents is that schools do not move fast enough, or even do not seem to care. It is simply the case that in many countries the service is over run. The best thing to do for the outset is have a constructive and positive relationship with the school. Rather than try and dictate what they should do try and work with them.
In the event that the school do not seem to moving quickly enough I would suggest, if possible, paying for a private assessment. Even if it is private assessment, if a learning difficulty is diagnosed, the school must then act. The cost of these can be extortionate, however can save years of time. Make sure they are a qualified professional who is licensed to diagnose dyslexia, for example, but limited to, a neuropsychologist or educational psychologist. It is rarely teachers or SENCOs unless they have had additional training
What Are the Best Ways to Support a Child With Dyslexia?
There are many ways to support a child with dyslexia, and the best approach will depend on the individual child’s needs and strengths. Dyslexia, as with all learning difficulties, is a spectrum so not all require the same level of support. Here are some general strategies that can be effective if they are raised in discussion:
- Early intervention: Early detection and intervention can improve outcomes for children with dyslexia. If you suspect that your child may have dyslexia, seek out a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified professional as soon as possible.
- Multisensory instruction: Many children with dyslexia benefit from multisensory instruction, which involves using multiple senses to learn and practice reading and writing skills. This can include activities that involve touching, hearing, and seeing words and letters.
- Assistive technology: Assistive technology can be a valuable tool for children with dyslexia. This can include text-to-speech software, speech-to-text software, and other tools that can help with reading, writing, and organization.
- Accommodations: Accommodations can help children with dyslexia to succeed in school. Examples of accommodations include extra time on tests, preferential seating, and the use of assistive technology.
- Positive reinforcement: It’s important to provide positive reinforcement and encouragement to children with dyslexia. Focusing on their strengths and accomplishments can help to build their confidence and self-esteem.
- Individualized instruction: Children with dyslexia may benefit from individualized instruction that is tailored to their specific needs and learning style. This can involve working with a specialized tutor or teacher who has experience working with children with dyslexia. The increased use of AI in education is making it far easier to do this work at home yourself.
- Advocacy: It’s important to advocate for your child’s needs and rights. This can involve working with teachers, administrators, and other professionals to ensure that your child is receiving the appropriate support and accommodations.
Overall, it’s important to remember that each child with dyslexia is unique, and the best approach will depend on their individual strengths and needs. By providing the appropriate support and accommodations, children with dyslexia can achieve academic and professional success.
Final Thoughts on Dyslexia
All learning difficulties are complex and a spectrum. At the risk of repeating the key point again, if you think that your child might have these tendencies talk to the school. If the school raise it take it seriously. It is unlikely to just go away. Early intervention is important, even if unsure, due to the time a diagnosis takes.