Australian Dyslexia Association Inc.(ADA) - Solutions for those who learn differently

What is dyslexia?


 What is dyslexia?
The student who struggles with reading and spelling often puzzles teachers and parents. The student receives the same classroom instruction as other students,but continues to struggle with some or all of the many facets of reading and spelling.This student may have dyslexia.
What are the primary symptoms of dyslexia?

The primary symptoms are:

Problems learning the letter sounds for reading and spelling

Difficulty in reading single words,such as on flash cards and in lists (decoding)

Lack of fluency

Reading slowly with many mistakes

Poor spelling

Poor visual gestalt / coding (orthographic coding)

Understanding dyslexia:

Dyslexia is not a disease! The word dyslexia comes from the Greek language and means difficulty with words. Individuals with dyslexia have trouble with aspects of reading, spelling and writing.

Dyslexia and reading difficulties are on a Continuum:

Dyslexia occurs on a continuum from mild to severe and no two are alike. There is no cure for dyslexia since it is neurobiological, however with appropriate evidenced based instruction aimed towards their learning needs they can learn and succeed.

Central Difficulty:

A student with dyslexia will have a particular difficulty with single word reading networks that are brain based (neurological). Individuals with dyslexia often are able to access higher level language skills to support their reading of connected text (stories) and this ability to 'compensate' may mask their underlying difficulties with single word reading (decoding).The central difficulty for a student with dyslexia is to convert letter symbols to their correct sound (decode) and convert sounds to their correct written symbol(spell). Research into dyslexia subtypes indicates that poor visual (i.e., orthographic) coding can also be part of the difficulty.

What causes dyslexia?

Dyslexia is:

Highly hereditary.

A difference in the way the brain processes

Challenges in the development of phonological awareness

"Paying attention to empowerment,emotional intelligence and self esteem is vital when it comes to dyslexia and associated reading challenges". Jodi Clements

Strengths of dyslexia:

Research has indicated that we should be wary about automatically assuming that language processing difficulties/differences associated with dyslexia are deficits. Some of the differences that individuals with dyslexia display may actually confer advantages for some kinds of thinking or encourage them to find different paths to learning (Singleton)

The following are some of the strengths that individuals with dyslexia may display:

 Inquiring mind

 Problem Solving

 Comprehending new ideas

 Generating ideas

 Analytic thinking

 Creative thinking

 3-D construction

 Finding different strategies

 Seeing the big picture

 Insightful thinking


The Dyslexic Advantage Cognitive strengths of individuals with dyslexia:
Reference: Singleton (UK)


ADA Support the scientifc findings from Yale University:

Research findings on dyslexia and IQ tests (Psychometric assessment): In the past an intelligence test (psychometric assessment) was considered to be a necessary part of the evaluation because the diagnosis of a learning disability including dyslexia was based on finding a significant difference between IQ and reading skill. Poor achievement despite average or better intelligence was considered in the past a key indicator. Current regulations form the US no longer require that such a discrepancy be present when making a diagnosis. This change in the US regulations came about because many studies have shown that intelligence is not the best predictor of how easily a student will develop written language (reading and spelling) skills. Instead, oral language abilities (listening and speaking) are considered the best predictors of reading and spelling. Reference: IDA. 


The Australian Dyslexia Association agrees with valid peer reviewed reading research: that all children who struggle with written language require identification and evidence based teaching regardless of the underlying cause.