What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia can be said to be an unexpected and persistent challenge with acquiring and using written language.
Dyslexia is increasingly being seen as a difference in language and cognition -Singleton
Dyslexia is not a disease! The word dyslexia comes from the Greek language and means difficulty with words.
Individuals with dyslexia have trouble with reading and spelling despite having the ability to learn. Individuals with dyslexia can learn, they just learn in a different way. Often these individuals,who have talented and productive minds, are said to have a language learning difference.
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 a brain based difference, however with appropriate instruction aimed towards their learning needs, most can overcome their literacy difficulties and lead productive lives.
A student with dyslexia will have a particular difficulty with single word reading networks that are brain based (neurological). Dyslexia is not a problem with comprehension. Individuals with dyslexia are able to use 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?
A difference in the way the brain works
Problems in the development of phonological awareness
What are the primary indicators of dyslexia?
Problems learning the letter sounds for reading (decoding) and spelling (encoding)
Difficulty in reading single words, such as on flash cards and in lists (decoding)
Lack of accuracy and fluency when attempting to read (and decode)
Reading slowly with many mistakes
Poor visual gestalt / coding (orthographic coding)
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:
The ADA supports the Difference Theory, that is that we need to be careful assuming that challenges in language and literacy equate to innate challenges in other areas. The Difference Theory is producing more and more research that individuals with dyslexia can and do have remarkable abilities in other areas.
Often individuals with dyslexia are very capable so whilst the challenges need to be addressed, there is a very high need to identify and cultivate their strengths whilst minimising their weaknesses ADA
Research has indicated that we should be wary about automatically assuming that language processing difficulties/differences or cognitive difficulties/differences associated with dyslexia are deficits. Some of the cognitive differences that dyslexic individuals display may actually confer advantages for some kinds of thinking or encourage them to find different paths to learning.
The following are some of the strengths that individuals with dyslexia may display:
Comprehending new ideas
Generating ideas Analytic thinking
Finding different strategies
Seeing the big picture
References: Singleton, The Dyslexic Advantage, The Difference Theory (Dr. G.Sherman and Associates)