processing and recall of spoken
language may also be problem areas for the dyslexic. Research
suggests some dyslexics may have a reduced ability to
discriminate between similar sounds in words and may process
oral language more slowly than others.
While the common denominator among dyslexics is their
difficulty with language processing and learning, the effects of
dyslexia vary greatly from person to person, producing different
symptoms and varying degrees of severity. The most common trait
among people with dyslexia is that they read at levels
significantly lower than expected for people of their
intelligence and age.
What are the causes of dyslexia?
At the present time, the causes of dyslexia are unknown. It
is known to be neurologically based and a persistent, lifelong
condition. Dyslexia is often inherited and other family members
may have similar learning patterns. Recent research suggests
that some dyslexics may have a slight difference in brain
structure and functioning of the areas connected with language
learning. Other research suggests that some dyslexics may have a
reduced ability to process speech rapidly.
What are the characteristics of dyslexia?
- Reverses letters, words and numbers
- Confuses the order of letters in words
- Does not recognize words previously learned
- Spells a word several different ways without recognizing
- Does not hear fine differences in words; i.e. writes "pin"
- Confuses left and right; may write letters backwards
- Has poor reading comprehension
- Has difficulty carrying out a sequence of directions
- Experiences difficulty stating thoughts in an organized,
- Has difficulty pronouncing words, may reverse or
substitute parts of words
- Has difficulty remembering what has recently been read
- Has difficulty concentrating when reading or writing
- Demonstrates inability to discriminate between relevant
and irrelevant information
- Spells poorly; misspelling is illogical
- Has problems taking notes accurately
- Has difficulty organizing and completing written projects
Frequently, children may display many of these characteristics
while they are acquiring the basic skills of reading. However,
when a child exhibits severe difficulty learning basic reading
skills or demonstrates a high frequency of dyslexic
characteristics over a period of time, other instructional
options should be considered.
What is the benefit of educational evaluation?
It is extremely important that reading disorders be diagnosed
early. Research confirms that poor reading skills can be greatly
improved if addressed in the early primary grades. A child or
individual who is significantly behind his or her peers in
reading skills should receive a comprehensive educational
The results of the evaluation provide a profile of the child
s abilities and areas of academic strengths and needs. From this
information, a recommendation can be made regarding the teaching
method for the child. Once a child has been diagnosed with
dyslexia or a reading disability, he or she should receive
reading instruction from a reading specialist with expertise in
the area of reading disabilities. Skilled teaching and committed
learning can mitigate the effects of even the most severe
What type of education intervention is available?
Because they learn and process language differently,
dyslexics need special programs to learn reading, spelling and
writing skills. Current research suggests that a direct
instruction approach that utilizes a structured and cumulative
phonetic methodology is the best teaching method. Dyslexia and
reading disabilities can be helped, whatever the degree of
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Foundation for Learning
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