What is dyslexia?
According to the US department of education, dyslexia is a type of learning difficulty identifiable as a developmental difficulty of language learning and cognition.
It is a learning difficulty which primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling such as phonological awareness.
What causes dyslexia?
The exact cause of dyslexia is still uncertain. However, there has been research findings suggest that it might be associated to neurological differences which may tend to run in the family. Despite it being a neurological condition, one must not that dyslexia is not linked to intelligence.
However, these differences in the brain are likely to influence the way dyslexics think, learn and process information, and they often show weaknesses in
- Phonological processing
- Ability to learn the relationships between letters and sounds (phonics)
- Ability to hold information in their short-term memory and then manipulating that information, such as working on mental arithmetic or remembering a long list of instructions
Deficits as a dyslexic
The primary deficit that is associated with dyslexia is the lack of phonological awareness. It is the awareness that words, both written and spoken, can be broken down into smaller units of sounds and that letters constituting the printed word represent the sounds heard in the spoken word (Hardin-Simmons University, 2016).
Some characteristic features of dyslexia are
- difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and processing speed. Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.
Symptoms of Dyslexia
- Inaccurate and inefficient single word recognition, phonologically and sight reading
- Difficulty in sounding out or decoding of unfamiliar words
- Inaccurate spelling of words
At preschool and kindergarten age, children are developing the oral language foundation which is necessary for learning to read and understand the world around them. Some red flags which can be a sign of possible difficulties for the acquisition of reading are:
- Delay in talking/speaking
- Difficulty in recognising and producing rhymes
- Difficulty in remembering rote information such as phone numbers and addresses
- Difficulty remembering and following directions.
- Confusing small words, such as at and to
- Letter reversals, such as d for b
Other language related characteristics which may be seen:
- Difficulty in finding the correct spoken word or rapidly retrieving names
- Difficulty in repeating and pronouncing words accurately
- Difficulty with verbal short-term memory