Q: What Is Dyslexia?
A: Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin.
It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and / or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002. This Definition is also used by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Studies show that individuals with dyslexia process information in a different area of the brain than do non-dyslexics.
Many people who are dyslexic are of average to above average intelligence.
What Are the Signs of Dyslexia?
The problems displayed by individuals with dyslexia involve difficulties in acquiring and using language—reading and writing letters in the wrong order is just one manifestation of dyslexia and does not occur in all cases. Other problems experienced by dyslexics include:
- Learning to speak
- Organizing written and spoken language
- Learning letters and their sounds
- Memorizing number facts
- Learning a foreign language
- Correctly doing math operations
Not all individuals who have difficulties with these skills are dyslexic. Formal testing is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.
Signs of dyslexia in young, preschool children include talking later than expected, a slowness to add new words, difficulty rhyming, and trouble following multistep directions. After a child begins school, the signs of dyslexia include:
- Difficulty reading single words, such as a word on a flashcard
- Difficulty learning the connection between letters and sounds
- Confusing small words, such as at and to
- Letter reversals, such as d for b
- Word reversals, such as tip for pit
Having one of these signs does not mean your child has dyslexia; many children reverse letters before the age of 7. But, if several signs exist and reading problems persist, or if you have a family history of dyslexia, you may want to have your child evaluated.
Elementary Aged Children
Does Your 1st, 2nd or 3rd-Grader:
- Remember simple sequences such as counting to 20, naming the days of the week, or reciting the alphabet?
- Have an understanding of rhyming words, such as knowing that fat rhymes with cat?
- Recognize words that begin with the same sound (for example, that bird, baby, and big all start with b)?
- Easily clap hands to the rhythm of a song?
- Frequently use specific words to name objects rather than words like “stuff” and “that thing”?
- Easily remember spoken directions?
- Remember names of places and people?
- Show understanding of right-left, up-down, front-back?
- Sit still for a reasonable period of time?
- Make and keep friends easily?
Answering “no” to some or most of these questions may indicate a learning disability. Not all students who have difficulties with these skills are dyslexic. Formal testing is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.
-International Dyslexia Association
“To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often” Winston Churchill