Dyslexia is a kind of reading difficulty that affects an estimated 17 percent of the population. Typically this difficulty involves difficulty decoding and encoding words. This often is because of a weak phonemic awareness that makes it difficult to hear the distinctions in sounds of language and connect sounds to letter combinations. While many think of dyslexia as a condition that causes people to read letters backwards, that is only one type of this reading difficulty.
According to the NCLD, As with other learning disabilities, dyslexia is a lifelong challenge. This language-based processing disorder can hinder reading, writing, spelling, and sometimes even speaking. Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence or laziness or the result of impaired hearing or vision. Children and adults with dyslexia have a neurological disorder that causes their brains to process and interpret information differently.
Some of the common symptoms of dyslexia include:
- Trouble rhyming words
- A weakness in spelling
- Does not want to read
- Reads slowly
- Does not write as much as others
- Cannot quickly recall letter sounds and sound combinations
- Has trouble decoding unfamiliar words
- Mixes up sounds when pronouncing words
- Handwriting is often poor or not legible
- Difficulty following a sequence of orders
- Not good at managing time
- Has trouble learning common word sequences, such as days of the week
According to Susan Barton, an expert in dyslexia and member of the International Dyslexia Hall of Fame, dyslexia affects one in five children and can range from mild to severe. In fact, some children with dyslexia may not be diagnosed early because they develop unique reading strategies that allow them to read lower level texts. Since dyslexia’s symptoms are connected with other learning disabilities and difficulties, many children will dyslexia are often diagnosed with other learning disabilities, such as ADD/ADHD, visual or auditory processing disorder, dysgraphia or even just a general reading disability.
Many schools and reading centers, along with The Schenck School in Atlanta, focus on educating children who have been properly diagnosed with dyslexia. While there are multiple methods for helping those with dyslexia, they use the Orton-Gillingham approach. The approach is designed to treat dyslexia for 2-3 years and help children successfully manage problems they have with reading and spelling. Like many treatment methods, the Orton-Gillingham relies on structured language instruction, simultaneously teaching students about letter sounds, spelling, reading skills and metacognitive strategies and connecting all elements, rather than teaching one and moving on.
Other approaches to treatment incorporate multisensory instruction. This type of instruction gives students the opportunity to use their auditory, kinesthetic and visual skills as they learn to read and spell, making it easier to make sense of letters and letter combinations.
For more information on Dyslexia, NCLD is a great resource.