What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a lifelong disorder associated with reading, spelling, pronouncing, and/or writing. It however does not determine the intelligence of the individual.
The U.S National Institute of Health define dyslexia specifically as a learning disorder in a context of normal intelligence. Also called the ‘reading disorder,’ affected individuals might require special teaching techniques to understand complex ideas, depending on the degree of the disease.
According to the US Department of Education, more than 2 million students ages 3-21 have learning disabilities.
Dyslexic individuals are very creative and likely to be successful. Some famous people who are known to have dyslexia includes director Steven Spielberg, Albert Einstein,investor Charles Schwab, actress Whoopi Goldberg amongst others. It is unclear whether such creativity comes from thinking outside the box or from having a brain that is “wired” a bit differently.
What causes dyslexia?
Researchers are yet to determine the exact cause of Dyslexia but the causes of the reading disorder has been associated with hereditary genes, brain activity and brain anatomy.
What are the types of dyslexia?
There are various types of dyslexia, but the major types includes primary dyslexia, secondary dyslexia trauma dyslexia, visual dyslexia, auditory dyslexia, and dysgraphia.
Primary dyslexia: this is the most common type of dyslexia. This has been researched to be hereditary. It is defined as the dysfunction of the left side of the brain.
Secondary dyslexia: This is associated with problem with brain development during the early stages of fetal development
Trauma dyslexia: This type of dyslexia is caused by brain trauma in areas of the brain that controls reading and writing.
Visual dyslexia: This is a condition in which the brain does not, properly interpret visual signals.
Auditory dyslexia: This is a condition in which there are problems with the part of the brain processing sounds and speech.
Dysgraphia: This refers to a child’s difficulty holding and controlling a pencil to write correctly.
The earlier the diagnosis of dyslexia the easier it will be help patient. Factors like depression, self esteem should always be in check when dealing with a dyslexic individual.
What are the signs of dyslexia?
Children in kindergarten affected with the disease often find it hard to identify the alphabets, struggles to blend sounds together or rhyming words or pronounce correctly and probably has a smaller vocabulary than children in the same age group have.
Older children with the disease struggles with reading and spelling, has difficulty using proper grammar and sounding out unfamiliar words, has difficulty summarizing a story or learning a new language.
This often leads dyslexic individuals to frustration and low self-esteem. Because their brain is wired differently and they process information differently, trying a different teaching strategy can help patients.
The usage of various educational strategies could help a dyslexic to read and write. Research has shown that dyslexic individuals who were prevented from going through stress and anxiety improved in written comprehension.
How do I help my dyslexic child?
There are several strategies to improve a dyslexic patients reading, writing, pronouncing and spelling skills;
Note that not all children are the same, so identify what works with the patient in question.
If reading is the child’s challenge, try audio books.
Try a decongested lecture note material instead of a chunky note.
Use multi-sensory teaching skills.
Try using larger and less complicated alphabet fonts.
Compared to most dyslexics who have problems reading, writing, spelling and pronouncing, Chinese dyslexics have challenges converting Chinese characters to their meanings.
To explain how dyslexic individuals read, a web page was written with Javascipt to give non-dyslexic individuals an idea of what dyslexic individuals see words.
Although the percentage of percentage of people with dyslexia is still unknown, but scientist have estimated the percentage of the disorder to be as low as 5% and as high as 17%. Report also says that males are most likely to be diagnosed with the disorder than females.
Another research have shown that font designs can have effect on dyslexic patients. Because of the believe that many Latin alphabets are visually similar, specific fonts for dyslexic individuals were created. These includes, Dyslexie, OpenDyslexic and LexiaReadable. With these fonts, every letter is distinctive from the order.
So far, there are no tests to determine a dyslexic patient, but one can get a diagnosed by a team of professionals.
These professionals will test the child’s vision and hearing to confirm it is not the cause of the reading disorder.
The child may also be tested a psychologist. The child will be asked to read rhyme words, spell, and write.
Psychological tests can help determine conditions like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety; depression might be associated with the reading disorder.
Findings from the test will help improve your child’s understanding on how sounds and letters work.