UNDERSTANDING DYSLEXIA (READING DISABILITY)

UNDERSTANDING DYSLEXIA (READING DISABILITY)

According to British Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a learning difficulty that affects the development of literacy and language skills. It is a condition that makes it hard to recognize, spell and decode words. People with dyslexia find it difficult to connect the letters they see on the page with the sounds those letters and combinations of letters make. These difficulties however have no connection to their overall intelligence, although it does impacts on learning.

Dyslexics are just as smart as those who are not. Research has shown differences in brain connectivity between dyslexics and non-dyslexics, providing a neurological basis for why reading fluently is a struggle for those with dyslexia. According to Elise Temple, a neuroscientist at Stanford, when a normal reader hears rapid sounds, the language-critical left frontal cortex lights up. When a dyslexic hears rapid sounds, no brain activity is recorded there and it remains dark. Hence a difference in the brain activity of a dyslexic and a normal reader.

 

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of dyslexia may occur in different ways and may differ from one individual to another. Generally, symptoms show up as problems with accuracy and fluency in reading and spelling. But in some, dyslexia can impact writing, math and language proficiencies.

In children, one sign could be avoiding to read, getting anxious or frustrated when called upon to read by themselves or out loud to others. This can also occur after they have mastered the basics of reading.

Dyslexia can also impact on everyday activities such as social skills and interaction, and dealing with stress.

Possible Causes

Researchers haven’t yet identified exactly what causes dyslexia. But they usually infer that genes and brain differences play a role.

  • Genes and heredity: Dyslexia often runs in the family. About 40 percent of siblings of kids with dyslexia have the same reading issues. As many as 49 percent of parents of kids with dyslexia have it, too.
  • Brain anatomy and activity: Brain imaging studies have shown brain differences between people with and without dyslexia. These differences occur in areas of the brain involved with key reading skills.

Management

While a cure for dyslexia is still in the works, there are several standard dyslexia management procedure that help children and adults live with and in some cases overcome the condition. Special education teachers and reading specialists can help children learn to read better with an intensive study of phonics, reading aloud as much as possible and using all of the senses instead of just visual clues for learning. Other solutions for dyslexia involve creating an optimal learning environment that plays up to the child’s strengths. This can include classroom modifications such as giving the dyslexic person extra time to finish assignments, giving oral examinations in addition to written ones and using assistive computer technology such as voice-recognition software.

Supporting Dyslexics

  1. Praise small achievements to boost self confidence.
  2. Minimise placing dyslexics in forums that would require them to read aloud.
  3. Assist in developing a way to perform small tasks.
  4. Discuss activity in detail before beginning.
  5. Give opportunity to answer questions orally.

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