What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a very common learning difficulty that causes problems with reading, writing, and spelling.
5 Facts about Dyslexia:
10-20% of people have dyslexia. There are 1 in 5 people who have the learning disability and it affects as many boys as girls.
Dyslexics can be taught to read. Some people with dyslexia already know how to read but they struggle with spelling and writing.
Dyslexia does not affect intelligence. A child having dyslexia doesn’t mean that a child is unintelligent. Most dyslexics have a average IQ.
Early identification, followed up with the right teaching approach gives people the best chance of overcoming their difficulties.
The learning disability is genetic. Where a birth parent has the disability there is 50% chance the child will have also have the disability.
What are the causes?
Dyslexia is linked to genes, which is why the condition often runs in families.
The condition stems from differences in parts of the brain that process language. Imaging scans in people with dyslexia show that areas of the brain that should be active when a person reads.
For children, the brain has a hard time connecting letters to the sounds they make, and then blending those sounds into words. For example, the word ‘cat’ might be read as ‘tac’. These mix-ups can make reading slow and a difficult process.
How to support someone with Dyslexia?
A child dyslexia diagnosis does not mean they will never learn how to read. There are a number of programs that can help, such as:
- Multi-sensory instruction in decoding skills
- Repetition and review of skills
- Intensity of intervention- such as being pulled out of class once a week for extra help
- Small group or individual instruction
- Teaching decoding skills
- Drilling sight words
- Teaching comprehension strategies, to help kids derive meaning from what they are reading.
Kids with demonstrated dyslexia are eligible for accommodations in schools. Accommodations may include:
- Extra time on tests
- A quiet space to work
- The option to record lectures
- The option to give verbal, rather than written, answers (when appropriate)
- Elimination of oral reading in class
- Exemption from foreign language learning
One of the best ways to support a child with the learning condition is to encourage those activities that they like or feel good doing. Other things that may help include:
- Listening to audio books as an alternative to reading
- Typing on a computer or tablet instead of writing
- Apps that can make learning fun by decoding into a game
- Using a ruler to help kids read in a straight line, which can help keep them focused.
For Dyslexia Awareness Month, Nessy are giving away free licences for their ‘ Understanding Dyslexia’ course to help parents and teachers learn more about the learning disability.