Dyslexia Explained

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In recent months there has been much discussion about Dyslexia and its existence. Some experts claim that it does not exist. Yet dyslexia does exist. It is the most common cause of reading problems.One common misunderstanding is that dyslexia is simply seeing or reading things backwards. Dyslexia is much more than reversing letters it is a processing problem that can affect both written and spoken language. The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as: “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.” (1)

Difficulty reading and learning to read is the most common characteristic of dyslexia. The ability to distinguish individual sounds in words can be a difficult task for someone with dyslexia. This makes sounding out words a difficult if not impossible task for some. Difficult making the connection between letters and sounds can make learning sight words a cumbersome task. Letters are viewed as a shape or symbol and are no different than a triangle or square. Reading comprehension and fluency may also be troublesome for someone with dyslexia.Dyslexia is also language problem not just a reading problem. Delays in language development and vocabulary development are not uncommon manifestation of dyslexia. Simple tasks such as following oral directions can be overwhelming.

Written communication is often hindered by dyslexia. It is not uncommon for someone with dyslexia to be very creative yet unable to compose even a simple paragraph or story. Spelling and penmanship skills may be extremely poor as well.

The manifestations of dyslexia are not limited to language skills. Lack of coordination, impaired motor skills and poor organizational skills are other common side effects.

Dyslexia is a total language problem not a reading problem. Many people with dyslexia also have related disorders such dysgraphia and dyscalculia as well. Dysgraphia is characterized by poor handwriting and fine motor skills. Counting, number reversal, problems learning math facts and calculation errors are characteristics of dyscalculia.

For a more detailed explantion of dyslexia see the article I wrote for HomeschoolBenefits.org. Check out the The Learning Differances/Learning Styles archives for articles about dyslexia and other learning problems.


Notes: [1] International Dyslexia Association. “Dyslexia FAQ” [http://www.interdys.org/servlet/compose?section_id=5&page_id=95].