What is dyslexia?  

rm_homophone 63M
6 posts
6/3/2006 1:06 pm
What is dyslexia?


What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a complex neurological condition which is constitutional in origin. The symptoms may affect many areas of learning and function, and maybe described as a specific difficulty in reading, spelling and written language. One or more of these areas may be affected. Numeracy, notational skills (music), motor function and organizational skills may also be involved. Dyslexia is most commonly described as a difficulty with processing written language. It is independent of intelligence and affects at least 10 per cent of the population, 4 per cent severely.

How can it affect learners?

Dyslexic learners are likely to have some or several of the following difficulties to differing degrees:

 Discriminating or holding sounds, which results in problems decoding when reading.
 Omitting words when spelling, writing or reading aloud.
 Mispronunciation of word or sounds.
 Persistent or severe problems with spelling, recognising letters or words.
 A poor short term or working memory, or difficulty in storing and retrieving linguistic information.
 A poor motor integration resulting in difficulties controlling a pen when writing.
 Problems with sequencing and organisation.
 Losing his or her place when reading.
 Cannot proof read.
 A poor sense of time.
 Finding new words difficult to remember.
 Having messy, poorly constructed or immature handwriting.

A suggested teaching strategy to support learners.

Because of their language processing and short term memory difficulties, dyslexic learners rely heavily on meaning and understanding which means:

 A highly personalised approach to learning.
 A need to have the learning process and conventions made explicit.
 A need to understand how and why in order to learn.
 They think holistically rather than step by step.
 They need to see the whole picture first before they learn steps or details.
 They are good at remembering patterns.
 They remember well when they really understand something.
 They learn by experience, not from being told.
 They need to make personal connections to remember things.
 They learn better with the help of colour, humour, stories and images.

I can help learners with dyslexia by:

 Splitting words into syllables or manageable chunks.
 Teach sounds, exaggerate sounds and highlight sounds.
 Look at visual patterns of words; draw a box around the words.
 Use mnemonics; make up a phrase to match the letters and words.
 Visualise or draw a picture of the word.
 Write in the air or trace the word on the desk with your finger.
 Look for words within words.
 Use spidergrams, mindmaps, pictures, diagrams and use plenty of colour and highlighting.
 Have plenty of discussions and activities.
 Word process worksheets and handouts discuss the preferred type of font and font size as well as spacing.
 Ask them what coloured paper they prefer.
 Give handouts and worksheets in advance of the lesson.
 Put key words on the whiteboard.
 Consider using modern technology; computers, word processors, videos/DVDs.
 Use coloured overlays over worksheets and on computers.

Finally people with dyslexia are Quick forgetters rather than slow learners. Being dyslexia friendly is every one friendly.

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