What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that affects an individual’s ability to acquire the skills necessary for reading such as identifying the alphabet, linking letters to sounds, rhyming, blending sounds, segmenting sounds, and comprehension just to name a few. An individual needs to be able to use all these skills simultaneously with fluency (with accuracy and speed) in order to read efficiently. In addition, individual’s may experience, difficulty with other language-based skills like spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Over the years there have been many misconceptions regarding the characteristics of Dyslexia and how to best remediate individual’s with Dyslexia. Here are some indisputable facts about Dyslexia:

  • Dyslexia is neurological in origin and research has shown that there are differences in the way a Dyslexic brain develops and functions. As of today the exact cause of Dyslexia is not fully known but Dyslexia does run in families.
  • Dyslexia is not the result of low intelligence or low motivation. On the contrary individuals with Dyslexia are average or above average in intelligence and with the right instruction can learn to read and spell successfully.
  • According to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), it is estimated that 15-20% of the population possess some of the symptoms of Dyslexia. Only the student’s with the most severe constellation of symptoms will qualify for special education services but all will struggle with various aspects of their academic studies.

What are the signs of dyslexia?
On the IDA Fact Sheet “Dyslexia Basics”, they answer this very question.
“The problems displayed by individuals with dyslexia involve difficulties in acquiring and using written language. It is a myth that individuals with dyslexia ‘read backwards,’ although spelling can look quite jumbled at times because students have trouble remembering letter symbols for sounds and forming memories for words. Other problems experienced by people with dyslexia include the following:

  • Learning to speak
  • Learning letters and their sounds
  • Organizing written and spoken language
  • Memorizing number facts
  • Reading quickly enough to comprehend
  • Persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments
  • Spelling
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Correctly doing math operations

Not all students who have difficulties with these skills have dyslexia. Formal testing of reading, language, and writing skills is the only way to confirm a diagnosis suspected of dyslexia.” For more information check out all the IDA Fact Sheets at http://www.interdys.org/FactSheets.htm