The other week I was preparing a talk for a network of learning support teachers. And as I thought about where to start and what I wanted to stay I decided that the starting point is that Dyslexia is neurological. Once you understand it as a neurological disorder and the neurological effort that a Dyslexic student is putting in to reading, spelling and writing. It changes how you teach, support and work with a student.
“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” – International Dyslexia Association.
We all know a famous Dyslexic person, the list is long and incredible impressive:
- Richard Branson
- Leonardo diVinci
- Steve Jobs
- Bill Gates
- Jamie Oliver
- Steven Spielberg
- Albert Einstien
- Lewis Carroll
- George Bell
- Henry Wrinkler
The list goes on. You can find more here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_diagnosed_with_dyslexia.
You often here people talk about the Dyslexic Advantage. That is what these people have and they use it to their advantage!
Research has come a long way and we now know so much more about Dyslexia and how to successfully teach a Dyslexic person to read, write and spell.
A team of British, French and Italian scientists have established that there is a universal neurological basis for Dyslexia. Brain scans conducted during reading exercises confirmed that the boundary between language and visual processing areas was inactive in dyslexics, no matter what language they spoke. However, dyslexics in Italy read better than those in English because English has 1,120 different ways of spelling its 40 phonemes, the sounds required to pronounce all its words. By contrast, Italian needs only 33 combinations of letters to spell out its 25 phonemes. As a result, reading Italian takes a lot less effort, and that’s probably why the reported rate of dyslexia in Italy is comparatively lower.
Yes we have one of the most complicated languages. Reading is one of the most complicated tasks our brain ever does and when you add to it that we have 1120 different ways to spell 40 phonemes, well what can I say. That number 1120 always amazes me and maybe we should all live in Italy!
What are the indicators for Dyslexia?
Remember no two children with Dyslexia will have the same indicators.
- Doesn’t enjoy going to school
- Comes home from school most days exhausted, disagreeable and stressed.
- Appears to be trying really hard at school, but is not making good progress.
- Has trouble learning and reading basic frequently used sight words such as; my, the, in, on, can, we, to, at, be, etc, often given on flashcards to new school starters.
- Is slow to write their name
- When reading and writing will often mix up letters in words and may read and write numbers, letters and words backwards such as b,d,p,q,
- When writing or copying written words, has trouble seeing the spaces between the words – they all seem to run together.
- Continues to rely heavily on pictures and illustrations in readers and books
- Guesses when reading unknown words
- Confuses the sounds of the letters or letter blends
- Mixes up smaller words when reading for instead of from or and instead of am
- Will regularly read words backwards was for saw or on for no
- Skip parts of words when reading
- Continually fails to recognise familiar words
- Memorises stories
- Can be easily distracted and lack concentration in the classroom
- Difficulty copying from the board
- Confuses left and right
- Produces messy work, with poor handwriting and many crossing outs
- Makes slow progress with spelling
- Often spells bizarrely, writing words based on the sounds of letters and random guesses
- Isn’t able to organise themselves or their possessions.
- Can have visual focus issues
- Has a range of sometimes creative strategies to adapt to the classroom
You can find more indicators here:
Helping Children With Dyslexia – Liz Dunoon