I was reading an article about some the myths and misconceptions with dyslexia and I often wonder if I was Dyslexic as a child. I used to think that Dyslexia was a problem of flipping words… It is but it’s so much more than flipping words.
As a child, I was a better good speller because of my ability to remember the word as I saw it and break it down into chunks. So this often helped me get a good score on my spelling test. But I did not have the phonic awareness to decode the words and sound it out correctly. As a result, I struggled with reading comprehension and did not reach proficiency in reading until the late age of 30.
While dyslexia and intelligence are not connect, becoming a proficient reader and the lack thereof, is connected with intelligence. The more proficient you are reading and comprehending what you read, the more intelligent you are. Reading is the most important skill in academia.
It is estimated that 15% and 20% of the population have a language-based learning disability, dyslexia being the most common of these. Dyslexia is a lifelong issue. And many dyslexics learn to read accurately they may continue to read slowly and not automatically. While dyslexia is a lifelong learning disability, early, intensive, and systematic intervention can help a student keep up and retain his grade level in school, as well as minimize the negative effects dyslexia can have, such as low self-esteem and poor self-concept as a learner. Dyslexia is a specific neurological learning disability that is characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition, poor spelling, and decoding abilities.
Funny as it may be, but every English-speaking country, a significant percentage of the population has reading and spelling difficulties that range from mild to profound. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability (SLD) in reading, spelling, and/or writing and may be coupled with challenges in oral expression. However, it is not characterized as a medical problem and is not typically diagnosed by doctors because they don’t have training in oral language, reading, writing, or spelling assessment and diagnosis. So not covered by medical insurance.
Phonemic awareness is only necessary when learning to read and spell, which involves using an alphabet code. Research has shown that this aptitude is not acquired often in children. Usually, students need systematic phonics instruction in order to become proficient in reading and processing. Some people find this ability to learn how to recognize and manipulate phonemes more difficult than others due to normal genetic variation, rather than a brain weakness.
Something I didn’t know, is that increased phonics instruction will not help a child with dyslexia. Children with dyslexia are able to learn phonics once they have the underlying phonemic awareness abilities; although they may continue having trouble applying it. This is why difficulty with phonics and word pronunciation is a good warning sign of dyslexia. Failure to read is often more to do with the nature of teaching rather than the nature of the child. A child will not develop dyslexia because he has trouble reading.
Reading out loud will not help a child sound out unknown words. Instead, reading aloud is a great vocabulary building and bonding activity. Reading aloud helps with correct pronunciation.
Furthermore, dyslexics do not see things backwards because dyslexia is not a problem with the eyes. While new research has demonstrated that letter reversals of kindergarten children predicted spelling at 2nd grade, typical learners can reverse letters when initially learning. Up to a certain point, it is considered normal for children to reverse their letters and numbers, and is actually quite common. However, if this does not stop after two years of handwriting instruction, it becomes a red flag for dyslexia. Dyslexic children have problems in naming letters, but not necessarily in copying them. So, many children may go diagnosed.
Unfortunately, most public schools do not screen students for dyslexia because federal funding does not require them to do so. Few educators have training in dyslexia; diagnosis requires a special skill set in understanding the underlying phonological component of dyslexia.
Lastly, dyslexics require explicit and systematic instruction in phonological awareness, phonics, and spelling patterns and rules. Additionally, they may need strategies for vocabulary, reading comprehension and writing, as well as verbal expression and word retrieval.
I hope this helps you determine if your child has a learning disability to reading.