What Does Dyslexia mean?
Dyslexia is a common condition that affects the way a person learns. People with dyslexia often have trouble reading, spelling, writing, and sometimes pronouncing words. Children with dyslexia often appear to be careless or lazy, but they are not. They are just experiencing the world differently than most people.
What Causes Dyslexia?
It occurs in people at all levels of intelligence, from high to low. While dyslexia can make reading difficult, most people with dyslexia are not illiterate. They may understand what they read or the content of what they write but can have problems with fluency.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is brain-based. It is not caused by vision or hearing problems, or poor teaching. If you have dyslexia, you are very likely to have other family members with dyslexia or other learning disabilities such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
The brain is the most complex organ we know of. Although researchers have made huge progress in understanding how the brain works and all its amazing abilities, a lot remains a mystery. One thing we know for sure is that dyslexia happens because of the way the brain processes information. Pictures of brains show that when people with dyslexia read, they use different parts of the brain than people without dyslexia. And this makes reading seem like such slow, hard work.
What Happens in Dyslexia?
What happens in dyslexia happens in the brain. Kids with dyslexia do not always see the connections between sounds, letters, and words that typically developing readers do. As a child learns to read and spell, his brain builds connections between these three things (sound, letter, word) in ways that appear different from children who can read effortlessly.
Kids with dyslexia have trouble recognizing words and sounds, as well as understanding how letters and speech sounds go together. So, when they read words, they can sound like a bunch of jumbled letters. In other cases, kids may reverse letters or blend them (like b-d or m-w). But the most important thing is not what dyslexia looks like — it is how it affects kids’ lives.
Reading is sometimes thought of as a mysterious activity: why can some people do it, while others find it difficult or impossible? But reading is not magic or chance. There are things that even beginners can do to improve their reading skills. Becoming a fluent and confident reader requires practice, not just memorizing rules.
The beginning steps in reading are often difficult for children with dyslexia. And that makes it hard to get excited about learning to read. But a little extra help can make all the difference. The Read and Spell program offers just what your child needs. It takes kids through all the early phases of becoming a skilled readers: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluent word recognition and automaticity, spelling, and vocabulary enrichment.
The most common misconception about dyslexia is that the letters in words are reversed. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Children with dyslexia have difficulty processing language, which causes reading difficulties. Many children have phonological awareness problems, which make it hard to match sounds with letters and blend them to read new words.
What Are the Signs of Dyslexia?
- Parents and teachers notice that children with dyslexia may have trouble learning to read, spell or pronounce longer words. They may also have difficulty telling left from right or understanding certain speech sounds.
- Some of the earliest signs that a child may have dyslexia are difficulty learning letter names, sounds and the alphabet sequence, days of the week, and learning colors and shapes. It may be hard for them to learn to read their name, recognize words, spell simple words, and write letters in all the right places.
- Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects the ability to read and write. Although dyslexia may become apparent in the school years, it often begins in preschool or even infancy. Some signs of dyslexia are difficulty in learning to identify syllables and speech sounds in words, confusion over letter sequences (for example, “top” rather than “pot”), trouble reading words with certain vowel combinations such as initial e-i-o-, and slow or reluctant reading aloud with inaccurate expression.
- It is not always easy to tell whether someone has dyslexia because people with learning disabilities have different levels of ability and symptoms. However, if you have noticed that your child is struggling with reading or spelling, it is important to talk with your pediatrician right away.
How Is Dyslexia Diagnosed?
A diagnosis of dyslexia is usually made during elementary school. In some cases, it does not become apparent until a child is older and is expected to read and comprehend longer and more complex material. Many adults who have overcome dyslexia say they had problems learning to read as children. They may have noticed problems with spelling, writing, and math early on.
Early identification and intervention are critical to maximizing a child’s potential. If you think your child may have dyslexia, consult with your pediatrician or local school system to find out if your child qualifies for an assessment.
A delay in identifying dyslexia can create a bigger reading problem and a drop in self-esteem. Recognizing symptoms early and beginning specialized reading instruction right away is critical to success.
It is never too early to spot signs of dyslexia. As teachers know, early intervention is critical to a child’s success in school and beyond. When it comes to reading, understanding what dyslexia is and how it impacts learning can help you identify kids with dyslexia more quickly.
How Is Dyslexia Managed?
Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects the way people read and write. With proper training and tutoring, most kids with dyslexia can learn to read and develop strategies that will enable them to stay in the regular classroom.
Since dyslexia is a learning disability, it is important to get help as soon as you notice a problem. Teachers, tutors, and reading specialists can work with your child individually to help him or her improve reading fluency and comprehension. If your child has dyslexia but is still learning to read, meeting with an academic therapist may help him or her develop techniques that will make reading less stressful and more enjoyable.
Parents of kids with reading and language-based learning differences should discuss these laws with the school so the child can get extra help. Federal laws entitle kids with reading and other language-based learning differences — collectively known as “specific learning disabilities” — to special help in public schools, such as specialized instruction, extra time for tests or homework, or help with taking notes. States vary in how these laws are implemented.
What Else Should You Know?
Reading is an important skill for kids and can be a challenge when dyslexia is present. But with the right resources and support, most kids with dyslexia can learn to read well enough to keep up with their classmates. It is not uncommon for kids with dyslexia to feel frustrated and discouraged. Many do not recognize the problem until it is too late—in third grade or even later.
Reading problems can have a serious negative impact on your child’s current and future academic performance, social skills, and even career success. Help your child succeed in reading with these easy-to-use materials that foster early sound/letter recognition and help build reading fluency through practice.
Although it may take time and effort, there are many ways to help your child become a better reader. Reading aloud to your child beginning in infancy fosters an early love of language and books. Provide opportunities for your child to practice his or her reading skills at every chance-even if it is just playing matchmaker between letters and words. Nurture a love of books by reading together often and having family read-aloud times. Make sure that children have access to books they can read independently so they can build confidence in their reading skills. If your child has trouble reading or writing and you think he or she may have dyslexia, talk to him or her about it. Asking them questions might help you figure out whether or not they have dyslexia. Your doctor can help you find the best way for your child to learn and grow in school.
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