Dyslexia: Give Me the Basics!
There are many things people with dyslexia are and are not. Firstly, people with dyslexia have a language based learning disability: problems with reading, writing, spelling and/or math – not with an ability to think! Just like Autism, there is a spectrum from mild to severe – no two dyslexics are exactly alike. Dyslexia is a lifelong disability, you can’t outgrow it. However, through remediation and accommodations, its impact can be moderated.
Official International Dyslexia Association Definition:
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties in 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 reading experiences that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
What does this mean?
This learning difference can affect the learner in a multiple of ways: oral language, reading, and written language. There is also a possibility of a handful of co-existing learning disorders: Dysgraphia (handwriting), Dyscalculia (math), ADHD, Dyspraxia (motor skills), and Executive Function.
What are some of the common symptoms?
Most people with dyslexia have one or two symptoms. It’s important to remember these characteristics are ongoing and interfere with learning. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Difficulty pronouncing words
- Difficulty following directions
- Difficulty with word retrieval
- Difficulty with rhyming
- Misreading or omitting sight words
- Oral reading is difficult and slow
- Difficulty with spelling and proofreading
- May run in the family (a grandparent or parent may have dyslexia)
Where can I find more information?
The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) has an extensive Facts Sheetspage (many also available in Spanish) including: Dyslexia Basics, Adolescents and Adults with Dyslexia, and Helpful Terminology.
IDA also publishes an in-depth handbook: IDA Dyslexia Handbook: What Every Family Should Know.This handbook provides many pieces of valuable information, including: signs and symptoms, assessments, teaching approaches, and ideas for self-advocacy.