What Is DYSLEXIA?
Dyslexia is a neurological language-based processing disorder that affects written and spoken language. Dyslexia alters the way the brain processes written information and is typically characterized by difficulties in word recognition, decoding and spelling. As a consequence, people with dyslexia struggle with specific language skills, particularly reading, writing, spelling and pronouncing words.
The root of our difficulties stem from the fact that dyslexics have trouble recognizing phonemes (pronounced: FO-neems), the basic sounds of speech. For example, the "d" sound in "dog" is a phoneme. This makes it very difficult to: (1) make the connection between the sound and the letter symbol for that sound and (2) blend sounds into words. As a result, people with dyslexia struggle to recognize short, familiar words and to sound out longer words. It can take a lot of time and effort for a person with dyslexia to sound out a word. This can affect reading comprehension because the meaning of the word is often lost. Since people with dyslexia have trouble recognizing phonemes (the distinct sounds that comprise a word), we also have trouble spelling and can also have trouble expressing ourselves in writing and even when speaking.
What Are The MAIN Characteristics of DYSLEXIA?
Below is a list of the main characteristics of dyslexia:
it affects the ability to learn to read and spell
it involves difficulties in recognizing the sounds that comprise words (which makes it especially challenging to learn to use phonics to read words)
it can affect short-term memory and memorization
it can affect sequencing, including the ability to follow instructions and the ability to learn sequenced information, such as the days of the week or the alphabet
it encompass other kinds of difficulties, such as, but not limited to: difficulties with math, motor co-ordination and time management
Dyslexia is not the same for everyone (it can range from mild to severe and its impact varies depending on the kind of support and encouragement that is given at school and at home)
A COMMON Misunderstanding about dyslexia
Many people are under the misunderstanding that dyslexia is a condition that involves reversing letters, numbers and words and that this is the reason why dyslexics have trouble learning to read, write and spell.
Although some people with dyslexia do have reversal problems, they are not the most common or most important characteristics of dyslexia. According to experts, dyslexia has little to do with recognizing the visual form of words (visual processing) and much more to do with the fact that our brains are wired differently. This anatomical difference is what makes it difficult for dyslexics to segment the letters of written words into the distinct sounds (phonemes) of their language, a capability called phonological awareness.
FACts about dyslexia
Dyslexia is the most common learning difficulty. According to conservative estimates, approximately 10% of the population has dyslexia. In other words, approximately 1 out of every 10 kids has dyslexia.
Although three times as many boys as girls get identified with dyslexia, just as many girls have dyslexia. Boys are more likely to have their dyslexia identified and diagnosed because of how they tend to respond to the challenges and frustrations caused by being dyslexic. Whereas boys typically act out (and therefore, get noticed), girls avoid calling attention to them selves and instead focus on trying to hide their difficulties. As a result, girls are less likely to be diagnosed.
Dyslexia is sometimes referred to as a learning disability. People with dyslexia have different levels of intelligence, just like people that do not have dyslexia. However, irrespective of how intelligent you are, kids with dyslexia have to work a lot harder at school than their peers. It is very demanding to maintain a high-level of concentration and focus throughout the school day. When we get mentally exhausted, we tend to daydream or loose focus. It is our way of recharging and taking a mental break. Unfortunately, some teachers may perceive this as lack motivation and conclude that you are not trying hard enough.
What causes DYSLEXIA?
Dyslexia is genetic and therefore, tends to run in families. We still don’t know what causes dyslexia. However, we do know that dyslexics’ brains are wired differently. Researchers have carried out anatomical and brain imagery studies that identified differences in the way the brain of a person with dyslexia develops and functions. These differences make it more difficult for dyslexics to learn to read because they are unable to, or have great difficulty with, recognizing the separate speech sounds within a word (phonemes) and learning how individual letters represent those sounds.
What Are The EFFECTS of DYSLEXIA?
Dyslexia affects each person differently depending on the severity of the condition and whether the person is provided appropriate academic support.
The main difficulties dyslexics face are: word recognition and reading fluency, spelling, and writing. Yet not all dyslexics struggle to learn to read. Some people with dyslexia manage to learn to read and spell, especially with excellent instruction. However, they later experience their most debilitating problems when more complex language skills are required. For example, they experience problems with complex grammar, understanding challenging textbook material and writing essays.
People with dyslexia can also have problems with spoken language (even after they have been exposed to good language models at home and good language instruction in school). We may find it difficult to express ourselves clearly or to fully comprehend what others mean when they speak. These language-based problems are often difficult to recognize, but can lead to major difficulties in school and in relating to other people.
The effects of dyslexia reach well beyond the classroom. Dyslexia can also affect a person’s self-image. Kids with dyslexia often end up feeling “dumb” and less capable than they actually are. After experiencing a great deal of stress due to academic problems, a student may become discouraged, frustrated and dislike going to school.
Why is having DYSLEXIA so frustrating?
Kids with dyslexia often get frustrated because no matter how hard we work, we are unable to meet our own expectations. Our parents and teachers see a bright, enthusiastic child who is not learning to read and write. Time and again, dyslexics and their parents hear, "He's such a bright child; if only he would try harder." Ironically, this couldn’t be further from the truth, kids with dyslexia have to work much harder than their non-dyslexic peers. The pain and disillusion of failing to meet other people's expectations is exasperated by our inability to achieve our own goals and expectations.
What Are The positive Characteristics of DYSLEXIA?
Some characteristics of dyslexia can be positive and advantageous when used in the right context. If we identify our strengths and focus on nurturing these strengths, we can use them to alleviate and counterbalance some of the negative affects of dyspraxia.
Below is a list of some of the advantages of having dyslexia. In general. most people with dyslexia have some or all of the following characteristics:
are highly curious
have great intuition and insight
think and perceive multi-dimensionally (using all the senses)
have a lively imagination
are very creative
see the big picture (we don’t get lost in details and see the important aspects)
can recognize patterns, connections and similarities
can be very driven, ambitious and persistent
are capable of seeing things differently than others
These abilities give us unique skills and attributes that enable us to be successful in a wide range of careers. Many dyslexics have grown up to have exceptional careers in fields such as: law, medicine, science, business, architecture, art, acting, teaching and sports.