Dyslexia is a disability that affects a child’s ability to read. It should be identified as soon as possible so that the student can receive help from a tutor, teacher, or other trained professional.
What is it?
Dyslexia is a neurological (and often genetic) disorder where the brain does not properly recognize and process the symbols of language. It is not the result of impaired vision or poor intelligence, but those with dyslexia have trouble matching the letters on a page with the sounds those letters make. This makes the process of learning how to read very difficult. Dyslexia can also affect a person’s ability to write, spell, and sometimes even speak. It is often characterized by difficulties with word recognition, decoding, spelling, poor fluency, and can cause problems with reading comprehension and vocabulary.
According to the National Institute of Child and Human Development, dyslexia is not a rare disability, and as many as 15 percent of Americans struggle with it.
How to identify and respond to it
Dyslexia affects people differently depending on the severity of it and the types of tasks they struggle with. Some can have trouble with reading and spelling, while others struggle to write or tell left from right. Later on they may have trouble with the more complicated aspects of language such as grammar, reading comprehension, and in-depth writing. It is important to identify dyslexia as early as possible so they can learn strategies to help them work with their dyslexia. Exposing children early to oral reading, writing, and drawing can help in identifying dyslexia if children are not progressing as quickly as they should be. If problems are noticed, trained professionals can identify dyslexia using a formal evaluation. These evaluations look at areas of strength and weakness in the skills needed for reading, and looks into family history, education, intelligence, and social environment. Although dyslexia isn’t something that can be grown out of, there are many things that teachers and trained professionals can do to help children read. They can be taught strategies for observing, listening, and memorizing what they hear as someone reads or talks to them. They can also be started on reading programs that can help them figure out what sounds make up each word, be allowed to listen to books on tape or CD as they read along, and be given extra time to do work.