What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a Greek term and literally means ‘trouble with words’. It is a condition that affects the way the brain processes language. Children with dyslexia struggle with reading, comprehension, spelling, writing and sometimes spoken language. Dyslexia can range from mild to severe, no two people with dyslexia presenting with the same level of difficulty.
Symptoms of Dyslexia
A dyslexic child may demonstrate some or all of the following symptoms, despite being of normal intelligence:
- poor phonological awareness skills: generating rhyming words, splitting words into syllables.
- Poor phonemic awareness: difficulty dividing words into their smallest unit of sound, leading to poor spelling skills.
- poor decoding skills: finding it difficult to read words, therefore has poor comprehension skills.
- reverses letters and numbers
- poor concentration: getting tired quickly, finding tasks more exhausting.
- poor sequencing skills: cannot logically place a series of events in order.
If a parent is concerned about their child, they should seek professional help. There are diagnostic tests that can determine the type and severity of the condition. They can also exclude other possible symptoms like vision impairment, hearing problems and lack of quality instruction.
With the right level of intervention, a dyslexic person can overcome their condition and lead highly productive lives. Quality intervention should include the explicit teaching of:
- phonological awareness skills
- phonic skills – effective decoding and encoding strategies
- phrasing and fluency skills
- comprehension strategies
- how to sequentially sequence ideas.
Teachers need to give dyslexic students lot more processing time as a dyslexic child predominantly utilises their right-brain for processing, and think in ‘concepts and chunks’, finding it difficult to explain in words their thoughts and processes. They also find it very difficult to put break processes in sequential steps.
Children with dyslexia often have low self-esteem due to their frustration and inability to read and spell at the same rate and level as their peers. Therefore, it is vital that intervention is sought, as the sooner the child is diagnosed and receives the correct level of support, the more quickly they will move along the learning continuum.
Where to Get Help!
- The Language & Literacy Intervention Service (LALI Service) offers high-quality instruction for dyslexic students.
- Perth Brain Centre – Neurofeedback Therapy
- Child Psychologist, specialising in Education & Development Psychology