Dyslexia is a learning disability that involves difficulty reading due to problems in identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. Dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language. Children with dyslexia have trouble reading fluently without mistakes. They often read slowly and make mistakes. This can impact how well they comprehend what they read. But when other people read to them, they often have no problem understanding the text. It is also known as the reading disability. Dyslexia can create difficulty with other skills, too such as reading comprehension, spellings, writing or math.
It is important to know that it is not a problem with eye-sight or with intelligence. People with dyslexia have normal intelligence and usually have normal vision. Although there's no permanent cure for dyslexia, early intervention can result in improving symptoms.
Causes of dyslexia
Researchers aren’t clear about what exactly causes dyslexia. But they do know that genes and brain differences play a role. Some of the possible causes of dyslexia are:
Genetics: Dyslexia often runs in families. Children with family members who have dyslexia are at a greater risk for being similarly affected or experiencing symptoms of dyslexia such as having trouble reading.
Brain anatomy: Brain imaging studies have found that there are differences between the brains of people with and without dyslexia. These differences are especially present in the areas of the brain that are involved with key reading skills. These skills involve decoding i.e. knowing how sounds are represented in words, and recognising what written words look like.
Signs and symptoms of Dyslexia
Dyslexia impacts all people in different ways. Therefore, symptoms might not look the same for each child. Signs of Dyslexia are often recognised once a child enters school since it involves trouble with reading and spellings. Once your child reaches school age, your child's teacher may be the first to notice a problem.
Before school the following signs can be indicative of the presence of dyslexia:
- Talking late
- Learning new words slowly
- Problems forming words correctly
- Problems remembering or naming letters or numbers
- Difficulty learning rhymes
After joining school, signs of dyslexia may become more apparent, including:
- Trouble decoding words (ability to match letters to sounds)
- Struggle with phonemic awareness (ability to recognise the sounds in words)
- Reading below the expected level for age
- Problems processing and understanding what is heard
- Difficulty finding the right words
- Problems remembering the sequence of things
- Difficulty seeing similarities and differences in letters and words
- Inability to sound out the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word
- Difficulty spelling
- Spending an unusually long time completing reading or writing tasks
- Avoiding reading
Fortunately, with the proper help and support, most kids with dyslexia are able to learn to read and write properly.
Children with dyslexia usually work with a specially trained teacher, tutor, or reading specialist to learn how to read and spell. An education therapist or an academic language therapist who is trained to work with kids with dyslexia might work with your children to improve their condition.
Psychotherapists might help children with dyslexia come to terms with their condition. Children with dyslexia are often drawn into a vicious cycle of failure and negative emotions due to their difficulties, and these emotional difficulties outweigh the learning difficulties. Hence psychotherapy in addition to academic therapy is also important.