Annaline Jack, a Speech & Language Therapist, shares valuable insights into Dyslexia and creates awareness around this often neglected subject.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability in reading where reading accuracy and fluency are affected. It can result in difficulties such as reading comprehension, spelling, writing skills and maths. In some children dyslexia may occur alongside ADHD, an auditory processing disorder and visual processing difficulties. It is important to have a full assessment done by professionals with expertise in several fields as there is no one test that diagnoses dyslexia. Skills across a range of abilities should be evaluated and considered. While it is often believed that dyslexia is a visual difficulty, it is instead the result of difficulties in:
- a) Phonological awareness – awareness of and access to the sound structure of a child’s oral language. An important symptom of dyslexia is poor decoding which is the inability to match letters to sounds in order to read words accurately and fluently.
- b) Verbal memory, involves the ability to remember something and to perform an activity such as breaking up a word into its individual sounds and blending it to form a word.
- c) Processing speed, which is related to the speed in which a person can understand and react to the information they receive, whether it be visual (letters) or auditory (language). Many children with dyslexia lack automaticity with which visual forms are retrieved which can impact reading speed and fluency.
Dyslexia can impact learning in varying degrees and symptoms may differ from one individual to another. Signs of dyslexia will vary across ages. It is a lifelong condition, but through an intervention program that is structured, sequential and multisensory, symptoms of dyslexia can be overcome.
Some Early Risk Indicators 4-9 years:
- Difficulty learning nursery rhymes or detecting rhyme
- Difficulty learning alphabet names and sounds, numbers, days of the week
- Poor memory for names of friends, colours etc.
- Word finding difficulties
- Not getting interested in books or stories
- Children whose parents or siblings have a history of poor literacy and or inattention
- Poor letter sound knowledge
- Difficulty breaking words up into parts e.g.
‘but-ter-fly’ ; ‘c-a-t’
- Not reading as expected for his/her age: blending sounds into words, recognising and remembering sight words, skipping over words or adding words while reading
NOTE: Learners with dyslexia can be granted accommodations at school such as a reader, a scribe, extra time and a spelling concession. These accommodations together with the use of technology can help them reach their full potential.
Speech & Language Therapist
(Accredited by British Dyslexia Association and SACE)