A good way to understand dyslexia is to establish what it is not. It’s not a sign of low intelligence or laziness. It’s also not due to poor vision. It’s a common condition that affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language.
Dyslexia is primarily associated with trouble reading. Some doctors, specialists and educators may refer to it as a “reading disorder” or a “reading disability.” But it can also affect writing, spelling and even speaking. People with dyslexia can still understand complex ideas. Sometimes they just need more time to work through the information. They may also need a different way to process the information, such as listening to an audiobook instead of reading it. If your child has dyslexia, she won’t outgrow it. It’s a lifelong condition. But that doesn’t mean your child can’t be happy and successful. There are many effective teaching strategies and tools that can help your child. In fact, many people with dyslexia have successful careers in business, science and the arts. There’s a long list of famous people with dyslexia. This list includes director Steven Spielberg, investor Charles Schwab and actress Whoopi Goldberg.
People with dyslexia are often very creative. It’s unclear whether such creativity comes from thinking outside the box or from having a brain that’s “wired” a bit differently. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that struggles with reading and other issues can lead to frustration and low self-esteem. The stress of dealing with schoolwork can make kids with dyslexia lose the motivation to keep trying. There are lots of tools and strategies that can help. It might take some trial and error for you to figure out which work best for your child. But finding the right strategies and seeing improvement can boost your child’s confidence.
What causes dyslexia?
The exact causes of dyslexia are still not completely clear, but anatomical and brain imagery studies show differences in the way the brain of a person with dyslexia develops and functions. Recently, dyslexia has been shown to correlate strongly with problems in the way the eyes move. These can be problems moving the eyes near and far (vergence), moving the eyes between targets (saccades), tracking a target, or even holding the yes still. Dyslexia is not due to either lack of intelligence or desire to learn; with appropriate teaching methods, individuals with dyslexia can learn successfully.
What are the effects of dyslexia?
The impact that dyslexia has is different for each person and depends on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of instruction or remediation. The core difficulty is with reading words and this is related to difficulty with processing and manipulating sounds. Some individuals with dyslexia manage to learn early reading and spelling tasks, especially with excellent instruction, but later experience their most challenging problems when more complex language skills are required, such as grammar, understanding 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 in their homes and good language instruction in school. They may find it difficult to express themselves clearly, or to fully comprehend what others mean when they speak. Such language problems are often difficult to recognize, but they can lead to major problems in school, in the workplace, and in relating to other people. The effects of dyslexia can reach well beyond the classroom. Dyslexia can also affect a person’s self-image. Students with dyslexia often end up feeling less intelligent and less capable than they actually are. After experiencing a great deal of stress due to academic problems, a student may become discouraged about continuing in school.
How common are language-based learning disabilities?
15-20% of the population has a language-based learning disability. Of the students with specific learning disabilities receiving special education services, 70-80% have deficits in reading. Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties. Dyslexia affects males and females nearly equally, as well as people from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds nearly equally.
Can individuals who have dyslexia learn to read?
Yes. If children who have dyslexia receive effective phonological awareness and phonics training in Kindergarten and 1st grade, they will have significantly fewer problems in learning to read at grade level than do children who are not identified or helped until 3rd grade. 74% of the children who are poor readers in 3rd grade remain poor readers in the 9th grade, many because they do not receive appropriate Structured Literacy instruction with the needed intensity or duration. Often they can’t read well as adults either. It is never too late for individuals with dyslexia to learn to read, process, and express information more efficiently. Research shows that programs utilizing Structured Literacy instructional techniques can help children and adults learn to read.
How do people “get” dyslexia?
The causes for dyslexia are neurobiological and genetic. Individuals inherit the genetic links for dyslexia. Chances are that one of the child’s parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles has dyslexia. Dyslexia is not a disease. With proper diagnosis, appropriate instruction, hard work, and support from family, teachers, friends, and others, individuals who have dyslexia can succeed in school and later as working adults.
How can Connections Achievement and Therapy help?
Our functional neurological exam will determine if we are able to help or not. Recent research tells us that many children with dyslexia are not able to move their eyes the same as other children, and this necessarily affects the way they perceive words on a page. Functional Neurologists are trained to identify and remediate those problems. Though there is no “cure” for dyslexia, if an eye movement problem is part of the cause, then our evaluation will tell us if we are likely to make a difference. Call today to schedule a free consultation. For children who we’re able to help, the improvements can be life-changing!