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What is Dyslexia?

What is Dyslexia?

“Dyslexia” is another term parents hear often, but may not fully understand. Over the years, much has been done to erase the stigma associated with learning challenges like dyslexia. Still, few people really “get” what it means to have dyslexia, how to manage this lifelong condition, and what to look for if you suspect your child may have it. Sadly, dyslexia often goes undiagnosed with one in ten dyslexics never getting help. The impact of undiagnosed dyslexia is hard to measure, but leads to poor self-esteem, unachieved professional goals, a lifelong avoidance of reading/writing, and more.

Be Alright has some suggestions and information to guide you in this area. We have experts on staff.

For starters, if you suspect your child has challenges in this area, ask for help and get the facts. Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence. Be Alright offers testing for dyslexia, along with academic strategies if a challenge is discovered.

Dyslexia is very common with more than three million people getting this diagnosis per year. Today, the resources and techniques available to manage dyslexia are staggering.

Receiving this diagnosis doesn’t mean your child is ignorant or unable to succeed. Dyslexia is a specific reading learning disability. And, research is showing how people with dyslexia often have above average intelligence and increased creative abilities.

Dyslexia defined

The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as:

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

-International Dyslexia Association

Translated, this means dyslexia isn’t something a person can outgrow. Dyslexia has to do with how the brain is wired. People with dyslexia will have common traits like: poor spelling, difficulties with phonics, struggles distinguishing right and left, and a harder time with reading in general.

Signs of dyslexia

No matter how often her parents went over letter combinations like “SH” and “CH,” eight-year-old Samantha continued to struggle reading words like “chair” and “share.” Her parents noticed how Sam would stop reading when she came to words like “were” and “what,” while other kids in her class seemed to have these words mastered.

Increasingly, Sam said she was sick on days when there was a spelling test or written assignments due. When writing, she’d often use the number “5” when writing a word using the letter “f.”

Not everyone has all these signs of dyslexia. Some people may only have a few signs. When the signs are subtle, children may learn how to hide their challenges from teachers and parents. In these cases, getting a diagnosis is rare, making academic success difficult.

Dyslexia runs in families. If any of the signs of dyslexia ring true for a parent or grandparent, keep an open mind around having an assessment.

The Mayo Clinic has a thorough list of dyslexia signs broken into ages groups. The following list has been adapted. See the link for the full list:

Preschool

-Late talking

-Learning new words slowly

-Problems remembering or naming letters, numbers, and colors

School-age children

-Reading well below the expected level for age

-Problems processing and understanding what he or she hears

-Problems remembering the sequence of things

-Difficulty spelling

– Avoiding activities that involve reading and spelling

-Spending an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading or writing

Teen and adults

-Difficulty reading, including reading aloud

-Slow and labor-intensive reading and writing

-Spelling problems

-Avoiding activities that involve reading

-Mispronouncing names or words, or problems retrieving words

-Spending an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading or writing

-Difficulty summarizing a story

-Trouble learning a foreign language

-Difficulty memorizing

-Difficulty doing math word problems

Diagnosis and treatment

Early diagnosis and treatment go far when it comes to avoiding the poor self-esteem and anxiety accompanying many undiagnosed adult dyslexics. With help, people with dyslexia can accommodate challenges and learn how to successfully read and write.

Start with an assessment. This process doesn’t have to be scary. Think about how kids with crooked teeth get braces, while far-sighted kids get glasses. Once diagnosed, most children with dyslexia need the support of an educated tutor, along with possible accommodations at school. And, most succeed.

Dr. Meg Murray

There are many ways to accommodate students with dyslexia like: Lengthier time for written assignments and tests, ability to orally answer essay questions, talk-to-text apps for writing, recorded lectures, and more.

Contact Dr. Meg for more information around support and resources available at Be Alright Tutoring for children and teens with diagnosed or undiagnosed dyslexia.

Dr. Meg: [email protected]

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