Understanding Dyslexia – Definition & Facts

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Hello!!  Welcome to the month of October!!

Did you know October of every year is Dyslexia Awareness Month?

Here on the TAD blog, I would like to join millions of people around the world in creating more awareness about Dyslexia.  I am committed to turning around dyslexia and helping people with learning difficulties.  This month I will be in honor of Dyslexia Awareness Month, I will be posting information for my readers to be more knowledgeable when the topic of Dyslexia arises. In today’s post I will detail facts about Dyslexia, as well as a thorough definition of Dyslexia.

Facts About Dyslexia

Characteristics of Dyslexia are sometimes misunderstood as an indicator of cognitive ability leading to misdiagnosis & inappropriate intervention.  Here are the facts you need to know to help identify characteristics early:

  • Dyslexia is not an indicator of lack of cognitive ability
  • Dyslexia is a difficulty with processing sounds which causes difficulty in learning the (alphabetic principle (letter-sound correspondence), spelling, & reading.
  • Dyslexia is often related to certain hereditary factors in one or more relatives.
  • 1 in 5 people or 20% of people have characteristics of Dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia is not a vision issue, it is a language-based issue.
  • People with Dyslexia have the same risk of vision problems as those without Dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia can cause struggles with speaking – not being able to find the correct word to say & other social situations.
  • Dyslexia is not just reversal of letters or reading words backwards.
  • People with Dyslexia are working 5 to 10 times harder than peers to read, spell & write.
  • Dyslexia is not curable.  It is a brain-based condition with lifelong challenges.
  • Early Intervention & accommodations will have a positive impact in language & academic development.

Definition of Dyslexia

The International Dyslexia Association defines “dyslexia” in the following way:

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological 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.

(Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, November 12, 2002)

Contrary to popular belief, Dyslexia has been in existence for a long time and do has its evolving definitions.  As more and more knowledge is acquired about this learning different, newer more concise definitions arise.  In the late 1960’s the World Federation of Neurologists said dyslexia was, “a disorder in children who, despite conventional classroom experiences, are unable to attain the language skills of reading, writing, and spelling, commensurate with their intellectual abilities.”   We have come a long way since the 1960’s in our understanding of Dyslexia.  Although, this definition is not so far off from IDA’s more detailed definition above.

Some may believe Dyslexia only affects children, but in actuality the difficulty persists throughout a person’s lifetime if not identified and treated early.  The earlier dyslexia is tackled, the more successful the intervention will be.  However, people with dyslexia who may not have been identified early on can still learn strategies to improve their language skills.

The signs of dyslexia in early learners could go undetected.  One tendency of dyslexic children is to become frustrated by their struggles they encounter in learning to read.  They can begin the “hate” the process of reading, when our goal for them is to love this process. Other problems that can arise & sometimes disguise the signs of dyslexia in an early learner, may be:

  • low self-esteem & signs of depression
  • attitude and behavior problems at school and at home as well.
  • lack of motivation and a dislike for school
  • task avoidance

Dyslexia is learning difference,  not a disability.  And if handled correctly, a child with dyslexia could be the next Steven Spielberg or Albert Einstein…Yes!!  Both geniuses battled dyslexia.

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Sherri