Dyslexia Facts

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So, What is Dyslexia Anyway?

Dyslexia is best defined as a difference in the way language is processed. It makes reading, writing, spelling and even processing speech difficult. It has little to do with intelligence and is genetic. If one parent has dyslexia, there is a 50% chance it will be passed on to their child. It can also begin in adulthood due to brain damage, a stroke or, in some cases, a general physical or mental trauma. Those with dyslexia are very intelligent and articulate when they speak, but without a proper learning method, they are unable to read, spell or write at grade level.

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It’s Genetic:

  • Probability increases when another family member also has dyslexia
  • There’s a 50% chance of a child inheriting it if one parent has dyslexia
  • A grandparent, an uncle or an aunt with reading & spelling struggles also significantly increase chances of a child developing dyslexia

Common Myths:

Myth: Students with dyslexia see things backwards.

Fact: Actually, they are confused by directionality (left-right, up-down). What they see is the same as those without dyslexia.

Myth: Those with dyslexia cannot read at all.

Fact: They do read well when taught to their specifications.

Myth: Dyslexia is rare.

Fact: The facts tell us that about 15-17% of people in the USA struggle with dyslexia. That’s 3 to 4 students in every classroom in America.

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The Effects of Dyslexia

What Others Hear When Speaking To Someone With Dyslexia:
  • Problems with articulation of letters’ sounds
  • Mixing up the sounds of longer words
  • Difficulty retrieving words they want to use

What Is Experienced When Someone With Dyslexia Is Spoken To:
  • Processes what is heard more slowly
  • Difficulty distinguishing letters by sound
  • Harder to hear & manipulate sounds
  • Harder to recall words, after their mind processes what was heard

Difficult Things To Remember:
  • Memorizing things in sequence & information used less often
  • Spelling of their middle name
  • The alphabet
  • Addresses & phone numbers
  • Days of week
  • Months of the year
  • Historic dates
  • Multiplication table
  • Math facts

What Will Not Help:
  • Reading everything to them
  • Simply waiting for…
    • A new teacher
    • A new school
    • A little more time
  • Any traditional phonics approach
  • Vision therapy
  • Physical exercise only
  • Special diets or medicine

How To Help:
  • Build up their self-esteem
    • Envelop them with positivity
    • Stop telling them to try harder
  • Don’t set them up for teasing, bullying or humiliation
    • Keep students’ weaknesses confidential
    • Just skip over them for out-loud reading in the classroom
    • For spelling bees, etc., give students an option to work on something else at their desk
  • Let them use resources for skills that are difficult for them:
    • Multiplication tables
    • Calculators
    • Audio texts
  • Be patient
    • Give them extra time to process and think of their response

Exceptional Strengths:
  • Creative, global thinkers
  • Logistics
  • Visualize in 3-D pictures
  • Scientific discovery
  • Exceptionally Artistic
  • Thinking ‘Outside the box’
  • Great Athletic performance

Other Characteristics:
  • Odd Reading
    • Reads word correctly on 1 page, then incorrectly on the next page and may not try to sound out an unknown word
  • Directionality Confusion
    • Up-down
    • Left-right
    • Next-previous
    • North-South
  • Terrible Spelling

Other Issues That Occur With Dyslexia:
  • Dysgraphia: Difficulty with handwriting skills
  • Dyscalculia: Difficulty with calculating math problems
  • ADD/ADHD: Sometimes this is misdiagnosed
  • Low self-esteem
  • Autism

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