What is Dyslexia?

“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.” – Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association

Characteristics of dyslexia are more than just reversing b’s and d’s.  It lies in the cognitive language processes that help a student determine the sound/letter/pattern relationships in our written language.  Students with dyslexia in general will have trouble hearing the correct letter/sound correspondences in words, which leads to difficulty in decoding, spelling, fluency and comprehension.  Dyslexia also occurs on a spectrum, ranging from mild to severe.

Early identification and treatment is the key to helping students with dyslexia achieve in school and in life. Most people with dyslexia benefit from using a multisensory, structured language approach. It is important for individuals with dyslexia to be taught using a systematic and explicit method that involves several senses (hearing, seeing, touching) at the same time. Students with dyslexia often need a great deal of structured practice and immediate, corrective feedback.

The exact causes are not completely known; however, brain imagery studies indicate differences in brain development and function. Dyslexia is NOT due to either lack of intelligence or desire to learn. The good news is that with research-based intervention, these children can learn to read and achieve greater success in the classroom.