Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that affects the ability to read and spell. About sixty per cent of children with dyslexia also have trouble with the sounds that make up words.
Dyslexia can also cause difficulties with basic maths (especially the order of numbers and multiplication tables), general literacy skills, word interpretation and perception, organisational skills, short-term memory, sequencing and information processing.
Children with dyslexia, however, are often very creative and able in certain areas of the curriculum, such as art, design, technology, computing, drama and lateral thinking.
Dyslexia is a complex neurological disorder and affects about ten per cent of the population, across all levels of intellectual ability. It tends to affect boys more than girls and often runs in families. It is believed to have a genetic cause.
A dyslexic pupil may:
- use bizarre spellings and have poor phonological awareness
- frequently lose the place when reading and see blurred or distorted word shapes
- confuse some high frequency words, such as was/saw
- reverse letters and number digits beyond the age where this is normal
- write words with the correct letters in the wrong order
- write sequences of letters and numbers in reverse
- have difficulty remembering a word and substitute other words instead
- have great difficulty organising herself and her belongings
- be unable to remember simple sequences, such as days of the week
- experience problems following oral instructions
- have poor sense of time and direction
- make frequent errors when copying, especially from the board
- have some coordination difficulties
- have low levels of motivation and self-esteem.
You may need to:
- teach syllable count to help the learner hear how many syllables are in a word
- teach how to blend syllables
- teach onset and rime to help the pupil to discriminate between words aurally
- teach phoneme discrimination to help the pupil identify phonemes in words
- teach phoneme-blending to help with reading and spelling
- use multi-sensory methods to support learning
- ensure repetition of learning, using word and language games for enjoyment
- make use of coloured overlays and line trackers where necessary
- create a positive reading environment, with opportunities to listen to stories
- teach keyboard skills and encourage use of spell-checkers
- encourage alternative methods of recording, such as writing frames, diagrams, labelled drawings, flow charts or comic strip stories
- allow the use of a scribe where appropriate, especially for copying anything important, such as homework instructions
- make use of audio-visual aids
- keep oral instructions brief and clear
- revise and review previously taught skills at frequent intervals
- raise self-esteem and confidence with lots of praise and encouragement.
Support Agencies and Links
- British Dyslexia Association: www.bdadyslexia.org.uk
- British Dyslexics: www.britishdyslexics.co.uk
- Dyslexia Action: www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk
- International Dyslexia Association: www.interdys.org