Dyslexia Dyslexia is defined as weaknesses in spelling, decoding words and word detection. Problems in phonological processing of sounds result in the failure to read. Such difficulties can affect acquiring vocabulary, academics and reading comprehension.
What are the characteristics of Dyslexia?
The most prominent characteristic of dyslexia is incompetency in reading words although given the correct instruction. The most common difficulties in dyslexia are:
- Learning the letters and the sounds.
- Naming words.
- Phonological awareness (rhyming words, determining syllables and distinguishing sounds).
- Spelling and reading comprehension.
- Poor copying abilities and poor handwriting.
- Difficulties in math and math operations.
What are some common misconceptions about Dyslexia?
- Reading backward or reversing letters doesn’t mean that the child is dyslexic.
- Children with dyslexia don’t necessarily have low IQ.
How is Dyslexia diagnosed?
It is crucial that an early diagnosis is made to determine effective instruction for children who struggle with reading. An evaluation usually includes:
- Oral language
- Word recognition.
- Reading comprehension.
- Phonological awareness.
What does the intervention program for dyslexia include?
A structured and early intervention program includes an intensive and individualized program in reading. The intervention allows the child to learn new skills and provides the opportunity to overcome reading deficits. Research has shown that children who are identified early as being at risk early on have shown significant gains after receiving an intensive intervention program. Some children unfortunately don’t receive the appropriate intervention until they are older. Early identification of struggling children is therefore a must along with an intensive intervention is offered to children in order to provide them with the best chance to become proficient readers.
What are some recommendations that teachers and parents can do to help children with dyslexia?
The following tips can be helpful for children with dyslexia ages 6 and up:
- Make books and stories about personal things and be sure to include the child’s name along with pictures. You can also have the child dictate a story and draw pictures.
- Choose rhyming books with high repetition of words, phrases and sentences.
- Make sure you pause for a few seconds to allow the child to fill in the remaining word as you are reading.
- Use computer to improve phonics and phonemic awareness.
- Play sound matching games such as words that start with a certain sound.
- Increase the use of letters the child writes to include all letters of the alphabet and all numbers up to 10.
- Use games that are related to reading such as spelling games, board games that require reading cards and games that involve reading instructions.
- Set up a cozy place for reading in addition to quiet time. This could take place anytime during the day and especially at night before bedtime.
- Read road signs, menus and labels or anything that the child is interested in.
- Be sure not to force the child to read a book they don’t like. Try to provide the child with other choices instead.
- Take turns reading a book with the child. This will help the child learn literacy skills such as new words, decoding and fluency.
Reference: Alpha to Omega: The A-Z of Teaching Reading, Writing and Spelling by Beve Hornsby, Frula Shear and Julie Pool