• Tashya De Silva

What is Dyslexia?

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

Dyslexia is a learning disorder in reading; affecting areas of the brain that process language. Many people often believe dyslexia impacts intelligence and vision which is not true. There are numerous people who go on to thrive with dyslexia becoming successful in various fields including business, arts, science etc. (including Albert Einstein, Richard Branson, Leonardo Da Vinci, John Lennon, John F. Kennady, Orlando Bloom etc.)


Dyslexia can affect one's ability to read, write, spell and speak. The main difficulty lies in reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (Decoding). Phonemic Awareness, which is the ability to recognise sounds in words is also a challenge for people with dsylexia. In some cases, dyslexia may be identified at a later stage when they have problems with more complex skills, such as grammar, reading comprehension, reading fluency, sentence structure, and more in-depth writing. Though there is no cure for dyslexia, early intervention and specialized education can improve outcomes. Many people do not realize they have dyslexia until much later in life. It is important to still seek help regardless of when you are diagnosed.


Signs of Dyslexia

It is important to recognise that each individual may present dyslexia differently, the difficulties faced are on a spectrum hence some may have a milder form whilst others require extensive support. Regardless, all individuals can thrive and lead succesful lives at school and work.


Preschool

  • Late talking

  • Learning new words slowly

  • Problems forming words correctly, such as reversing sounds in words or confusing words that sound alike

  • Problems remembering or naming letters, numbers and colors

  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes or playing rhyming games

School Children / Pre - Teens

By this age, symptoms and signs will become more apparent, such as:

  • Reading well below the expected level for age

  • Problems processing and understanding what he or she hears

  • Difficulty finding the right word or forming answers to questions

  • Problems remembering the sequence of things

  • Difficulty seeing (and occasionally hearing) similarities and differences in letters and words

  • Inability to sound out the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word

  • Difficulty spelling

  • Spending an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading or writing

  • Avoiding activities that involve reading


Teens & Adults

  • Difficulty reading, including reading aloud

  • Slow and labor-intensive reading and writing

  • Problems spelling

  • Avoiding activities that involve reading

  • Mispronouncing names or words, or problems retrieving words

  • Trouble understanding jokes or expressions that have a meaning not easily understood from the specific words (idioms), such as "piece of cake" meaning "easy"

  • Spending an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading or writing

  • Difficulty summarizing a story

  • Trouble learning a foreign language

  • Difficulty memorizing

  • Difficulty doing math problems

For a breakdown by smaller age groups, click HERE


Dispelling Myths


  1. MYTH: Reading and Writing letters backward is a main sign of dyslexia

Fact: Some children with dyslexia write letter backwards whilst others dont, hence it isn't necessarily a sign of dyslexia. In fact, most children commonly reverse letters, such as ''b'' and ''d'', or '"p" and "q''. However if your child continues to do this at the end of 1st Grade, it might be good to get an evaluation done.


2. MYTH: Children with dyslexia just need to try harder to read


Fact: Research has shown the brain functions differently for children with dyslexia. It also shows reading can change the brain over time. However no matter how hard the kid tries, there will be no improvement unless the instruction is appropriate. There are many reading programmes that can help struggling readers, one of the most common is using multi-sensory approach (activating different senses - smell, tough, sight towards learning).


3. MYTH: Dyslexia goes away once the child has learnt to read


Fact: Dyslexia is a lifelong learning difference that affects more than basic reading skills. Being able to read does not mean the child is ''cured'' , fluency and comprehension may still be a concern when reading or they may struggle with spelling and writing even once they have learned to read.


4. MYTH: Dyslexia is caused by not reading enough at home


Fact: Dyslexia is a neurological condition. Reading and being exposed to reading is important to all kids, however in children with Dyslexia their brains function differently being the primary reason for their reading difficulties. It is not caused by a lack of exposure.


5. MYTH: Dyslexia is only apparent during Primary School

Fact: Signs for Dyslexia can show up in preschool or earlier, this is because it affect language skills that are essential for reading such as ability to rhyme or speech. If speech is delayed or there are difficulties rhyming, this could be a sign.




Disclaimer: The following information is not a suitable replacement for therapy or professional help. Mental health is very complex and there are various individual differences due to circumstances, genetics and life experience. All information published has been generalised and done in good faith. However, we will not be liable for any actions taken as a result of this website/post. If you are facing mental health concerns, it is important you reach out to a professional. You may also contact us at tashya1@gmail.com for further support.