What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a specific reading disability due to a defect in the brain’s processing of graphic symbols. It is a learning disability that alters the way the brain processes written material. Dyslexia symptoms include difficulties with word recognition, spelling, and decoding. People with dyslexia have problems with reading comprehension.
What are the causes of Dyslexia?
The problem in dyslexia is a linguistic one, not a visual one. Dyslexia in no way stems from any lack of intelligence. People with severe dyslexia can be brilliant.
Generally speaking, a language-sound impairment otherwise known as a phonological impairment is a well-recognised cause of Dyslexia.
The effects of dyslexia, in fact, vary from person to person. The only shared trait among people with dyslexia is that they read at levels significantly lower than typical for people of their age. Dyslexia is different from reading retardation that may reflect mental retardation or cultural deprivation.
How can Focused Education help your Dyslexic child?
By offering you caring, expert support and dyslexia testing in Perth. Overcoming a learning difficulty is possible with the right educational assessment, advice and tutoring support. Our professional psychologists love helping children with Dyslexia in Perth with professional educational and health services.
Dyslexia Testing, Diagnosis, and treatment.
The Diagnostic Parent interview with a registered psychologist at Focused Education.
Focused Education psychologists love assisting families during our 1-hour learning difficulties consultation. Our fee is $180 for this appointment with a specialist clinician in which they determine how to help children with Dyslexia, ADHD or Autism in and around the Perth metropolitan area.
The 1-hour appointment is a lower fee than our full educational assessment because we genuinely care about your child and only complete a full educational assessment if we need to.
With educational and developmental assessments ranging between $1680 and $1380, we recommend our $180 consultation as a great starting point. In 50% of cases, a full educational assessment is not required.
Psychological services for children in Perth with learning disabilities is expensive, and there are often long waiting lists. We always ensure we have available Educational and Developmental Psychologists to discuss Specific Learning Disorder assessment options and screen your child for learning difficulties.
What are the signs and symptoms of Dyslexia?
A symptom is something the patient senses and describes, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor notice. For example, drowsiness may be a symptom while dilated pupils may be a sign. Billionaire Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, was born with dyslexia. The Dyslexia Research Trust includes these as the most common signs and symptoms associated with dyslexia.
Symptoms of Dyslexia
Your child may struggle with articulation (word pronunciation). There may also be problems remembering the days of the week, months of the year, colours, and some arithmetic tables.
- Coordination – the child may seem clumsier than his or her peers. Catching a ball may be difficult.
- Left and right – the child commonly gets “left” and “right” mixed up.
- Letter Reversals – numbers and letters are reversed without a child realising.
- Spelling – may not follow a pattern of progression seen in other children. The child may learn how to spell a word today and completely forget the next day. One word spelt incorrectly in a variety of ways on the same page.
- Phonology problems – phonology refers to the speech sounds in a language. If a word has more than two syllables, phonology processing becomes much more difficult. For example, with the word “unfortunately” a person with dyslexia may be able to process the sounds “un” and “ly”, but not the ones in between.
- Concentration span – children with dyslexia commonly find it hard to concentrate for long, compared to other children. Many adults with dyslexia say this is because, after a few minutes of non-stop struggling, the child is mentally exhausted. A higher number of children with dyslexia also have ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), compared to the rest of the population.
- Sequencing ideas – when a person with dyslexia expresses a sequence of ideas, they may seem illogical for people without the condition.
- Autoimmune conditions – people with dyslexia are more likely to develop immunological problems, such as hay fever, asthma, eczema, and other allergies.
What are the causes of Dyslexia?
Specialist doctors and researchers are not sure what causes a person to develop dyslexia. Some evidence points to a possibility that the condition is inherited, as Dyslexia often runs in families.
Genetic causes of Dyslexia
Genetic defect linked to reading problems – a team at the Yale School of Medicine found that defects in a gene, known as DCDC2, were associated with problems in reading performance. They also reported that this defective gene appears to interact with KIAA0319, a second dyslexia gene.
Dutch scientists reported in the journal Dyslexia that dyslexia is a “highly heritable learning disorder” that has a complex genetic architecture. Over the past ten years, they added, scientists have identified several candidate genes that may contribute to dyslexia susceptibility.
A small minority of people with dyslexia acquired the condition after they were born. The most common causes of acquired dyslexia are brain injuries, stroke or some other type of trauma.
According to the National Health Service, people with dyslexia find reading and writing difficult because of “phonological processing impairment”.
Humans have the ability to understand spoken language; it is something the brain acquires quickly and naturally from a very early age. That is why during very early childhood (3 years) we can utter and understand relatively complicated sentences.
Most linguists and speech pathologists call this natural ability to acquire language the LAD (language acquisition device).
When we listen to verbal communication, we do not consciously register that words are made up of phonemes, we only hear the word itself. Phonemes are the smallest units of sound that build whole words.
For example, when we hear the word “Kangaroo”, we hear it as a whole, seamless utterance. We do not need to break it down into the phonemes – “kan” “ga” “roo”, then put them together again to make sense of it.
Children learn to utter and hear speech before they learn to read and write. When your child learns to read and write, they need to recognise the letters that make up a word. Kids then use them to identify the phonemes and put them together to make sense of the word – this is called phonological processing.
Experts say that people with Dyslexia have problems with phonological processing.
If a parent, guardian or teacher suspects a child may have dyslexia, a professional evaluation can lead to a better understanding of the problem and will more likely result in effective treatment. Dyslexia test results may also open the door to more support for the child, he or she may become eligible for special education services, support programs, and services later on in colleges and universities.
The National Center for Learning and Disabilities says that dyslexia testing can occur at almost any age. The type of test and how it is carried out will vary, depending on the age of the person and what problems they have.
When testing young children, the examiner will usually focus on phonological processing, how well the child expresses himself/herself, their receptive language abilities, and their ability to make sound-symbol associations.
The International Dyslexia Association says a diagnostic test should cover the following areas:
- Background information.
- Oral language skills.
- Word recognition.
- Decoding – the ability to read new words by using letter-sound knowledge.
- Phonological processing.
- Automaticity/fluency skills.
- Reading comprehension.
- Vocabulary knowledge.
- Family history and early development.
- During the assessment process, the examiner needs to be able to rule out other conditions, problems or illnesses that may show similar symptoms.
- Examples include vision problems, hearing impairment, lack of instruction, and social and economic factors.
Diagnosing poor pre-reading skills with MRI scans – medical technology may soon be able to help in the early diagnosis of dyslexia. Scientists at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) found a link between the size of an area of the brain involved in language processing and poor pre-reading skills in kindergarten children.
What are the treatment options for Dyslexia?
It is important for family members and the person with dyslexia to remember that DYSLEXIA IS NOT A DISEASE. We live in a society where reading and writing are integral parts of everyday life. Dyslexia interventions that help people with dyslexia improve their coping skills and phonological awareness.
There is currently no “cure” for dyslexia. There are, however, a range of specialist and well-targeted interventions that can help children and adults improve their reading and writing skills.
The majority of children diagnosed with dyslexia will only need to miss a few hours of their regular school classes each week to receive specialist educational support, which may consist of one-on-one teaching or small-group classes.
In some cases, if the dyslexia is severe, moving the child to a specialist school may be advised. Unfortunately, such schools are not available everywhere. The sooner a child is diagnosed and receives support, the more likely he or she will achieve long-term improvements. Psychological testing helps the teacher develop a better-targeted teaching program for the child.
Specialist Dyslexia teachers specialise in helping children with dyslexia and will use a range of techniques to improve the child’s reading skills. These techniques usually involve tapping into the child’s senses, including touch, vision and hearing. Some children find that tracing their finger around the shape of letters helps them process data more effectively.
The child will receive help in improving the following skills:
- Learning to recognize phonemes.
- Understanding that these phonemes are represented by letters or groups of letters strung together.
- Reading out aloud.
- Vocabulary building.
- Reading comprehension.
It is vital for the child’s self-esteem and personal ambition that he or she is reminded that even though reading and writing may be a problem, millions of people with dyslexia worldwide have thrived and become successful and productive citizens.
E-readers help people with dyslexia read better – a study performed at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Laboratory for Visual Learning and published in the journal PLoS ONE reported that e-readers can help people with dyslexia read more easily, more rapidly, and with better understanding.
What does the future hold for my Dyslexic child?
For individuals with Dyslexia, the prognosis varies enormously. Dyslexia affects such a wide range of people, producing different symptoms and varying degrees of severity, that predicting individual outcomes is tough.
Outcomes tend to be better for people who are diagnosed early and receive adequate support from professionals and family members. Psychologists and teaching experts emphasise that helping the child maintain good self-esteem and self-image is vital. According to the Brain Foundation, Australia, “Although the outlook for people with dyslexia depends on the severity of their disorder, the majority live normal, productive lives.”
Famous people with dyslexia
- Alexander Graham Bell – inventor of the telephone.
- Lewis Carroll – author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
- Richard Branson – business person, founder of the Virgin Group, which consists of over 400 companies.
- Albert Einstein – the physicist who developed the general theory of relativity.
- Leonardo da Vinci – painter, scientist, and mathematician.
- Jules Verne – science-fiction author.
- Tom Cruise – actor.
- Steve Jobs – co-founder of Apple Inc.
- John Lennon – musician, one of The Beatles.
- Jay Leno – talk show host and comedian.
- Jamie Oliver – celebrity chef.
- Keanu Reeves – actor.
- David Rockefeller – businessman and philanthropist.
- Steven Spielberg – film director.
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