Assistive Technology Tools

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Friday, 16 May 2014

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is difficulty in learning to read fluently and with accurate comprehension. This includes difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, language skills/verbal comprehension, and/or rapid naming.

It is believed that dyslexia can affect between 5 and 10 percent of a given population although there have been no studies to indicate an accurate percentage.

There are three proposed cognitive subtypes of dyslexia (auditory, visual and attentional), although individual cases of dyslexia are better explained by specific underlying neuropsychological deficits and co-occurring learning disabilities (e.g. attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, math disability, etc.).

Reading disability, or dyslexia, is the most common learning disability. Although it is considered to be a receptive language-based learning disability in the research literature, dyslexia also affects one’s expressive language skills. Researchers at MIT found that people with dyslexia exhibited impaired voice-recognition abilities.

Adult dyslexics can read with good comprehension, but they tend to read more slowly than non-dyslexics and perform more poorly at spelling and nonsense word reading, a measure of phonological awareness. Dyslexia and IQ are not interrelated as a result of cognition developing independently.

Some see dyslexia as distinct from reading difficulties resulting from other causes, such as a non-neurological deficiency with vision or hearing, or from poor or inadequate reading instruction.

Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia

Signs and Symptoms
Some early symptoms that correlate with a later diagnosis of dyslexia include delays in speech, letter reversal or mirror writing, and being easily distracted by background noise. This pattern of early distractibility is partially explained by the co-occurrence of dyslexia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Although each disorder occurs in approximately 5% of children, 25-40% of children with either dyslexia or ADHD meet criteria for the other disorder.
At later ages symptoms can include a difficulty identifying or generating rhyming words, or counting syllables in words (phonological awareness), a difficulty segmenting words into individual sounds, or blending sounds to make words, a difficulty with word retrieval or naming problems (see anomic aphasia)), commonly very poor spelling, which has been called dysorthographia or dysgraphia (orthographic coding), whole-word guesses, and tendencies to omit or add letters or words when writing and reading are considered classic signs. Other classic signs for teenagers and adults with dyslexia include trouble with summarizing a story, memorizing, reading aloud, and learning a foreign language.
A common misconception about dyslexia is that dyslexic readers write words backwards or move letters around when reading this only occurs in a very small population of dyslexic readers. Individuals with dyslexia are better identified by reading accuracy, fluency, and writing skills that do not seem to match their level of intelligence from prior observations.

Early Warning Signs of Dyslexia

Early Warning Signs of Dyslexia

  • Word-naming problems
  • Word mispronunciation
  • Jumbling words
  • Poor use of syntax
  • Hesitate speech
  • Needs frequent presentation of a word before being able to use it accurately and consistently
  • Some children will be very poor at drawing; alternatively they could be the total opposite and very good with colour.
  • They may find it difficult to sort beads by shapes
  • Have difficulty in learning to dress themselves, putting clothes on inside out and not remembering which comes first, a vest of shirt, as well as difficulty with buttons and button holes.
  • May put their shoes on the wrong foot  as well as have difficulty in learning to tie their laces
  • They struggle with turning on and off taps, and have difficulty in turning door knobs.
  • They may find doing jigsaw puzzles or making models difficult.
  • They find it difficult  to use a pair of scissors
  • They will find it difficult to trace
  • They may not be able to use a rubber effectively
  • They tend to hold a pencil awkwardly
  • Learning to do a tie will be extremely difficult

  • They find hopping difficult
  • They constantly bumping into people and objects
  • They have tendency to knock things over or to drop things
  • Learning to ride a bicycle can be a tortuous process
  • Setting the table may be difficult – knives and forks may be put on the wrong side
  • Learning to swim can be difficult for some children, especially the breaststroke.
  • Playground games may be difficult, especially if they involve words such as left/right, up/down, backwards/forwards and front/behind.
  • Learning to dance may be difficult for some children.