Dyslexia is the most common learning disability and it is considered to affect up to 10% of the population. Some researchers estimate that its rate is even higher.
Dyslexia is a specific neurological disability related to language and it is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, poor spelling, and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language which is the ability to identify and manipulate the individual sounds that make up words. This causes reading and spelling problems and it is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities. Smart and clever individuals who have difficulty learning to read, spell, and write may be dyslexic.
A study with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows that those with dyslexia use a different part of their brain when reading and working with language. They have an abnormal pattern of brain function – underactivity in some regions and overactivity in another. The findings provide evidence that people with dyslexia are not poorly taught, lazy, or stupid, as sometimes others think, but have an inborn brain difference that has nothing to do with intelligence.
As preschoolers, children with dyslexia appear to be developing at the same rate as peers. When they start school, however, and are confronted with learning to read and spell, everything changes.The striking mismatch between their capabilities in non-reading areas and their inability to learn to read at the same rate as their peers may be a red flag.
IF YOUR CHILD IS NOT DIAGNOSED WITH DYSLEXIA BUT 10 OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING FACTS ABOUT THIS DISORDER ARE VALID FOR THEM, HE OR SHE MAY NEED A PROFESSIONAL ASSESSMENT:
- A dyslexic kid may not recognize rhymes (may not perceive, for instance, that “car” rhymes with “bar”).
- Dyslexics may have trouble separating the individual sounds or syllables of a word from each other. The same may apply to the rapid recall and recognition of letters and words.
- Dyslexics may mispronounce long words, or transpose phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.
- A child with dyslexia appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level. He or she might do well on oral, but not on written test.
- Dyslexic’s reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.
NB! A common assumption about dyslexia is that letters or words appear reversed; i.e., “was” appears like “saw.” This type of problems can be a part of dyslexia, but reversals are also very common among neurotypical kids up until first or second grade. However, if this does not stop afterwards, it becomes a red flag for dyslexia.
An additional interesting fact related to the subject: there is no evidence that dyslexics actually see letters and words backward. Dyslexia is not a problem with the eyes. A research has demonstrated that there is no difference between the letter reversals of young dyslexic and non-dyslexic children. Dyslexia may cause people to reverse certain words because of their confusion when discerning between left and right and their difficulties comprehending their reading. Professor Frank Vellutino conducted a study while at the University at Albany. He asked dyslexic and non-dyslexic American students to reproduce a series of Hebrew letters that none of them had ever seen before. The dyslexic students were able to perform the task just as accurately as the non-dyslexic students, showing that their dyslexia did not affect their eyesight.
- A dyslexic read and reread with little comprehension.
NB! With practice, typical readers gradually learn to read words automatically so they can focus on comprehending and remembering what they’ve read. Due the specific brain functioning of dyslexics (already mentioned above), their reading doesn’t become automatic and remains slow and labored. This affects reading comprehension, in part, because when it is difficult to read and it happens slowly and laboriously, we forget what we have read. Automaticity in reading is very important to getting the message, regardless of what you are reading.
- A dyslexic thinks primarily with images and feeling, not sounds or words and thus learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.
- Children with this learning disability have difficulty sustaining attention. They either seem hyperactive or daydreamers.
- Dyslexics are labelled lazy, dumb, careless, immature. They are blamed for “not trying hard enough” or having a “behavior problem”.
NB! What happens, in fact, is that these children learn that they are going to fail at tasks of reading, spelling and writing and refusing to do them becomes some kind of an attempt at self-preservation (i.e., rather than try and fail, it is safer to just not try)
- A child with dyslexia frequently feels dumb; has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with ingenious compensatory strategies. He or she is easily frustrated and emotional about school reading or testing.
- People with dyslexia often complain of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading and also of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying.
- Individuals with dyslexia can have difficulties with fine motor skills. Pencil grip is unusual; handwriting varies or is illegible. They may also have gross motor problems, be clumsy, uncoordinated and poor at ball or team sports..
- Dyslexics may have difficulties with math – can do arithmetic, but fail at word problems, for example.
- Children with dyslexia may be prone to ear infections; sensitive to foods, additives, and chemicals.
- Dyslexics can be ambidextrous, and often confuse left/right, over/under.
- Dyslexics can count, but may have difficulty counting objects and dealing with money.
Early, intensive, and systematic intervention can help a dyslexic student learn to read, spell and write and thus keep up and retain his grade level in school. It minimizes, as well, the negative effects dyslexia can have, such as low self-esteem and poor self-concept as a learner.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT DEVELOPMENTAL PROBLEMS
BONITATIS site does not intend to provide neither a comprehensive view on all developmental disorders, nor detailed information about every one of them. It does aim, though, at letting the public know about the newest and not widely known yet but very effective shared therapies and treatments for those disorders. Moreover, BONITATIS aspires to make them available to Bulgarian children.
WHY SHARED THERAPIES AND TREATMENTS?
It is no news that Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Dyslexia and Dyspraxia considerably overlap. Approximately half of the dyslectic children are dyspraxic too and about 30% of children diagnosed with ADHD have dyslexia. Many autistic children are hyperactive and have dyspraxia and dyslexia. A good number of children, diagnosed earlier with ADHD, after a year or two, receive the diagnosis of autism.
No doubt, more research must be done, but there is enough evidence, by now, that almost all the children with the above-mentioned conditions share similar learning difficulties and at least two serious physical problems – digestive abnormalities and neuro-developmental delay. It is beyond the scope of BONITATIS to join the discussion whether the latter are part of the cause of the disorders or their co morbidities. The important thing to have in mind is that the children with all these disorders get better on an appropriate nutritional protocol and a specialized exercise program, aimed at overcoming the neuro-developmental delay. BONITATIS strongly supports the combination of both strategies as part of an even more holistic approach.