What is Dyslexia?

The word ‘dyslexia’ is Greek and means ‘difficulty with words’. People with dyslexia have very specific learning differences and may experience difficulties in;

  • Spelling – It can be very erractic
  • Reading – hesitant and slow and not reliably understanding what has been read
  • Written language
  • Maths and number work
  • Short term memory and lack of concentration
  • Hearing and visual perception
  • Co-ordination
  • Sequencing difficulties – not getting dates or days of the week in order
  • Difficulty processing and remembering what is heard

Dyslexia is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points. Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities and is not an indication of intelligence or lack thereof. It is biological in origin and is defined by a lack of phonological awareness, which is an ability to convert letter combinations to sounds and vice versa.

The impact of dyslexia is extensive: if you cannot learn to read, you cannot read to learn and everything we do at school and throughout life requires us to have the skills to be able to read fluently and accurately. Above and beyond the difficulties and barriers that dyslexia presents, is the damage that low self-esteem can cause.

However, with the right help and support, strategies to overcome difficulties associated with dyslexia can be learnt and dyslexia needn’t be a barrier to achievement.

Dyslexia is not linked to low intelligence many are gifted in certain areas, some of which are;

  •   Innovative thinkers
  •   Lateral thinkers
  •   Excellent trouble shooters
  •   Intuitive problem solving
  •  Creative in many different ways

Common Dyslexia tendencies

Primary school age

  • Puts letters and figures the wrong way round.
  • Has difficulty remembering tables, alphabet, formulae etc.
  • Leaves letters out of words or puts them in the wrong order.
  • Still occasionally confuses ‘b’ and ‘d’ and words such as ‘no/on’.
  • Still needs to use fingers or marks on paper to make simple calculations
  • Has difficulty with tying shoe laces, tie, dressing.
  • Has difficulty telling left from right, order of days of the week, months of the year etc.
  • Has a poor sense of direction and still confuses left and right.
  • Lacks confidence and has a poor self-image.

12 or over

  • Needs to have instructions and telephone numbers repeated.
  • Gets ‘tied up’ using long words, e.g. ‘preliminary’, ‘philosophical’.
  • Confuses places, times, dates.
  • Has difficulty with planning and writing essays.
  • Has difficulty processing complex language or long series of instructions at speed.

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