Monday, June 2, 2008

Dyslexia and Related Disorders

Dyslexia comes from the Greek language that means poor language. Individuals with dyslexia usually have problem with reading, writing and spelling despite adequate intelligence and educational experience. Some may have other related disorders such as ADHD, dysgraphia (difficulty with handwriting), dyscalculia (difficulty with math) and dyspraxia (difficulty with motor skills). Dyslexia often runs in families. Individuals with dyslexia need a multisensory, explicit, systematic and cumulative reading method to learn well.

Individuals with dyslexia may have the following characteristics:

- delayed spoken language
- difficulty in learning the sequence of the letters in the alphabet
- persistent letter reversals, rotations and transpositions in spelling, reading and writing
- difficulty in completing school assignments and they do not reflect his/her potential
- difficulty in remembering spelling
- poor word retrieval ability and poor short term memory
- slow and laborious oral reading (reading below grade level)
- difficulty in pronouncing words (magazine - makasing, caterpillar - gaterpeller)
- difficulty in following directions
- confusion with left and right, time, days in the week etc
- difficulty in hearing and manipulating sounds within words (Poor Phonemic Awareness)
- difficulty differentiating different sounds in words (Poor Auditory Discrimination)
- difficulty in doing mathematical calculations and problem solving questions
- difficulty in retelling stories or events in the correct sequence
- poor organizational skills
- poor fine motor coordination (awkward pencil grip)
- difficulty in staying on task

Pre-school and Kindergarten:

- Delayed speech (age 3 onwards)
- Mixing up sounds in multi-syllabic words
- Left and right confusion
- Unable to rhyme (age 5 onwards)
- Poor phonemic awareness
- Difficulty in learning the names of the letters and sounds; sequencing problem

Problems Observed in Schools: Reading, Writing and Spelling

- slow, choppy and laboured reading
- often read words by shape: form – from, horse – house
- leave out/ add function words: for, of, the, a, an, was
- inaccurate reading – wrong sequence: saw – was,
who – how, lots – lost, girl – grill, etc
- directionality confusion: b – d, b – p, n – u, m – w, etc
- poor punctuation skills
- difficulty in expressing ideas in writing and proofreading

Other Observable Behaviours

- poor short term memory
- word retrieval problem
- sequencing problems
- poor organizational skills
- inconsistent and downward trend of grades