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Learning Disabilities - Dyslexia
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a
language-based learning disability, which results in the person having
difficulties with reading, writing, spelling and sometimes speaking.
memory, mathematics, concentration, personal organisation and sequencing
may be affected.
In dyslexic people, the
brain has been wired to process information differently. It doesn't mean
that a dyslexic person is slow, disabled or not motivated to learn.
On the contrary, dyslexic people can be quite brilliant in other areas
and many famous, successful people have been identified as dyslexic.
In fact, dyslexia can be
seen as a gift. "Dyslexic
people are visual, multi-dimensional thinkers. We are intuitive and
highly creative, and excel at hands-on learning. Because we think in
pictures, it is sometimes hard for us to understand letters, numbers,
symbols, and written words.
We can learn to read, write and study
efficiently when we use methods geared to our unique learning style."(source
Ron D Davis, www.dyslexia.com)
As parents and teachers,
we need to be able to identify dyslexia and be able to change our
teaching strategies to accommodate the different needs of these
Common Signs of
If a person displays
difficulties in the following areas, testing for dyslexia is
writing letters in the
wrong order or back to front
sounding out words
identifying the correct
sounds of letters
numbers, days of the week, months of the year - basic sequencing
age-appropriate speed and accuracy
learning number facts
Not all signs occur in
all dyslexics and the severity can vary from mild to severe. Formal
testing is the only way to truly determine whether or not a person is
Dyslexia cannot be cured
and it's a life long condition. But the difficulties it presents
can be overcome with the right teaching. Early identification and
intervention is the key to helping dyslexics overcome their difficulties
and achieve success in school and in life.
Practical ideas for
Research has shown that a
multi-sensory approach is the most effective way to teach the dyslexic
student. Multi-sensory means using all of the senses to process
information, particularly including touch and movement. Dyslexic
children need the extra information they gain from feeling and moving to
help make sense of the information going in. For instance, when
learning to write letters, it's not enough for them to see it.
They will need to trace the shape with their fingers, feel the shape of
it as well as seeing or hearing it.
The following ideas can
Early exposure to oral reading, writing,
drawing and practice to encourage development of print knowledge,
basic letter formation and recognition skills and linguistic awareness
(the relationship between sound and meaning)
Practice reading different kinds of texts
(i.e., books, magazines, advertisements, comics)
Multi-sensory, structured language instruction
and practice using sight, sound and touch when introducing new ideas
Modifying classroom procedures to allow for
extra time to complete assignments, help with note-taking, oral
testing and other means of assessment
Using books-on-tape and assistive technology
such as screen readers and voice recognition computer software
Help with the emotional issues that arise from
struggling to overcome academic difficulties.
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