What is Dyslexia?
The dictionary definition of dyslexia is "A general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect intelligence".
Researchers have found a gene on the short arm of chromosome #6 which is responsible for dyslexia. That gene is dominant, meaning it definitely runs in families.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) began their research into dyslexia in the 1980's. The history of dyslexia goes back much further, as early as 1878! The NIH defines dyslexia as "a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties
with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision
of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading
experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge".
What Dyslexia is NOT
- Dyslexia is not a sign of low intelligence or laziness. In fact most individuals with dyslexia work much harder to complete assignments and work.
- Dyslexia will not be "outgrown", it is a lifelong condition.
- Dyslexia is not the result of a lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities. It is a neurological condition that affects language processing
- Dyslexia is not rare- in fact 1:5 people are affected and many are unaware of the diagnosis. These individual often believe they are are stupid resulting in loss of self - esteem. Many end up in our court systems due to the psychological impact of the diagnosis being unrecognized and untreated.
- Dyslexia has no boundries, it knows all genders, races and economic classes.
- Dsylexia does not cause people to see thing backwards. They see things the same way anyone else does. Dyslexia is not a vision problem. It is a language processing problem.
By the time you found this information, you may have felt alone, climbing a mountain that seemed to have no end. You aren't alone any longer. The support and resources available are tremendous and readily available in a caring community.
Dyslexia is a misunderstood condition for those who are unaware. In
many cases this includes those in our education system. Dyslexia is not
in the curriculum for teachers to learn, which results in signs and
symptoms being missed or misunderstood.
This lack of awareness
contributes to the frustration and often the dysfunctional relationship
between parents and schools. The good news is there is help! With the
RIGHT intervention, those with dyslexia can be taught to read, spell and
write at grade level and beyond! Creating a positive relationship with
teachers and the school system will assist in getting the needed help
and teaching our teachers to identify future students.
If you, your child or someone you know has the signs and symptoms discussed on this site and other sources- DON'T WAIT. Reach out to an experienced resource to discuss next steps. Often only a experienced resources can help you navigate the myths and the system. There is no advantage to waiting or holding a child back a grade to see if things improve. If the child is dyslexic, you will not see an improvement without focused instruction using an Orton-Gillingham based approach. You can learn this approach yourself and teach your child, a private tutor is not the only option.
26 states now have laws outlining requirements for our education systems and structure. Much work remains, however we are making progress. To find out what your state is doing and see what other states are doing click here.