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About Dyslexia

What is Dyslexia?

The International Dyslexia Association’s (IDA) definition of dyslexia is largely one of the most accepted and referenced definitions of dyslexia.

“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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 are the characteristics of Dyslexia?

Symptoms of dyslexia vary from person to person and occur on a spectrum. Dyslexia can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and dyslexia often goes unrecognized and undiagnosed. Often times, because dyslexia is inherited, adults will realize they are dyslexic after their child(ren) are diagnosed. This usually answers a lot of questions and gives much needed validation. It’s also important to know that dyslexia is not correlated to intelligence. A person can have any level of intelligence and have dyslexia. Dyslexia is a learning difference. Dyslexics learn and process information differently from the mainstream population. This means they may struggle with the way material is taught and presented in school and/or the workplace.

What kind of instruction?

Instruction that is supported by scientific research (steeped in the field of dyslexia and learning disabilities) is explicit, multi-sensory, systematic, and cumulative. This type of instruction is referred to as the, "Science of Reading" and may be called either Orton Gillingham or Structured Literacy based/influenced. The attached resource contains a wealth of information published by, The International Dyslexia Association. Refer to page 15 or the handbook for detailed information on this type of instruction.

Do accommodations help?

When there is a learning disability, accommodations are very important. Accommodations level the playing field, making learning accessible and work manageable (in the case of an adult). The most commonly used accommodations are extra time, audio text, editing help (spelling), and voice typing capabilities. Read the following article for more information on accommodations.

What are Dyslexia myths?

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a myth as, “An idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true.”

There are a lot of myths floating around about dyslexia.
Being aware of the myths surrounding dyslexia will help you avoid
common mistakes parents and professionals make when working with children who struggle to read and spell. Many think that dyslexics see words and letters backwards. Some think that dyslexia equates to low intelligence. Both of these assumptions are commonly held myths and are incorrect. Take the following quiz to see if you are aware of the myths. The answers are in the link below the quiz.

True or False Quiz
1. T F Dyslexia is not real.
2. T F Dyslexia is when people see words and numbers backwards.
3. T F A developmental reading disability is different from dyslexia.
4. T F Kids can’t be tested for dyslexia until they are at least 8 years old.
5. T F More boys are dyslexia than girls.
6. T F Very few people are affected by dyslexia.
7. T F People with dyslexia can’t read.
8. T F Some people outgrow dyslexia.
9. T F 4 and 5 year olds that show reversals in numbers or letters, are probably dyslexic.
10. T F People with dyslexia (poor reading ability) have lower intelligence (IQ).

What’s Dysgraphia and How is it Different from Dyslexia?

Many people with dyslexia also have dysgrahia. That said, a person can have dysgraphia all by itself. Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing. The main difference between dyslexia and dysgraphia is that dysgraphia does not affect reading.

Big Picture Characteristics of Dysgraphia
Individuals with dysgraphia may have difficulty with one or more of the following skills.
● Forming letters, numbers and words
● Spelling
● Organizing information from memory and getting words onto paper through writing or typing

Symptoms of Dysgraphia
Symptoms of dysgraphia can be seen in 6 different areas: fine motor, visual-spatial, language processing, spelling/handwriting, grammar, and organization of language. The number of symptoms and
severity will vary by student. Download our checklist to identify common symptoms of dysgraphia.

How Does Memory Affect Learning?

Working memory has been found to be a more powerful indicator than intelligence quotient (IQ) when it comes to learning. Poor working memory can affect reading comprehension, math, standardized test scores, the ability to move information into long-term memory, and just about everything else that is taught to a child. When memory systems are weak, students pay attention but can’t hold onto information long enough for it to stick and move into long term memory. This results in unexpected holes. It’s often surprising to find out that information students have been practicing for years have not been memorized accurately.

Children with learning disabilities and/or ADD/ADHD often have holes or weaknesses in their memory. When this occurs, memory will need to be supported with consistent review, repetition, multi-sensory activities, and the use of memory strategies. Use the following memory strategies to help students retain information and achieve more success.

1. Use multi-sensory activities – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.
2. Review previous learning at the beginning of your lessons.
3. Attach new learning to preexisting background knowledge or build background knowledge.
4. Use mnemonics.
5. Use graphic organizers.
6. Develop associations - Use visuals as memory triggers to support retention.
7. Repetition and consistency of instruction.
8. Ask students to teach you what they have learned. The ability to teach a concept is the highest level of learning.
9. Practice retrieving information through the use of practice tests/quizzes and study guides.
10. Take written (as opposed to typed) notes while reading and listening.
11. Patience and encouragement – only a certain amount of information can be learned at a time. Don’t present too much information at once.
12. Break information into smaller, more manageable parts.
13. Exercise regularly. Exercise reduces stress and anxiety, which in turn promotes retention of information.
14. Get a good night’s sleep. Learned information is stored and organized in the brain during sleep.

Weakness in memory has nothing to do with intelligence, but everything to do with brain wiring. Some days there will seem to be fewer holes in memory, while other days there seems to be more holes in memory. Part of this has to do with how the brain processes, organizes and retrieves information. But other variables can play into memory, too. Anxiety, emotional/physical health, and the presence of learning disabilities will also affect memory.

Kari B.

READ Parent
“Mrs. Steinke is truly a blessing to me. I feel she really has a passion for teaching and helping children. My child looked forward to working with Mrs. Steinke. She always talked about the games they played. I will always be thankful to Mrs. Steinke for the work she did with my child. My child now reads without frustration and has gained self-confidence that she did not have prior to going through this program with Mrs. Steinke. I would highly recommend R.E.A.D Learning Services to anyone who has someone who is struggling with reading.”
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