Reading disorder

Reading disorder is a learning disorder that involves significant impairment of reading accuracy, speed, or comprehension to the extent that the impairment interferes with academic achievement or activities of daily life. People with reading disorder perform reading tasks well below the level one would expect on the basis of their general intelligence, educational opportunities, and physical health. Reading disorder is most commonly called dyslexia. Dyslexia, however, usually includes deficits in spelling and writing as well as reading Reading disorder is a learning disorder characterized by a significant disparity between an individual's general intelligence and his or her reading skills. Learning disorders, formerly called academic skills disorders, are disorders that account for difficulty learning and poor academic performance when low performance cannot be attributed to mental retardation, low intelligence, lack of learning opportunities, or such specific physical problems as vision or hearing deficits. Common learning disabilities include reading disorder (often called dyslexia), mathematics disorder, disorder of written expression, and some language processing disorders. Reading disorder can cause severe problems in reading, and consequently in academic work, even in people with normal intelligence, educational opportunities, motivation to learn to read, and emotional self-control. Reading disorder is different from slowness in learning or mental retardation. In reading disorder, there is a significant gap between the expected level of performance and actual achievement. Difficulties in reading can occur on many levels, and reading disorder may have several causes that manifest in different ways. Common problems in people with reading disorder include:
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slow reading speed poor comprehension when reading material either aloud or silently omission of words while reading reversal of words or letters while reading difficulty decoding syllables or single words and associating them with specific sounds (phonics) limited sight word vocabulary

Reading disorder was first recognized in the late nineteenth century, when it was called pure word blindness, then developmental alexia. Starting in the 1960s, educators commonly referred to reading disorder as dyslexia, from the Greek word dys, meaning poor or inadequate, and the word lexismeaning words or language. Despite the long history of reading disorder, its cause is not known. Learning to read is a complex task. It requires coordination of the eye muscles to follow a line of print, spatial orientation to interpret letters and words, visual memory to retain the

meaning of letters and sight words. or rhymes problems with spelling transposing letters in words omitting or substituting words poor reading comprehension slow reading speed (oral or silent) In addition to these symptoms. researchers have found that the condition is at least partially inherited. It appears that reading disorder may also have causes other than genetic inheritance. Symptoms Common characteristics of children with reading disorder include: • • • • • • • difficulty identifying single words problems understanding the sounds in words. children with reading disorder often have other delays or learning problems. The sounds must then be associated with specific meanings. sound order. early/late) mathematics disorder disorder of written expression . For comprehension. and may be different in different individuals. Given the complicated demands on the human nervous system involved in reading. the meanings must be retained while a sentence or passage is read. a grasp of sentence structure and grammar. What is known is that 90% of children diagnosed with reading disorder have other language deficits. the Centre for Reading Research in Norway studied a large family with reading problems. sequencing ability. In addition. the roots of reading disorder have proved difficult to isolate. These include: • • • • • delays in spoken language confusion with directions. the brain must integrate visual cues with memory and associate them with specific sounds. as about half the people with this learning disability do not come from families with a history of the problem. it is entirely possible that there are several different problems in brain function related to difficulty in learning to read. the researchers were able to pinpoint mutations in specific genes that are associated with reading and writing deficits. Still other research suggests a possible link with a subtle visual problem that affects the speed with which affected people can read. By evaluating the reading and writing abilities of about 80 family members across four generations. and the ability to categorize and analyze. Despite the complexity of reading disorder. Reading disorder occurs when any of these processes are disrupted. Many theories suggest that functional problems in specific areas of the brain underlie reading disorder. or right/left-handedness confusion with opposites (up/down. In 1999. For that reason.

Any child. and says the sound-symbol association. Early intervention is the key to preventing the associated symptoms of low self-esteem. There are many successful programs to address individual reading needs. and kinesthetic channels of stimulation.Treatment Reading disorder. a student may trace the letter or letter combination with his or her finger while pronouncing a word out loud. The American Academy of Ophthalmology. lack of interest in school. For example. feels. and Beth Slingerland—underlies many of the programs in use today. Samuel Torrey Orton. Highly structured. Repetitive drill and practice serve to form necessary associations between sounds and written symbols. then syllables. including reading disorder or dyslexia. the Wilson Reading System. and some school districts are more willing than others to recognize specific learning disabilities. auditory. the American Academy of Pediatrics. However. like other learning disorders. then into words and sentences in a systematic fashion. developed the core principles of such an approach in the 1920s. Anna Gillingham. who has a diagnosed learning disability. They break words down into their smallest visual components: letters and the sounds associated with them. The work of three of his followers— teachers Bessie Stillman. The student simultaneously sees. Good programs attempt to form and strengthen mental associations among visual. Treatment approaches vary from visual stimulation to special diets to enhanced reading instruction. Multisensory. Remediation begins at the level of the single letter-sound. should be eligible for an Individual Education Program (IEP) that provides customized instruction at school designed to address the disability. all good programs are: • • • Sound/symbol (phonics)-based. and programs based on the Herman method. Definitions of learning disabilities vary among the states. Preventation There is no known way to prevent reading disorder. it is generally agreed that customized education is the only successful remedy. The first researcher to identify and study dyslexia. . falls under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In general. including Project READ. and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus have issued a policy statement warning against visual treatments and recommending a cross-disciplinary educational approach. however. works up to digraphs (a pair of letters representing a single speech sound). and poor behavior that often accompany low academic achievement.