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Dyslexia is a syndrome: a collection of associated characteristics that vary in degree and from person to person. These characteristics encompass not only distinctive clusters of problems but sometimes also distinctive talents. Professor Tim Miles comments that dyslexia is typically characterised by 'an unusual balance of skills'. The syndrome of dyslexia is now widely recognised as being a specific learning disability of neurological origin that does not imply low intelligence or poor educational potential, and which is independent of race and social background. Although dyslexia seems to be more prevalent amongst males than females, the exact ratio is unknown: the most commonly quoted figures are between 3:1 and 5:1. The evidence suggests that in at least twothirds of cases, dyslexia has a genetic cause, but in some cases birth difficulties may play an aetiological role. Dyslexia may overlap with related conditions such as dyspraxia, attention deficit disorder (with or without hyperactivity) and dysphasia. In childhood, its effects can be mis-attributed to emotional or behavioural disorder. By adulthood, many dyslexics will have developed sophisticated compensating strategies that may mask their difficulties. The majority of experts concur that about 4% of the population are affected to a significant extent. This figure is based on the incidence of pupils who have received normal schooling and who do not have significant emotional, social or medical aetiology, but whose literacy development by the end of the primary school is more than 2 years behind levels which would be expected on the basis of chronological age and intelligence. However, perhaps as many as a further 6% of the population may be more mildly affected (e.g. in spelling). The neurological bases of dyslexia are now well established and reflected in current definitions of the condition. For example, the International Dyslexia Association (formerly the Orton Dyslexia Society) published the following definition of dyslexia: "Dyslexia is a neurologically-based, often familial disorder which interferes with the acquisition of language. Varying in the degrees of severity, it is manifested by difficulties in receptive and expressive language, including phonological processing, in reading, writing, spelling, handwriting and sometimes arithmetic. Dyslexia is not the result of lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities, but may occur together with these conditions. Although dyslexia is lifelong, individuals with dyslexia frequently respond successfully to timely and appropriate intervention" (Orton Dyslexia Society, 1994). The biology of dyslexia has been investigated in a range of studies that have confirmed a difference in brain anatomy, organisation and functioning. Research has also shown that the effects of dyslexia are due - at least, in part - to heritable influences. The latest brain imaging techniques, as well as encephalographic recording of the electrical activity of the brain, and even post-mortem examination, all reveal a range of functional and structural cerebral anomalies of persons with dyslexia. Although it is a disability, dyslexia is not a 'disease' nor can it be 'cured'. Indeed, the neurological differences found in dyslexia may confer advantages for some individuals (e.g. in visual or perceptual skills), which may to some extent explain the apparent paradox that some individuals who have problems with elementary skills such as reading and writing can nevertheless be highly gifted in other areas. The deficit model of dyslexia is now steadily giving way to one in which dyslexia is increasingly recognised as a difference in cognition and learning.
sequential and cumulative.The following cognitive characteristics of dyslexia have been widely noted in connection with dyslexia: A marked inefficiency in the working or short-term memory system Inadequate phonological processing abilities Difficulties with motor skills or co-ordination A range of problems connected with visual processing Main educational effects of dyslexia Reading and perceptual difficulties These can include: early difficulties in acquiring phonic skills a high proportion of errors in oral reading difficulty in extracting the sense from written material without substantial rereading slow reading speed inaccurate reading. often concealed by the use of an automatic spell-checker confusion of small words such as which/with omission of words. Assessment Assessment of dyslexia. specialise in the development of computerised assessment systems for use in primary and secondary schools in the UK and overseas. Further information on dyslexia screening is available on the Lucid Research area of this website. is usually undertaken by a Chartered Educational Psychologist. aural. perceptual and writing difficulties. S/he will look for a characteristic pattern of reading. organisation and under-achievement. tactile and kinaesthetic modalities to consolidate the learning experience. developers of CoPs (Cognitive Profiling System). with oral contributions being typically of a much higher quality than written accounts of the same subject matter in terms of structure. oral skills. There is a considerable overlap between the characteristics and occurrence of developmental disorders. Considerable experience and expertise can be needed to make a differential diagnosis. especially when the writer is under pressure awkward handwriting and/or slow writing speed an unexpected difference between oral and written expression. as well as associated difficulties in such areas as: speech and language. numeracy. omission of words frequent loss of the place when reading an inability to skim through or scan over reading matter a high degree of distractibility when reading perceived distortion of text (words may seem to float off the page or run together) a visually irritating glare from white paper or white-boards Writing problems These can include: an intractable spelling problem. in the UK. and all skills and concepts must be thoroughly practised . self expression and correct use of words. Interventions Multisensory methods of teaching are usually advocated for teaching dyslexic students. attention and distractibility. Lucid. and one disorder can also mimic another. Lessons must be very well structured. social and emotional factors. These integrate visual.
Patricia Hodge Dip. These children can be made to feel very different from their peers simply because they may be unable to follow simple instructions. A guide for teachers and parents.spld(dyslexia) Proficient reading is an essential tool for learning a large part of the subject matter taught at school. Much can be done to alleviate this by integrating the child into the class environment (which is predominantly a learning environment) where he/she can feel comfortable and develop confidence and self esteem. Hopefully. Content generally needs to concentrate on phonic skills. Well-structured phonics-based multisensory teaching is still the fundamental requirement. A dyslexic child who finds the acquisition of these literacy skills difficult can also suffer a lot of anguish and trauma when they may feel mentally abused by their peers within the school environment. It is a class teacher's responsibility to provide an atmosphere conducive to learning for all pupils within their class. with letters . Examples of poor auditory short term memory can be a difficulty in remembering the sounds in spoken words long enough to match these. Class teachers need to have an understanding of the problems that the dyslexic child may have within the classroom situation. a dyslexic child will experience the feeling of success and self-value. as these are usually the weakest aspect in dyslexia. in sequence. spell. © 2000. In a positive and encouraging environment. Class teachers may be particularly confused by the student whose consistent underachievement seems due to what may look like carelessness or lack of effort. Of particular importance is an understanding of the problems that poor auditory short term memory can cause. in terms of retaining input from the teacher. with this knowledge. which for others seem easy. more and more children and adults are needing help in learning to read. express their thoughts on paper and acquire adequate use of grammar. With an ever increasing emphasis on education and literacy. especially for primary-aged dyslexics. but the approaches are much more flexible and more fun than the older drill methods. The range of available products and materials for teaching and supporting children with dyslexia is steadily growing. because they have a learning difficulty.(overlearned) in order to counteract the memory problems of the dyslexic. a great deal of misunderstanding of a child's behaviour can be prevented.
perhaps give the child advanced time to read pre-selected reading material. P. and the child can actually enjoy the book. Save the dyslexic child the ordeal of having to 'read aloud in class'. copying must be kept to a minimum. rather than worry or spend time doing the wrong work. Reserve this for a quiet time with the class teacher. Make sure that messages and day to day classroom activities are written down. this will instantly demotivate them. or underline every second line with a different coloured chalk. Encourage good organizational skills by the use of folders and dividers to keep work easily accessible and in an orderly fashion. In this way information is more likely to go from short term memory to long term memory. Motivation is far better when demands are not too high. Make a daily check list for the pupil to refer to each evening. to be practiced at home the day before. Copying from the blackboard: Use different colour chalks for each line if there is a lot of written information on the board. Then.e. Notes or handouts are far more useful. and never sent verbally. they can ring up and check. The following items should provide useful guidelines for teachers and parents to follow and support : In the class: Of value to all children in the class is an outline of what is going to be taught in the lesson. Try to ensure that the appropriate worksheets and books are with the child to take home. If he has to labour over every word he will forget the meaning of what he is reading. Encourage a daily routine to help develop the child's own self-reliance and responsibilities. E. Reading: A structured reading scheme that involves repetition and introduces new words slowly is extremely important. This will help ensure that the child is seen to be able to read out loud. Alternatively. Often children with poor auditory short term memory cannot remember even a short list of instructions. Leave the writing on the blackboard long enough to ensure the child doesn't rush. Don't ask pupils to read a book at a level beyond their current skills. i.for spelling. swimming etc. If visual memory is poor. music. or he can be supported by a well-motivated and sympathetic classmate. or that the work is not erased from the board before the child has finished copying. it is important to check that the child correctly writes down exactly what is required. along with other children . Seat the child fairly near the class teacher so that the teacher is available to help if necessary. ending the lesson with a resume of what has been taught. Break tasks down into small easily remembered pieces of information. Ensure that the writing is well spaced. if there is any doubt over homework. This allows the child to develop confidence and self esteem when reading. When homework is set. In the front of the pupils' homework book get them to write down the telephone numbers of a couple of friends.
Three or four irregular words can be included each week. all describe a single mathematical process. Rehearse mathematical vocabulary constantly. i. Put key words on a card index system or on the inside cover of the pupils maths book so it can be used for reference and revision. Make sure he fully understand how to use it.e. e. This is a way of 'proof reading' what he does. Maths: Maths has its own language. which can be useful for initial correction of spellings. long division or algebra. Dyslexics seem to be unable to correct their spellings spontaneously as they write. If there are one or two dyslexics in the class. All children should be encouraged to proof read. Dyslexic students may have special difficulties with aspects of maths that require many steps or place a heavy load on the short-term memory. plus. poor spelling is not an indication of low intelligence. Teach the pupil how to use the times table square and encourage him to say his workings out as he uses it. The value of learning the skills of estimation cannot be too strongly stressed for the dyslexic child. add. and this can be the root of many problems. Remember. Spelling rules can be given to the whole class. word skills and memory. Other related difficulties could be with visual/perceptual skills. Real books should also be available for paired reading with an adult. sensible or ludicrous? When using mental arithmetic allow the dyslexic child to jot down the key number and the appropriate mathematical sign from the question. is the answer possible.g.g. The child should be taught to form the habit of checking his answers against the question when he has finished the calculation. increase and total. Many children find this very helpful. but they can be trained to look out for errors that are particular to them. Whilst some dyslexic students are good at maths. Spelling: Many of the normal classroom techniques used to teach spellings do not help the dyslexic child. It helps visual perception with the dyslexic child. . Use and encourage the use of estimation. Encourage pupils to verbalize and to talk their way through each step of the problem. Encourage a dyslexic child to use a calculator. Put the decimal point in red ink. directional confusion. All pupils in the class can benefit from structured and systematic exposure to rules and patterns that underpin a language. e. sum of. it has been estimated that around 90% of dyslexic children have problems in at least some areas of maths. using multi sensory/kinesthetic methods. which will often generate enthusiasm for books. a short list of structure-based words for their weekly spelling test. eventually this should be seen to improve their freewriting skills. sequencing. General mathematical terminology words need to be clearly understood before they can be used in calculations. Story tapes can be of great benefit for the enjoyment and enhancement of vocabulary. will be far more helpful than random words. Remember reading should be fun. Words for class spelling tests are often topic based rather than grouped for structure. Ensure that he has been taught to estimate to check his calculations. No child should be denied the pleasure of gaining access to the meaning of print even if he cannot decode it fully.
it is important to use tact. In allocating homework and exercises that may be a little different or less demanding. Rewriting pages for no reason at all is soul destroying as usually much effort will have already been put into the original piece of work. However. Self-esteem is rapidly undermined if a teacher is underlining the differences between those with difficulties and their peers. Homework: By the end of a school day a dyslexic child is generally more tired than his peers because everything requires more thought. Analyze common faults in writing. Try not to use red pens to mark the dyslexic child's work. Improvement in handwriting skills can improve self confidence. Discuss the advantages of good handwriting and the goals to be achieved with the class. Spelling mistakes pinpointed should be those appropriate to the child's level of spelling. badly formed letters. so that no resentment is built up at yet another person complaining about their written work. Set a limit on time spent on homework. There's nothing more disheartening for the child than to have work returned covered in red ink. More errors are likely to be made. it should also be remembered that far more effort may be needed for a dyslexic child to complete the assignment than for their peers. tension. Only ask a pupil to rewrite a piece of work that is going to be displayed. Get them to decide for themselves where faults lie and what improvements can be made. Make sure a small reference chart is available to serve as a constant reminder for the cursive script in upper and lower case. Encourage the children to study their writing and be selfcritical. which in turn reflects favorably throughout a pupil's work. Integration: A dyslexic child's ability to write down thoughts and ideas will be quite different from the level of information the child can give verbally. as often a dyslexic child will take a lot longer to produce the same work that another child with good literacy skills may produce easily. Only set homework that will be of real benefit to the child. Marking of work: Credit for effort as well as achievement are both essential. when they've inevitably tried harder than their peers to produce the work.Handwriting: Reasons for poor handwriting at any age can be poor motor control. Marking should be done in pencil and have positive comments. If handwriting practice is needed it is essential to use words that present no problem to the dyslexic child in terms of meaning or spelling. This gives the pupil a better chance of getting a balanced mark. Creative writing should be marked on context. the pupil must be able to demonstrate to the teacher that he knows . For successful integration. tasks take longer and nothing comes easily. speed etc. by writing a few well chosen words on the board for class comment. A cursive joined style is most helpful to children with dyslexic problems.
rather than expecting that all pupils will learn in the same way. find a method that suits the pupil.dyslexia. o Audio tapes for recording lessons that can then be written up at a later stage. An understanding of the pupil's specific difficulties.htm http://www. as far as possible. that they may have many talents and skills. it is essential to see him or her as a whole person. Some specialist methods can be incorporated into the classroom so all children can benefit from them. For a dyslexic child the feeling of being 'different' can be acute when faced with the obvious and very important need of 'specialist' help for his literacy and possibly mathematical skills. and how they may affect the student's classroom performance. or voice activated software can be used. such as : o The use of computers for word processing. o Written record of the pupil's verbal account. in order to be identified. can enable the teacher to adopt teaching methods and strategies to help the dyslexic child to be successfully integrated into the classroom environment. planning. thus reducing the feeling of 'difference'. there must be an understanding from all who teach them. good visual spatial awareness/artistic abilities. More time should be allocated for completion of work because of the extra time a dyslexic child needs for reading. These are the children of our future and they have a right to help and support before they develop the dreadful sense of failure which is so insidious. More and more dyslexic children could become talented and gifted members of our schools if we worked not only with their specific areas of difficulty. Dyslexics have many strengths: oral skills.about. To do this we have to let go of outmoded viewpoints that a dyslexic child must first fail. Alternative ways of recording should be looked at. Be prepared to accept verbal descriptions as an alternative to written descriptions if appropriate.htm http://learningdisabilities. Above all. Their abilities must not be measured purely on the basis of their difficulties in acquiring literacy skills. comprehension. but also their specific areas of strengths from an early age. according to each child's educational needs.html .com/od/learningdisabilitybasics/p/dyslexiaprofile. like all children. Class teachers dealing with dyslexic children need to be flexible in their approach.the information and where he is in each subject. complete with individual strengths and weaknesses. Conclusion: In order to be able to teach. so that they can. as far as possible.dyslexia-parent. rewriting and proofreading their work. Dyslexic children.com/hints. thrive on challenges and success http://www.com/library/classroom.
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