DYSLEXIA (READING &
Dyslexia is a condition or learning disability
which causes difficulty with reading and writing. Its standard definition
is a difficulty in reading and writing in spite of normal development
of intelligence, cognitive and sensory abilities. Dyslexia is not
limited to reversing the order of letters in reading or writing.
Nor is it a visual perception deficit that involves reading letters
or words backwards or upside down, as is often implied in popular
Researchers have claimed that it is a brain-based
condition with biochemical and genetic markers. Current scientific
theories focus on the hypothesis that dyslexia stems from a deficit
in phonological awareness. This hypothesis suggests that affected
individuals have difficulty analyzing the words they hear into discrete
segments (such as phonemes), which in turn leads to difficulty learning
Others have questioned whether dyslexia is no more than a mythological
construct and argue that researchers that rely on the concept fail
to recognize neurodiversity. Its diagnostic status remains highly
debated in both medicine and the social sciences.
Characteristics of Dyslexia
Dyslexia’s main manifestation is a difficulty
in developing reading skills in elementary school children. Those
difficulties result from reduced ability to associate visual symbols
with verbal sounds. While motivational factors must also be reviewed
in assessing poor performance, dyslexia is considered to be present
from birth. Most scientific criteria for dyslexia exclude cases
that can be explained as arising from environmental factors such
as lack of education or sensory deficits.
Children with dyslexia usually appear bright, intelligent, and articulate
but are unable to read, write, or spell at an age-appropriate level.
They will generally have average or above average intelligence,
yet may have poor academic achievement. They may have good oral
language abilities but will perform much more poorly on similar
written-language tests. They might be labeled lazy, dumb, careless,
immature, “not trying hard enough,” or as having a “behavior problem.”
Because dyslexia primarily affects reading while sparing other intellectual
abilities, affected individuals might be categorized as not “behind
enough” or “bad enough” to receive additional help in a school setting.
Children may try to hide their reading weaknesses with ingenious
compensatory “strategies”, and might learn best through hands-on
experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual
aids. They can show talents in other areas such as art, drama, music,
sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building,
Have related problems with inattention in a school setting; for
instance they might seem to “zone out” or daydream often; get lost
easily or lose track of time; and have difficulty sustaining attention.
Although they are different conditions, dyslexia co-occurs with
attention deficit disorders (ADD or ADHD) at a rate of 30-50%.
Treatment of Dyslexia
Dyslexia can be substantially compensated for
with proper therapy, training, and equipment. Only traditional educational
remedial techniques have any record of improving the reading ability
of those identified with dyslexia. Remedial efforts focusing on
phonological awareness training (often involving breaking words
into their basic sounds and rearranging these sounds to produce
different words) can improve reading skills. The earlier the phonological
regimen is taken on, the better the overall result. There is evidence
that colored lenses, any visual training, or similar proposed treatments
may be of use. It will depend on the phonological and visual components
of the particular patient’s problem.
Causes of Dyslexia
Researchers studying the brains of dyslexics have
found that during reading tasks, dyslexics show reduced activity
in the left inferior parietal cortex. In 1979, anatomical differences
in the brain of a young dyslexic were documented. Albert Galaburda
of Harvard Medical School noticed that the language center in a
dyslexic brain showed microscopic flaws known as ectopias and microgyria.
Another study regarding genetic regions on chromosomes 1 and 6 have
been found that might be linked to dyslexia. Dyslexia is likely
to be a conglomeration of conditions that all affect similar and
associated areas of the cortex.
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