Further information about Dyslexia

Dyslexia is characterised 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 (phonological awareness). Secondary problems may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

The underlying difficulties for most dyslexics relate to subtle difficulties with language and sounds. The core difficulties are:

Processing the sounds in words
Phonological deficit – difficulty working with the sound in words e.g. identifying beginning and end sounds in a word, producing a word that rhymes, problems learning phonics.

Auditory short memory
Poor auditory short-term memory – leads to difficulty with: blending sounds together, taking in verbal instruction, remembering instructions and learning list of facts.

Retrieving words from vocabulary
Slower naming speed – difficulty recalling names and words, less fluent oral reading, trouble with basic sight words.

Recognising and remembering the “look” of words
Orthographic processing - problems with reading and spelling.

Attaining automaticity in underlying and component skills needed for reading and written language
Attaining automaticity – can only do one thing at a time e.g. can’t focus on spelling when writing, cannot decode words and take in the meaning of the text, listening/note taking.

Multi-tasking – problems with organisation and management.

Dyslexic traits include the following. A cluster of traits may be apparent and these will vary in individuals.

  • Learning rhymes is challenging as well as finding rhyming words.
  • Unable to write their own name and this impacts on confidence.
  • Shows reluctance to look at books - the printed word may cause anger and frustration.
  • Does not know nursery rhymes - rhyming factor does not help. Does not play with words: dog, fog, log, snog
  • May have auditory discrimination difficulties: f/th/v, ch/sh, a/u, e/i.
  • Difficulty mastering the sound/symbol correspondence – phoneme/graphemes.
  • Poor reading; avoids reading aloud.
  • Reports text ‘moving’ on the page or other visual disturbances.
  • May invent what a passage says based on the picture, some known words and intelligence. May put so much effort into decoding that meaning is lost.
  • Reads or spells a word one day, cannot the next; may spell the same word in a variety of ways.
  • Often forgets common, irregular high frequency words like “one”. Spelling remembered for weekly tests but forgotten a few days later.
  • Bizarre spelling showing a complete lack of sound/letter knowledge, or semi-phonetic hepl/help (not following the sequence of sounds in the word).
  • May use a writing vocabulary that is very restricted to word spelling known, does not match spoken vocabulary.
  • Does not read for pleasure, prefers factual books.
  • Comprehension difficulties; needs to read once to decode, then a second time to assimilate meaning and a third to consolidate.
  • May be a virtual non-starter at reading or else have only difficulties with spellings.
  • Covers up difficulties, takes forms home to fill in, phone rather than write.
  • In speech sometimes use wrong form of the past tense, says a similar sounding word instead of the correct one, or poor sequencing of polysyllabic words – cerfiticate /certificate.

Support Strategies:

You may need to:
  • Teach syllable count to help the learner hear how many syllables are in a word
  • Teach how to blend syllables
  • Teach onset and rime to help the pupils to discriminate between words aurally
  • Teach phoneme discrimination to help the pupil identify phones in words
  • Teach phoneme-blending to help with reading and spelling
  • Use multi-sensory methods to support learning
  • Ensure repetition of learning, suing word and language games for enjoyment
  • Make use of coloured overlays and line trackers where necessary
  • Create a positive reading environment, with opportunities to listen to stories
  • Teach keyboard skills and encourage use of spell-checkers
  • Encourage alternative methods of recording, such as writing frames, diagrams, labelled drawings, flowcharts or comic-strip stories
  • Allow the use of a scribe where appropriate
  • Make use of audio-visual aids
  • Keep oral instructions brief and clear
  • Revise and review previously taught skills at frequent intervals
  • Raise self-esteem and confidence with lots of praise and encouragement

Dyslexia affects
Difficulty getting ideas on paper
Similar sounds cause confusion
Moving or overlapping text
Find background noise distracting
Organisational problems
Difficulty hearing sound (lack of phonological awarenss)
Losing place in text
Problem note-taking
Can't find the right words
Can't remember graphemes for phonemes (letters for sounds)
Needing to re-read to understand
Problems with laguage processing at 'expected' pace
Co-ordination problem
Difficulties with telling the time
Handwriting difficulties
ie. Dates, Phone Numbers, Alphabet, Times Tables
Left/right confusion
Difficulty copying
Gets lost easily