Researchers estimate that 20% of the population struggles with literacy. Of students with specific learning disabilities (SLD), 70-80% have deficits in reading. Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing, and spelling difficulties.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability characterized by unexpected difficulties in word recognition, poor spelling, and decoding abilities.
A Few Early Indicators of Dyslexia:
- Late talker
- Trouble learning letters, numbers, and colors
- Trouble rhyming
- Struggle to name familiar objects
- Mispronouncing words, like saying “pusgetti” for “spaghetti”
- Skipping or misreading common short words
- Substituting words, like “house” when the story says “home”
- Often confusing letters that look similar (like b, d, p, and q) or sound similar (like f and v, b and p, or d and t)
What Causes Dyslexia?
The causes of dyslexia are genetic and neurobiological. It is common for parents to discover that they are dyslexic when their child is diagnosed, and if not the parent, a close relative. Dyslexic brains are wired to process language differently.
What Can Be Done to Treat Dyslexia?
- Structured Literacy is an effective approach to reading that teaches strategies to identify and decode words in an explicit and systematic way.
- Early identification and intervention are extremely important! Research shows that dyslexia is identifiable at age 5 ½, and if given the right kind of instruction, 95% of dyslexic learners will read proficiently at grade level by 1st grade.
- Speak up. If you suspect your child is dyslexic, it is important to share your concerns with the school as soon as possible. Not all dyslexic learners will qualify for special education services, but that does not mean your child will not receive additional instruction and support through accommodations.
Here are a few key points to help navigate this journey and support your dyslexic learner:
- Educate yourself about dyslexia and special education. Know your educational rights, and work as a team with the school.
- Teach your child how to advocate for himself. There is no shame in asking questions or for accommodations.
- Embrace dyslexia! There is absolutely nothing wrong with being dyslexic; your child just learns differently!
- Help your child find and develop their strengths.. Dyslexic students often get discouraged about school because they feel unintelligent and less capable than they actually are.
- Teach your child to use assistive technology, especially audiobooks which can help dyslexic learners to become engaged, independent readers!
- Find community. Many dyslexics feel alone, and they are not. Dyslexia is common, and they need to know it!
IDA Arizona is hosting a 1in5k Dyslexia Dash at Freestone Park in Gilbert on September 30th! Please join us; let’s raise awareness and build a community for the 1 in 5!
To learn more about dyslexia or register for the Dash, visit az.dyslexiaida.org
What Dyslexia is NOT:
- A vision problem
- Outgrown or cured
- A result of laziness or lack of motivation
- Seeing letters backward
In fact, dyslexia does not discriminate. It is found worldwide, in all cultures and socioeconomic groups, in males and females equally, and in individuals with average to above-average intelligence levels. And it is very common!