About Dyslexia

Many people think of dyslexia as being difficulty with reading and writing, but it is important to be aware that in most individuals it is far more wide-ranging than this. There are many definitions of dyslexia but the most recent, from the Rose Report on Identifying and Teaching Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties, is:

‘......a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.

Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points.

Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.

A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well founded intervention.’

Frequently one of the underlying areas affected is that of working memory. This involves being able to remember and carry out instructions, holding one idea in mind whilst doing something else with the information, as, for instance, in mental arithmetic calculations, or thinking of words to write at the same time as trying to remember how to spell them (or of they are difficult, thinking if another word which means the same but is easier to spell).

Many people with dyslexia also have some word-finding difficulties. Although many individuals, both children and adults, have excellent verbal and interpersonal skills, they can still sometimes confuse words or say the sounds  in the wrong order. Sometimes this can cause embarrassment.

There is an increasing awareness that people with one specific learning difficulty often have at least some features of others. Problems with attention, concentration and speed of processing are very common in children with dyslexia and when the brain is ‘working overtime’ to try and process what a speaker is saying, sometimes concentration is lost and the brain just ‘switches off’. Many people will be able to relate to this if they have visited a country where they have a less than fluent knowledge of the language and just wish that if native speakers would talk more slowly they would have a better chance of understanding what they were saying!

If you would like to know more about dyslexia why not attend one of our courses which are suitable for school staff (teachers, learning support assistants, learning mentors etc) and also parents of children who would like to have a better understanding of the condition and learn about strategies to help their child.