The most common manifestation of childhood dyslexia is difficulty with reading. Dyslexic children find it difficult to learn to read because of some form of information processing problem such as auditory or visual perceptual deficit.
Childhood dyslexia may also take the form of reversals of letters, words or numbers, but not all dyslexic children may have this problem. Current research has discovered methods of instruction that can teach anyone to learn to read successfully, irrespective of what the underlying deficit may be.
Children with an average or above average IQ, who read one and half to two grades or more below their grade level may be victims of childhood dyslexia. While dyslexia affects 3% to 6% of the general population, up to 50% of students are unable to read at grade level in many places in the country. This shows that ineffective reading instruction may be the reason for so many children not being able to read at grade level. So the student afflicted with childhood dyslexia may have a specific learning disability and he/she may be exposed to inefficient instruction at the same time.
Childhood dyslexia may show any of the symptoms mentioned below:
- child may display poor handwriting and printing ability
- word or letter reversals when reading for example b/d, saw/was etc
- word or letter reversal when writing
- poor drawing ability
- difficulty understanding spoken or written directions
- difficulty repeating something said to them
- difficulty in remembering or understanding something they have read
- difficulty expressing thoughts on paper
- difficulty with directions, left – right
These symptoms of childhood dyslexia are not necessarily due to poor hearing or vision but they are the result of brain dysfunction. The sounds or images get scrambled in the lower brain centers before they reach the higher centers, causing confusion and frustration in the learner.
A student with dyslexia who faces difficulties learning should be examined for neurodevelopment. These will include tests for vision, hearing, coordination, neurological development, auditory perception, visual perception, academic achievement and intelligence.
Sometimes, problems of perception can be solved with simple exercises which can help in improving the specific problem, or techniques may be taught to compensate for the problem. Many of these can be conducted at home. Consulting a speech or educational therapist may be helpful too.
Main causes of childhood dyslexia and reading difficulties
The most common causes of reading problems in childhood dyslexia are
- poor reading instructions
- difficulties with auditory perception
- difficulties with visual perception
- difficulties with language processing
Close to two hundred research studies have established that the best method to teach reading to dyslexic children is through phonics.
Presently, the majority of the schools in the US do not employ the intensified phonics approach in reading instruction. Either the whole word approach or a superficial use of phonics is added to the whole word method.
It is possible for most children to learn reading through the whole word method, but it is not the recommended way to learn. All countries with a phonetic language, excepting the US, use phonics to teach reading.
Am I Dyslexic