Teaching & Learning: What is Dyslexia?
Is Dyslexia a Learning Disability?
Yes, dyslexia is a learning disability affecting people's reading, spelling, and writing abilities. It affects 5 to 10% of the population.
It's a common neurological condition that makes learning difficult since the brain interprets information differently.
According to some estimates, up to 17% of the population faces reading deficits.
Generally, dyslexia is a learning disability, but it is crucial to understand what dyslexia is and how it affects a person.
Phonological awareness is the ability to identify (or perceive) and control (understand) the individual sound units. These sound units make up our language's words. Therefore, these skills are necessary for learning to read and spell; failure to master them might result in reading and spelling difficulties. Dyslexic people have trouble connecting letters to sounds. Hence, this deficit makes it difficult to interpret words and understand the content. It is a problem deciphering our language's sound (phonological) components; contrary to popular assumptions, reversing letters is not the primary symptom of dyslexia. Many 1st and 2nd graders make this mistake, so parents don't need to worry.
Keep Your Mindset Open
We must understand that everyone has unique characters and personalities; therefore, everyone's dyslexia experience is unique too. It can range from low to severe and occur alongside other learning issues. One must remember that dyslexia is a life-long condition that frequently runs in families.
Do not expect a student to overcome their impairment by putting in the effort; on the contrary, it is counterproductive. Dyslexia is not linked to IQ, making the learning process harder. Many people with dyslexia excel in areas like reasoning and visual and artistic fields. It's crucial to realise that there are advantages to thinking differently.
Impact On Life:
Individuals with dyslexia are affected throughout their lives; however, the impact varies depending on their age. If diagnosed early, dyslexia is easily manageable.
More severe cases may require special education, special accommodations, or additional support services.
Different kinds of learning disabilities come into the Dyslexia paradigm:
- Learners have difficulty processing the sounds of the individual letters and syllables. They also face challenges matching the written letter with its sounds.
- Individuals find it difficult to recognise the whole words when sight-reading. Visual processing difficulties in the brain can cause this issue.
- Because of the trouble recognising the words, it may be challenging to learn and memorising words. And understanding the sentence is challenging because of the effort reader is putting into the words.
- Having difficulty naming a letter, number, colour, or object quickly and automatically.
- Double deficit dyslexia shows deficits in both the phonological process and naming speed. The majority of the weakest readers fall under this category.
What to expect?
The degree of dyslexia and the effectiveness of training or rehabilitation have a different influence on each person. Key challenges are word identification, fluency, writing, and spelling. Some persons with dyslexia can learn to read and spell at a young age, especially if they have good coaching. Even so, they struggle the most when more advanced language abilities, such as grammar, reading books, and writing assignments, are required.
People with dyslexia can struggle with speaking even after being exposed to suitable language models in their homes and obtaining adequate language instruction at school. They could struggle to express themselves clearly or comprehend what others are saying.
Language impairments can be challenging to notice, but they can cause significant problems in learning, training, work, and social interactions. Outside of the classroom, dyslexia has far-reaching repercussions. Dyslexia can affect a person's self-esteem as well.
After experiencing significant stress due to academic challenges, a student may become discouraged about remaining in school. However, a trained and encouraging teacher plays an important role. Society's job is to place an education system that accepts each child with their capabilities and pace in a positive and encouraging environment. As brain function is separate, the way standardised testing and curriculum are delivered and assessed becomes a burden. To unburden the learner, the trainer needs to be creative. For teacher training, ELN, The e-Learning Network, offers several courses and training.
How does Dyslexia Impact Learning?
One prevalent misperception regarding dyslexia is that the person mistakes and reverses letters that appear to be similar. This way, it would have been much easier to spot. Dyslexia can affect areas like coordination, structure, and memory. Each person with dyslexia has a unique experience with the disorder. Moreover, each has its range of abilities and challenges.
However, one major issue with dyslexia is the inability to recognise phonemes. These are the fundamental speech sounds; for example, the "b" sound in the word ball is a phoneme. As a result, connecting sound with the letter symbol and blending sounds into words is complex. Short, common words are challenging to recognise, while longer ones are difficult to pronounce. As the word reading takes longer and requires more concentration, the word's meaning is frequently lost, and reading comprehension is low.
Some people with dyslexia have milder symptoms and may have less difficulty in these other areas of spoken and written language. People can work with their dyslexia, but it takes time and effort. Fortunately, most people with dyslexia can learn to read with the proper support. They frequently discover new study methods and continue to employ those strategies throughout their lives.
Although the specific causes of dyslexia are still unknown, anatomical and brain imaging investigations demonstrate differences in how a dyslexic brain develops and functions.
What are the Signs of Dyslexia?
The inability to decode words is a common symptom of dyslexia. The ability to connect letters to sounds is referred to as phonological awareness. Phonemic awareness, a basic skill, can also be a source of frustration for children. This is the ability to distinguish between different sounds in words which might appear as early as preschool.
Dyslexia may not be detected until later in life when a person has difficulty with increasingly advanced skills. Grammar, reading and comprehension, fluency in reading, sentence structure, and more in-depth writing are examples of these skills.
Dyslexia presents itself in a variety of ways, including emotions and behaviour. People who have dyslexia may avoid reading aloud or to themselves. When they read, they may become worried or frustrated. Even after they've mastered the fundamentals of reading, this can happen.
Dyslexia affects more than just learning. It can also affect day-to-day skills and activities. Social connection, memory, and stress management are among them.
As discussed earlier, people who have dyslexia have trouble learning and using written text. Other challenges that people with dyslexia encounter include the following:
- Developing communication skills
- Learning the sounds and pronunciation of the letters
- Developing a method for structuring written and spoken words
- Understanding and retaining numerical data
- Reading quickly enough to comprehend
- Longer reading assignments necessitate patience and understanding
- It might be challenging to learn a new language
- Correctly completing maths processes
Not everyone who is struggling with these skills has dyslexia. A formal assessment of reading, language, and writing skills can confirm a suspected dyslexia diagnosis.
Dyslexia Teaching Strategies
Now you all must know what it is dyslexia? And what are the signs of dyslexia that you need to look for before considering formal analysis?
Importance Of Teachers
For teachers, it is essential to create an environment where all students get taught positively; for this, the teachers need training in dealing with the special educational needs of their students. Dyslexia is a learning disability that does not need to hinder an individual's learning. Individuals with dyslexia can achieve in school and life with early recognition, care, and treatment. A properly trained teacher can make a massive difference in the lives of their students.
A teacher or trainer in education plays a significant role in creating an inclusive environment in the classroom for students with different abilities.
Creating an inclusive classroom fosters a richer, safer educational environment for all kids, whether there is a small group of dyslexic pupils or a general classroom. Certain aspects of inclusive classrooms, such as maintaining consistent routines and adhering to set schedules, benefit all students. For many students, multisensory courses and supportive teaching tools can be beneficial, but these concessions can be crucial in helping dyslexic students succeed in the classroom.
A teacher or trainer can assist by designing lessons that use a multimodal, organised language approach.
The teaching is organised and explicit, incorporating many senses (hearing, sight, and touching) at once. Many people with dyslexia require one-on-one assistance to progress at their rate. Furthermore, students with dyslexia frequently need a lot of structured practice and rapid, corrected feedback to improve automatic word recognition skills. Some learners may benefit from working with an academic therapist, also known as an educational therapist or an academic language therapist, who is capable of working with dyslexic pupils. It is beneficial if their outside academic therapists collaborate closely with teachers in the classroom.
How Can School Put in the Efforts:
Schools can make adaptations to conventional processes to assist students with learning difficulties. A student with dyslexia has additional time to complete tasks, assistance with taking notes, and modified work assignments. Teachers can administer recorded examinations or allow dyslexic students to use alternative evaluation methods.
A trainer can help students by providing audiobooks and computer tools for text reading and word processing. Students may also require assistance with emotional concerns that occur as a result of academic challenges. Mental health professionals can assist pupils in coping with their difficulties.
Teachers need to have all instruction systematically and cumulatively. Meaning dyslexic students may expect materials to be delivered in a logical order, starting with the most fundamental concepts and progressing to more challenging ones. Teachers establish confidence in students' capacity to learn new topics by allowing them to master subjects and gradually build upon their learning skills.
Dyslexia is not an impairment but a learning disability that one can maintain through proper guidance and assistance. This guidance needs to come from the parents, family, and teachers. Teachers establish the pillars of learning from the early age of an individual. ELN The e-Learning Network offers several courses to train the trainers for optimum education services. We offer a range of trainer certifications to become a trainer in various sectors in the UK. Our train the trainer courses offer qualifications that will boost your career and train you to help you establish yourself as an expert trainer in your field.
Classroom-based assessments are suitable for most teachers in a traditional school or college setting and vocations where the assessments take place in a learning environment rather than 'on-the-job'.
ELN offers a wide range of teacher training programmes and guidance for the trainers. Our trainers like to connect with the students and interested people through a series of webinars and blogs.