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A Diagnosis of Dyslexia: What This Truly Means

Article Written By: Melissa Gagnon, Owner and Speech-Language Pathologist



Reading: a core skill that is needed throughout a person's lifespan. When a child learns to read, it can open a whole new world for them. It can be fun and exciting to explore new stories, characters, and language. However, if a child finds reading difficult at a young age, he/she can become frustrated and refuse to try. As parents who are wanting to support our children, we often try harder because we know they will NEED to be able to read on their own for school, work, and life. Trying harder may result in more frustration for both you as a parent and your child. Why? Because often times increased reading practice does not benefit a child who is struggling with the skills that are required to become a successful reader (see our blog post titled "Teaching Your Child to Read- The Complexity of Literacy" to read more about these core skills).


So then what? We need to evaluate HOW we are teaching a child to read. Changing the WAY we teach reading skills can have the greatest impact on a child. Based on the research, we know that children who present with reading difficulties benefit from structured, research based literacy teaching.


What causes a child to present with reading difficulties/delays?

Children may present with reading difficulties due to a variety of reasons, including vision difficulties, comprehension delays, and/or other language delays, or a known diagnosis. One of the most common diagnosis heard with regard to reading delays is "dyslexia". However, there are many myths about dyslexia that need to be addressed, to bring awareness on what dyslexia is and is not.


Dyslexia is a term that often surfaces when a child demonstrates difficulty with reading. Although many people associate letter reversal with dyslexia, this is not the case. It is a myth that reading and writing letters backwards is a main sign of dyslexia. Furthermore, some believe that dyslexia is a vision problem, which is not case, or that dyslexia goes away once a child learns how to read, which is also not true.


Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that affects approximately 15-20% of the population and it often presents as language difficulties from a young age.

Some of the initial signs of dyslexia are:*

- Mispronouncing words (e.g., beddy tear instead of teddy bear)

- Using general terms to name things (e.g., this and that) instead of their proper names

- Having a difficulty time learning and participating in nursery rhymes and/or songs with rhyming words

- Having difficulty remembering sequences

- Struggles to tell stories and/or events in order or in a logical order

- Demonstrates difficulty with following directions with more than one step

- Struggles with matching sounds to their letters


Dyslexia does not necessarily just affect a child's ability to connect sounds to read words, it can affect a child across multiple academic areas including: Fluency, reading comprehension, spelling, and even math.


Now that we know more about what dyslexia is, let's address what it is not! Dyslexia is not an indication of intelligence, it is not difficulty with vision, and it is not reversal of letters. Dyslexia is a lifelong diagnosis; however, structured, research-based literacy teaching can help support a child. Reach out to Empower Communication Services today to learn more about the approach that we use to support children in the area of literacy!


Resources:

*https://www.understood.org/?_sp=48e8b9ed-f5d9-46d3-98ea-defca958ca11.1633376622370

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