Training on learning disabilities

for parents and teachers.

New strategies and methodologies

and ICT contribution.

2015-1-ES01-KA201-015806

DEFINITION AND SYMTOMS

 

WHAT IS DYSLEXIA?

  • The word literally means 'difficulty in reading'. It is sometimes called 'word blindness". Individuals with dyslexia are usually of average or above average intelligence, but tend to have specific learning difficulties with reading, spelling.

  • A generally accepted scientific definition could be: A functional, specific and persistent neuropsychological alteration in the reading processes assesed in the dimensions of reading comprehension, fluency and decoding, that is not caused by mental disability, neurological, sensory and perceptive alterations or of any other type.

  • The main criterias are the same of Dysclaculia, Dysgraphia and Dysorthographia:

A persistence of the disease during scolastic years even if it has been done a treatment B low results related to the age but with a big effort and support

  • C important difficulties often appearing during the first years of the primary school

  • Dyslexic learners may also have accompanying weaknesses in short term memory, sequencing and the speed at which they process information. These are skills that everyone needs if they are to learn effectively in a busy classroom. They are also key skills for life

  • People with dyslexia can still understand complex ideas. Sometimes they just need more time to work through the information. They may also need a different way to process the information, such as listening to an audio-book or use reading software instead of reading it themselves.

  • Struggles with reading and other issues can lead to frustration and low self-esteem. The stress of dealing with schoolwork can also make kids with dyslexia lose motivation.

  • Comorbidity: Quite often dyslexia appears along with other difficulties such as dysorthography and/or dysgraphia. Comorbidity can make diagnosis difficult. In this case, the disorder that implies a more serious problem should prevail leaving the term Dyslexia for specific alterations.

 

WHAT ARE THE PRİMARY SYMPTOMS OF DYSLEXİA?

The primary symptoms are:

  • Problems learning the letter sounds for reading and spelling

  • Difficulty in reading single words, such as on flash cards and in lists (decoding)

  • Lack of fluency

  • Reading slowly with many mistakes (low accuracy)

  • Poor spelling

  • Poor visual gestalt / coding (orthographic coding)

 

What causes dyslexia?

Dyslexia is:

  • Highly hereditary.

  • A difference in the way the brain works

  • Problems in the development of phonological awareness

  • Recent research attributes the origin of this disorder to a problem in the neurologic cells migration, with a genetic basis and hereditary component, located in the left parietal. (Because of the nature of the disease, the general recommendation is to take compensative measures, and not measures to “recover” the affected skills)

  • Dyslexia is not a disease that needs a medical care. Students have their own characteristic and the intervention depends on the level of difficulty, the age, the goals that want to be reached and so on. Some onf them needs a therapeutical path, some other use compensatory instruments or dispensatory measures, some other both of them

  • Some researches underline the possibility to have Dyslexia in premature children

 

WHAT DO WE “SEE” IN A CHILD WITH DISLEXIA?

  • Some kids with dyslexia have trouble with reading and spelling. Others may struggle to write or to tell left from right.

  • Some children don’t seem to struggle with early reading and writing. But later on, they have trouble with complex language skills, such as grammar, reading comprehension and more in-depth writing.

  • Dyslexia can also make it difficult for people to express themselves clearly. It can be hard for them to structure their thoughts during conversation. They may have trouble finding the right words to say.

  • Others struggle to understand what they’re hearing. This is especially true when someone uses nonliteral language such as jokes and sarcasm.

Warning Signs in Preschool or Kindergarten

  • Has trouble recognizing the letters of the alphabet

  • Struggles to match letters to sounds, such as not knowing what sounds b or h make

  • Has difficulty blending sounds into words, such as connecting C-H-A-T to the word chat

  • Struggles to pronounce words correctly, such as saying “mawn lower” instead of “lawn mower”

  • Has difficulty learning new words

  • Has a smaller vocabulary than other kids the same age

  • Has trouble learning to count or say the days of the week and other common word sequences

  • Has trouble rhyming

Warning Signs in Grade School or Middle School

  • Struggles with reading and spelling

  • Confuses the order of letters, such as writing “left” instead of “felt”

  • Has trouble remembering facts and numbers

  • Has difficulty gripping a pencil

  • Has difficulty using proper grammar

  • Has trouble learning new skills and relies heavily on memorization

  • Gets tripped up by word problems in math

  • Has a tough time sounding out unfamiliar words

  • Has trouble following a sequence of directions

Warning Signs in High School

  • Struggles with reading out loud

  • Doesn’t read at the expected grade level

  • Has trouble understanding jokes or idioms

  • Has difficulty organizing and managing time

  • Struggles to summarize a story

  • Has difficulty learning a foreign language

 

CLASSIFICATION SYSTEMS OF DYSLEXIA

The proposed definition of dyslexia for DSM-5 (DSM-5, 2010) broadly reflects this characterization:

1 Difficulties in accuracy or fluency of reading that are not consistent with the person’s chronological age, educational opportunities or intellectual abilities.

2 The disturbance in criterion 1, without accommodations, significantly interferes with academic achievement or activities of daily living that require these reading skills.

In order to understand the skillls affected by dyslexia the components of reading abilty should be clear;

 

Components of reading ability

Normal reading ability assumes adequate language comprehension and fluent word identification. Written words are encoded (symbolized) representations of spoken words, and spoken words are encoded representations of environmental experiences and entities. Thus, the ability to learn to read depends on the acquisition of a variety of different types of knowledge and skills, which, themselves, depend on normal development of reading-related linguistic and non-linguistic cognitive abilities. Figure 1 presents a model depicting the cognitive processes and different types of knowledge involved in learning to read (Lyon et all.2002)

 

WHAT SKILLS ARE AFFECTED BY DYSLEXIA?

  • Dyslexia doesn’t just affect reading and writing. Here are some everyday skills and activities your child may be struggling with because of this learning issue:

  • Social skills: There are several ways dyslexia can affect your child’s social life. Struggling in school can make your child feel inferior around other kids. Your child may stop trying to make new friends or may avoid group activities. Your child may also have trouble understanding jokes or sarcasm. You can help your child decode humor and also try different strategies to improve self-esteem.

  • Listening comprehension: People with dyslexia tend to be better listeners than readers. But dyslexia can make it hard to filter out background noise.[6] This means your child could have trouble following what the teacher is saying in a noisy classroom. Sitting near the teacher can help reduce distractions.

  • Memory: Kids with dyslexia can take so long to read a sentence that they may not remember the sentence that came before it. This makes it tough to grasp the meaning of the text. Listening to an audio version or using other kinds of assistive technology can help.

  • Navigation: Children with dyslexia may struggle with spatial concepts such as “left” and “right.” This can lead to fears about getting lost in school hallways and other familiar places. Using a buddy system can help with transitioning from class to class.

  • Time management: Dyslexia can make it hard to tell time or stick to a schedule. A cell phone alarm, picture schedule and other prompts can help keep kids (and adults) on track.

When a student is having difficulties with reading and spelling, an evaluation is important for three reasons.

ASSESMENT OF DYSLEXIA

The following areas should be considered when carrying out an evaluation.

Background information

Information from parents and teachers tells us a lot about a student’s overall development and pattern of strengths and weaknesses. Because dyslexia could be genetically linked, a family history of dyslexia indicates that a student is more likely to have dyslexia. A history of delayed speech or language also puts a child at-risk for reading difficulties. It is important to know the types and length of time of any interventions the student hasreceived at school, home, or through tutoring, as well as the student’s response to the intervention. School attendance problems should be ruled out. A history of poor attendance, alone, can explain an identified weakness in skill development.

Intelligence

Until recently, an intelligence test was considered to be a necessary part of the evaluation because the diagnosis of a learning disability was based on finding a significant difference between IQ and reading skill. Poor achievement despite average or better intelligence was considered a key indicator. Current regulations no longer require that such a discrepancy be present when making a diagnosis. This change in the regulations came about because many studies have shown that intelligence is not the best predictor of how easily a student will develop written language (reading and spelling) skills. Instead, oral language abilities (listening and speaking) are considered the best predictors of reading and spelling.

A formal measure of intelligence is not always needed to document average intellectual abilities. For younger children, parent information about language development and teacher information about the child’s ability to learn orally may indicate average intellectual abilities. For older students or adults, past achievement in school or work may indicate at least average intelligence.

Oral language skills

Oral language, simply stated, refers to our ability to listen to and understand speech as well as to express our thoughts through speech. Oral language is made up of low-level skills, such as recognizing and making the sounds within our speech, and higher-level skills, such as getting meaning by listening to someone speak or creating sentences to express thoughts. Students with dyslexia typically have adequate higher- level language skills. Indicators of higher-level oral language skills include being able to understand an age-appropriate story and spoken directions, to carry on a conversation, and to understand and use words that are age appropriate. If a student has average higher-level oral language skills but much difficulty developing written language (reading and spelling) skills, the need for evaluation for dyslexia is recommended.

Although students with dyslexia usually have strong higher-level language skills, they typically have problems (a deficit) in low-level language skills (see following section “Phonological processing”). This deficit limits the ability to learn to read and spell using the sounds of the language. Young children with dyslexia often have delays in language development, but their higher-level language skills are usually age- appropriate by the time they enter school. Difficulties with higher-level language skills suggest a need for a language evaluation by a speech-language pathologist to rule out language impairment.

Word recognition

Word recognition is the ability to read single printed words. It is also called word reading or word identification. Tests of word recognition require that students read individual words printed in a list. The student is not able to use cues, such as the meaning of a sentence, to help them figure out the word. Tests of word recognition that score both accuracy and the time it takes for the student to read the words (fluency) are particularly useful. Students with dyslexia often become accurate but are still very slow when reading words. Both accuracy and the speed of word reading can affect understanding what is read.

Decoding

Decoding is the ability to read unfamiliar words by using letter-sound knowledge, spelling patterns and chunking the word into smaller parts, such as syllables. Decoding is also called “word attack.” Decoding tests should use nonsense words (words that look like real words but have no meaning, such as frut or crin) to force the student to rely on these decoding skills rather than on memory for a word already learned( Siegel,1988)

Spelling

Tests of spelling measure the student’s ability to spell individual words from memory using their knowledge of, for example, letter-sound pairings, patterns of letters that cluster together to spell one sound (igh in high; oa in boat), the way plurals may be spelled (s, es, ies) and so on. Spelling is the opposite of word attack but is even more difficult. It requires separating out the individual sounds in a spoken word, remembering the different ways each sound might be spelled, choosing one way, writing the letter(s) for that sound and doing the same, again, for the next sound in the word. Spelling stresses a child’s short and long-term memory and is complicated by the ease or difficulty the child has in writing the letters, legibly and in the proper order. Spelling is usually the most severe weakness among students with dyslexia and the most difficult to remedy.

Phonological processing

Phonology is one small part of overall language ability. It is a low-level language skill in that it does not involve meaning. Phonology is the “sound system” of our language. Our spoken language is made up of words, word parts (such as syllables), and individual sounds (phonemes). We must be able to think about, remember, and correctly sequence the sounds in words in order to learn to link letters to sounds for reading and spelling. Good readers do this automatically without conscious effort. However, students with dyslexia have difficulty with identifying, pronouncing, or recalling sounds. Tests of phonological processing focus on these skills.

Automaticity/fluency skills

Students with dyslexia often have a slow speed of processing information (visual or auditory). Tasks measure Naming Speed (also called Rapid Automatic Naming). Sets of objects, colors, letters, and numbers are often used. These items are presented in rows on a card, and the student is asked to name each as quickly as possible. Naming speed, particularly letter naming, is one of the best early predictors of reading difficulties. Therefore, it is often used as part of screening measures for young children. Slow naming speed results in problems with developing reading fluency. It also makes it difficult for students to do well on timed tests. Students with both the naming speed deficit and the phonological processing deficit are considered to have a “double deficit.” Students with the double deficit have more severe difficulties than those with only one of the two.

Reading comprehension

Typically, students with dyslexia score lower on tests of reading comprehension than and sometimes on listening comprehension because they have difficulty with decoding and accurately or fluently reading words. It is important, however, to be aware that students with dyslexia often have strong higher- level oral language skills and are able to get the main idea of a passage despite difficulty with the words. Further, reading comprehension tasks usually require the student to read only a short passage to which they may refer when finding the answers to questions. For these reasons, students with dyslexia may earn an average score on reading comprehension tests but still have much difficulty reading and understanding long reading assignments in their grade-level textbooks.

Vocabulary knowledge

It is important to test vocabulary knowledge, because vocabulary greatly affects understanding when listening or reading. Difficulties students with dyslexia might have had in learning language or with memory can affect the ability to learn the meanings of words (vocabulary). Independent reading is also an important means for developing new vocabulary. Poor readers, who usually read less, are likely to have delays in vocabulary development. It is important to note, however, that students with dyslexia may perform poorly on reading vocabulary tests because of their decoding problems and not because they don’t know the meaning of some words. For this reason, it is best to administer both a reading and listening vocabulary task to get a true measure of vocabulary knowledge.

The profile of strengths and weaknesses of an individual with dyslexia varies with age, educational opportunity and the influence of co-occurring factors such as emotional adjustment, ability to pay attention in learning situations, difficulties with health or motivation. Nevertheless, clusters of distinguishing characteristics are frequently noted.

Family History and Early Development

  • Reports of reading/spelling difficulties across generations in the family

  • Normal prenatal and birth history

  • Delays/difficulties acquiring speech/language

Early Childhood/Primary Grades

  • Difficulty with rhyming, blending sounds, learning the alphabet, linking letters with sounds

  • Difficulty learning rules for spelling–spell words the way they sound (e.g., lik for like); use the letter name to code a sound (lafunt for elephant)

  • Difficulty remembering “little” words–the, of, said–that cannot be “sounded out”

  • Listening comprehension is usually better than reading comprehension–may understand a story when read to him but struggles when reading the story independently.

Middle and Secondary School

  • Reluctant readers

  • Slow, word-by-word readers; great difficulty with words in lists, nonsense words and words not in their listening vocabulary

  • Very poor spellers–miscode sounds, leave out sounds, add or leave out letters or whole syllables

  • Non-fluent writers–slow, poor quality and quantity of the product

  • When speaking, may have a tendency to mispronounce common words (floormat for format); difficulty using or comprehending more complex grammatical structures

  • Listening comprehension is usually superior to performance on timed measures of reading comprehension (may be equivalent when reading comprehension measures are untimed)

  • Weak vocabulary knowledge and use

 

HOW DO CHILDREN FEEL AT SCHOOL?

I am dyslexic….

When I started at school ;I noticed that it took me longer time others to learn how to read so I avoided books.My handwriting was not too good either,no matter how hard I tried.

Often I didn’t understand the teacher’s instructions and I was too shy to ask because I was always behind with the work.I was easiy distracted in class and hated school.ı was lazy and I feel stupid.

If it had not been for very good friend of mine who toldme about dyslexia

Mehmet