What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that results in reading and writing difficulties. Dyslexia is found in populations around the world, however rates can be particularly high in countries where the written language uses irregular spelling or features combinations of letters with different sound possibilities. English is full of these combinations (such as the ‘ou’ in cough and through) as well as different spellings that all make the same sound (such as the ‘o’ sound in stole, coal, and bowl). It is estimated that 15% of the U.S. population suffers from dyslexia.
Dyslexic people have chronic difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling. Despite being bright and motivated, a child with dyslexia will have great difficulty making connections between spoken and written language. Dyslexics may be intelligent and creative people but suffer from low self-esteem or anxiety brought on by their learning disability.
The earlier dyslexia is diagnosed; the sooner intervention can help children overcome their learning difficulties. This list from the Dybuster website shows that early symptoms may include difficulty with:
- Learning the alphabet in the correct order
- Associating sounds with their corresponding letters
- Identifying or generating rhyming words or counting syllables in words
- Segmenting words into individual sounds, or blending sounds to make words
- Word retrieval or naming problems
- Distinguishing between similar sounds in words; mixing up sounds in multi-syllable words (for example, “aminal” for animal, “bisghetti” for spaghetti)
Older Children may Exhibit:
- Slow or inaccurate reading
- Very poor spelling
- Difficulty reading out loud, reading words in the wrong order, skipping words and sometimes saying a word similar to another word
- Difficulty with associating individual words with their correct meanings
- Difficulty with time keeping and concept of time when performing certain tasks
- Difficulty with organisational skills
- Failure to see (and occasionally to hear) similarities and difference in letters and words
Dyslexia Tests and Traditional Treatment
If you have a child with dyslexia, the NHS recommends speaking to their school’s special needs coordinator (SENCO) straight away and they should be able to offer additional support. If the child needs extra assistance, it might be an appropriate for you to contact a specialist dyslexia teacher or an educational psychologist.
If you’re an adult who wishes to be assessed for dyslexia, you can contact a local or national dyslexia association for advice. Dyslexia Associations on both of these levels coordinate meetings with speakers, workshops and courses designed for sufferers.
Dyslexia: Can Technology Help?
Technology can be of great help to us for overcoming certain difficulties, whether there are physical or psychological, but what has it done and can do for dyslexia?
Educational technology can be used to help train the brain of dyslexia sufferers to be more flexible and create alternative neurological paths, this enables a person to work with their dyslexia and enhance their brains processing power.
Software such as Dybuster Orthograph trains spelling skills using colours, shapes and sounds. In doing so, it increases neuronal activity and guarantees the progress of individual learners. This multisensory learning technique has been confirmed by multiple scientific studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and the University of Zurich: After only three months’ training, users achieved an average improvement of more than 30%!
Looking at examples such as Orthograph, it is even clearer that technology can significantly help those with dyslexia. Ongoing research by organisations such as Dybuster will keep on advancing to find the perfect solution to help you with your dyslexia.