By Erin Hargis, Katie Price, and Taylor Slatten
According to the National Dyslexia Foundation, “dyslexia is a brain-based learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. Individuals with this disorder typically read at levels significantly lower than expected given their overall intelligence” (“The dyslexia foundation”, n.d., p.2). As many as 15-20% of the population display some symptoms of dyslexia. One in 10 people are affected by dyslexia, putting more than 700 million adults and children at risk for not only social exclusion, but also life-long illiteracy. With a prevalence of at least 10% in any given population, this disorder is the most common form of learning difficulty (Dyslexia international, 2014).
Dyslexia affects individuals in a variety of ways, and it can continue to cause obstacles throughout their entire life. Typically, these individuals have “difficulty with phonological processing, spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding” (“The dyslexia foundation”, n.d.). The impact dyslexia has on individuals can vary in severity and types of difficulties they experience. Children ages four to five are said to be in the emerging literacy population. Dyslexia is typically not diagnosed until grade school, but there are some early signs that could be present (Meaux, personal communication, September 13, 2017). There are some tests that could potentially diagnose dyslexia as early as age four. However, these young children are said to be “at risk” until the child reaches their second grade year (“Myths about dyslexia”, 2017).
Research shows that 20% of school-aged children are diagnosed with dyslexia (“Dyslexia facts and statistics”, 2015). This disorder occurs in individuals from differing intellectual levels and a variety of backgrounds. Eighty percent of children with dyslexia are found in the special education classrooms since it is considered a learning disability (Bates, 2017). Dyslexia affects some children in first and second grade by causing them to have “reading errors that show no connection to the sounds of the letters on the page,” can cause them to complain about how hard reading is, and they cannot sound out even simple words (Shaywitz, 2017)., Dyslexia begins to create different obstacles once the child reaches second grade. Some of these obstacles are in the areas of reading, speaking, and life as a whole (Shaywitz, 2017). The child may have difficulty reading unfamiliar words causing he/she to make a guess due to their inability to decode the word (Shaywitz, 2017). Often times when speaking the child will use a lot of pauses and hesitations, or he/she may need extra time to respond to a question (Shaywitz, 2017). From second grade and on, dyslexia begins to affect the child’s life; dyslexia can be a cause of low self-esteem. Young adults and adults continue to feel the effects of dyslexia throughout their entire educational career and often into their vocational career.
Research has shown that those who receive early intervention, combined with support from family and friends and a strong self-image, generally have a better prognosis (“The dyslexia foundation”, n.d.). Although dyslexia is not typically diagnosed until the child reaches second grade, it is important for parents and other caregivers to be educated on early indicators. Some early indicators of dyslexia in their preschool years and prior are “difficulty learning the names of letters in the alphabet, unable to recognize letters in his/her own name, mispronounces familiar words…, doesn’t recognize rhyming patterns like cat, bat, rat, [and/or has] a family history of reading and/or spelling difficulties” (Shaywitz, 2017). Knowledge of these early indicators will allow the child to receive early intervention and hopefully lead to success in improving reading skills which can lead to a better educational experience, a variety of career opportunities, and an overall successful life.
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September 21, 2017, p. 2, from Duke University website: dyslexia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/DI-Duke-Report-final-4-29-14.pdf
Meaux, A., personal communication, September 13, 2017.
Myths about dyslexia. (2017). Dyslexia institute of America. Retrieved September 21, 2017 from dyslexiainstitutes.com/?page=myths
Shaywitz, S. E. (2017). Signs of dyslexia. Retrieved September 20, 2017, from dyslexia.yale.edu/EDU_signs.html
The dyslexia foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved September 18, 2017, from dyslexiafoundation.org/