What is Dys­lexia?

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - News -

Dys­lexia is a dis­or­der in­volv­ing dif­fi­culty in learn­ing to read words, let­ters and other sym­bols. Dys­lexia lit­er­ally means ‘trou­ble with words’. It is the term used to de­scribe dif­fi­cul­ties with spell­ing, writ-ing and read­ing. The chal­lenges can come in many dif­fer­ent forms and are not lim­ited to re­ver­sals of let­ters and words, a com­mon mis­con-cep­tion.

Dys­lexia af­fects 1 in 10 in­di­vid­u­als, many of whom re­main un­diag-nosed and re­ceive lit­tle or no in­ter­ven­tion ser­vices. For some indi-vid­u­als who have never been di­ag­nosed, dys­lexia is a hid­den dis­abil­ity which may re­sult in un­der­em­ploy­ment, dif­fi­culty nav­i­gat­ing aca­demic en­vi­ron­ments, dif­fi­culty on the job, and re­duced self-con­fi­dence. Even those who have been di­ag­nosed are likely to strug-gle with read­ing or writ­ing in some as­pects of their lives. Dys­lexia is a spe­cific read­ing dis­or­der and does not re­flect low in­telli-gence. There are many bright and cre­ative in­di­vid­u­als with dys­lexia who never learn to read, write, and/or spell at a level con­sis­tent with their in­tel­lec­tual abil­ity.

What are the Char­ac­ter­is­tics of Dys­lexia?

Dys­lexia is char­ac­terised by oral dis­tor­tions or omis­sions. Both oral and si­lent read­ing show no­table slow­ness and er­rors in com­pre­hen-sion. Some of the key char­ac­ter­is­tics of Dys­lexia are listed be­low: Dys­lexia is a learn­ing dis­or­der and it is as­so­ci­ated with dif­fi­cul­ties ac­quir­ing read­ing skills. The main char­ac­ter­is­tics of Dys­lexia are the in­abil­ity to dis­tin­guish be­tween com­mon let­ters and the in­abil­ity to as­so­ciate com­mon pho­nemes with let­ter sym­bols. Chil­dren with Dys­lexia of­ten have dif­fi­culty vis­ually dis­tin­guish­ing be­tween con­fus­ing or sim­i­lar let­ters, such as b and d, or p and q. This could lead to a dif­fi­culty cor­rectly read­ing words, such as read­ing gall in­stead of ball. An­other com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tic of Dys­lexia is the in­abil­ity to track word lines. Chil­dren may read the same line twice; they may jump over and skip words, or skip lines when read­ing. In more se­ri­ous cases chil­dren may re­port that the lines start to “move on the page” or get “washed out” and “blend into each other”. As­so­ci­ated symp­toms of Dys­lexia may in­clude dif­fi­cul­ties with writ­ing, low self-es­teem, be­havioural dif­fi­cul­ties (par­tic­u­larly act­ing out dur­ing class), at­ten­tional prob­lems, anger and fre­quent headaches af­ter the school day.

What Causes Dys­lexia?

Dys­lexia is not a vis­ual dis­or­der, it is a read­ing dis­abil­ity caused by a de­fect in the brain’s pro­cess­ing of graphic sym­bols. It is a neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der. The deficit is in a small part of the brain that is in­volved in read­ing and trans-mit­ting writ­ten in­for­ma­tion be­tween the sen­sory sys­tem and the brain. New re­search from the UK finds that about half of genes that in­flu­ence a child’s read­ing abil­ity can also af­fect their math ca­pa­bil­ity.

How is Dys­lexia di­ag­nosed and treated?

You may have heard about tinted lenses help­ing dyslex­ics. That is an ex­am­ple of a spe­cific prob­lem (a sen­si­tiv­ity to the con­trast of black text on a bright white back­ground) that can cause read­ing dif­fi­culty. The tinted glasses or over­lays do help those chil­dren, but it is some-thing seen with only about 5% of dyslex­ics.

A lot of very bright vis­ual learn­ers try­ing to store whole words in mem­ory, rather than de­cod­ing. That leads to lots of guess­ing or switch­ing of the short words. Around 50% of dyslex­ics fall into this group. Dys­lexia is a com­plex dis­or­der and test­ing re­quires a de­tailed ap­proach. A thor­ough assess­ment of Dys­lexia in­volves: 1. Eval­u­a­tion of the child’s de­vel­op­men­tal his­tory and back­ground. 2. De­tailed eval­u­a­tion of read­ing skills. 3. Assess­ment of cur­rent in­tel­lec­tual level. 4. In most cases it is also use­ful to eval­u­ate the child’s cog­ni­tive proc-esses as­so­ci­ated with Dys­lexia. 5. To screen out the pos­si­ble pres­ence of a sen­sory deficit, it is neces-sary to eval­u­ate the child’s vis­ual abil­i­ties.

Dys­lexia Aus­tralia sup­ports a multi-sen­sory based ap­proach to dys-lexia in a car­ing, pa­tient, flex­i­ble and sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment. Dys-lexia Aus­tralia of­fers a Davis Dys­lexia Cor­rec­tion® Pro­gram, which is suit­able for stu­dents and adults aged 8-80 who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing chal­lenges in read­ing, writ­ing and com­pre­hen­sion. God bless, Dr. Ashraf Mina Prin­ci­pal Sci­en­tist | NSW Health Pathol­ogy Ph.D., M.Sc.(Clin Biochem), B.Sc.(Hons), Grad Dip (Biochem Nu­tri­tion), Grad Dip (Mi­cro), MACMSR, MAIMS. \In­sti­tute of Clin­i­cal Pathol­ogy and Med­i­cal Re­search (ICPMR), West­mead Hos­pi­tal. Se­nior clin­i­cal lec­turer, Fac­ulty of Medicine, Syd­ney Univer­sity.

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