Specific learning disorder known as dyslexia is characterized by poor comprehension, slow and uncertain reading, and poor word recognition.
It is believed that one in ten children suffers from this neurodevelopmental disorder, which often leads to academic struggles. Early detection of the disorder is crucial to manage this situation and improve learning outcomes.
Individuals with this disorder not only have difficulty in reading and writing development but may also experience challenges in processing speed, as well as visual and/or auditory perception abilities. Short-term memory deficits are one of the most common symptoms, followed by difficulties in organization, sequencing, or spoken language.
Each case of dyslexia is different, so it doesn’t have to affect everyone in the same way or with the same intensity. That being said, here are the most common symptoms of this disorder:
- Difficulties with laterality.
- Confusion of words with similar pronunciation.
- Changing the order of letters and reversing numbers.
- Impairment of spatial and temporal awareness.
- Errors in laborious readings.
- Lack of concentration in reading or writing.
- Short-term memory problems.
- Difficulty in following a routine, rules, and achieving balance.
- Challenges in organizing thoughts.
- Impediments in mathematics.
- Speech difficulties.
Once you have a clear understanding of the main symptoms of dyslexia, it is useful to know the different types in order to determine the specific case we are dealing with. Therefore, I will now briefly explain the differences between them.
This type of dyslexia affects individuals indirectly. That means people who suffer from this type of dyslexia have difficulties reading nonsense words, known as “pseudowords,,” while not experiencing problems when reading common words. Visual paralexia (letter substitutions and derivational paralexia (maintaining the word root but modifying the morpheme are the most frequent errors made by these individuals.
This affects them more directly, so they read indirectly. This means that they rely more on the sound of the word than its actual meaning. They have difficulty reading irregular words. In other words, regular words, although they may not be commonly used, are likely to be read correctly. The most common errors made by these individuals are regularizations, as they have trouble with irregular words, leading to errors of omission, addition, or substitution of letters.
This type of dyslexia is more severe and less common. Unlike the previous types, individuals with this type of dyslexia have a blocked indirect pathway and certain impairment in the direct pathway, which leads to slightly impaired reading, with better performance when reading silently compared to reading aloud. Additionally, they experience difficulties in reading pseudowords and regular words, with semantic errors. This means that they may read words as other words that have no visual resemblance but share a semantic connection, occasionally resulting in neologisms.
How to improve reading in children with dyslexia?
There is no manual that tells you how to make your children read better, but I can give you some recommendations that will help you during practice:
- Learning to recognize the shortest sounds that make up words (phonemes).
- Understanding that letters and strings of letters represent these sounds and words (phonetics).
- Comprehension. Make an effort to understand what you read. Not only will it help you feel more supported, but it will also encourage you to keep reading in front of others.
- Fluency. Read aloud to develop reading accuracy, speed, and expression.
- Teach them a vocabulary composed of recognized and understood words.
If you have the time, don’t hesitate to increase reading sessions with specialists, as it can be quite beneficial for your child. If they have a severe reading disability, they may need tutoring more frequently, which could slow down the process. Stay calm and always try to understand them, in addition to seeking help from a specialist.