Dyslexia Can Turn a Common Task Into a True Challenge

Jan 06, 2022

This stat might be shocking to some people. Nearly 15 percent of Americans suffer from some level of dyslexia, a condition that involves difficulty reading and processing written information. Dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process both written and spoken language, making it extremely difficult for one to communicate properly.

People with dyslexia do have normal intelligence and vision, and with proper academic and emotional support, they are able to navigate challenges associated with this disorder. Although there is no cure for dyslexia, early intervention and development of strategies for learning are an essential part of learning to deal with its unique challenges. Children, in particular, must receive proper support and training strategies to not only successfully navigate life with dyslexia, but to accept it as part of their process.

Causes of Dyslexia

Dyslexia is largely considered a genetic disorder; as such, it can affect several members of the same family. Brain scan evidence shows that areas of the brain known to be active when reading and writing are inactive in a person with dyslexia. He/she has trouble associating letters to their correct sounds, so decoding language when first learning can be tremendously challenging and frustrating. Providing intervention strategies and emotional support during this time will be an essential part of helping a child reduce the anger and frustration that comes with the process of learning to read and write. 

Symptoms of Dyslexia

While most children are not formally diagnosed with dyslexia before they enter school, there are some signs and symptoms to look for that will make treatment and management a bit easier. If your child is younger than school age, look for the following indicators:

  • Late speech development
  • Inability to learn new words
  • Problems with word formation and speech
  • Difficulty remembering numbers, letters, and colors
  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes, playing rhyming games

If your child is of school age, the signs and symptoms of dyslexia will become more pronounced, including:

  • Reading below expected grade level
  • Problems processing auditory cues
  • Difficulty finding the right words for expression
  • Problems with finding sequence
  • Inability to perform correct pronunciation
  • Difficulty with spelling
  • Avoidance, taking a long time to process reading and writing tasks

If early intervention is not attempted, a child will become more and more avoidant toward activities that involve reading and writing. This will likely impact both academic and social development over time.

Treatment Options for Dyslexia

While there is yet no known way to correct brain abnormalities that cause dyslexia, early detection and evaluation can help pinpoint an appropriate course of treatment. Some things to try include: 

  1. Educational techniques--Dyslexia is most often treated using specific educational techniques. Psychological testing will help you and your child's teacher create a suitable teaching program. A teacher/trainer will use tools involving touch, vision, and hearing to improve reading skills. A child learns to use his/her senses to process data, and in doing so, other areas of the brain are fired up and stimulated for learning.
  2. Individualized testing and training plans--United States schools have a legal obligation to provide testing and individualized training plans for children with a formal dyslexia diagnosis. Reach out to your child's school to find out how to begin the process of crafting an IEP, or Individualized Education Plan.

Living with Dyslexia

Parents whose children have been diagnosed with dyslexia can take steps to address the problem early. Finding ways to positively frame experiences around reading and writing will be another way of encouraging continued literary development. Explain to your child that this is a condition that he/she must learn to work with, and that persistence and consistency will help to overcome challenges.

If you are an adult with dyslexia, seek evaluation and recommendations for training and instruction that can help you with processing. Ask about additional training opportunities and accommodations from your employer that will allow you to be more successful on the job.

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