For some children and adults, it can be tough at times to read, spell, and distinguish numbers, and often their order can get reversed. This characteristic is one of the many traits a person has when they are diagnosed with dyslexia. According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia can be defined as “a learning disability that is characterized by difficulties in word recognition and decoding abilities.” Also, a person could have trouble with reading comprehension, spelling, and interpreting words. The disease doesn’t affect a person’s intelligence.
Dyslexia can be diagnosed in a person at any age and remain with him or her throughout the rest of their life. However, it is more common to be diagnosed as a child. Researchers haven’t found one direct cause for the disease; however, some possible causes are genes and heredity, as well as brain anatomy and activity. With genes and heredity, about 49% of parents with dyslexia will have children with this condition, according to the website “Understanding Dyslexia.” Also, 40% of siblings will have reading issues. As for brain anatomy and activity, a person with dyslexia will have difficulty understanding sounds in words and recognizing how to spell different words. However, with tutoring and assistance, a person’s brain patterns and activity can change to properly hearing and spelling words.
This disease is more common than people realize. Symptoms vary from person to person. Key signs are: trouble decoding words, matching letters to sounds, and reading words accurately and fluently. Other symptoms include difficulty telling time, managing time, thinking primarily with images, dizziness, headaches, or stomach aches when reading. They may also go through normal developmental stages early or late in their age group. However, dyslexics are known to have great long-term memory, are talented in the arts, and have high IQ’s. In addition, they learn best through hands-on experiences.
Diagnosing dyslexia is usually done by a doctor or school professional. Questions, reading tests, and other assessments will be given to measure a person’s skills. The tests will help show someone’s learning style, language and problem-solving skills, and IQ. Before evaluating skills, many doctors and school professionals will first rule out any medical problems that could come into play. Vision and hearing are also checked. Family history will be asked, as well as looking at other issues, such as ADHD and mental health issues, that could affect a person’s learning and comprehension. Tests and assessments aren’t given to a person unless signs of dyslexia are seen.
There are various forms of treatment for dyslexia. Medicines and counseling aren’t used to manage the disease. The most common way to better understand dyslexia is by using educational tools to improve skills. The first thing a person should do after being diagnosed or having a child diagnosed is learn about the disease and how best to treat it. For children three years old and older, school professionals will help create an individualized education program to match the child’s learning needs. For example, this plan will identify specific disabilities, goals and objectives for the school year, learning needs and styles, and will help create a treatment team for the child. This team can include the parents, teachers, and school personnel. Special education assistance is also available, as well as tutoring and teacher aides. Parents can play a big role in helping their child understand and handle their dyslexia. In addition to working at school, parents can assist their child with guided oral reading, connecting letters to sounds in everyday activities, and using the sounds to form words. The most important thing a parent can do for their child is advocate for the best possible education in school to manage their dyslexia.
Managing dyslexia can be tough shortly after being diagnosed, but it gets easier. Understanding the disease, the symptoms, and the treatments is valuable. Once a person has a treatment plan and assistance, their dyslexia will improve, and their skills will strengthen, giving them more confidence and self-esteem.
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