Dyslexia: An Overview
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects the structural alignment of the brain. A learning disability is a disorder in the mental processes used for qualitative or quantitative reasoning. The disorder occurs in people of normal or above-normal intelligence. In addition, some challenges that arise because of dyslexia are not the result of eye, ear, or motivational difficulties, rather the brain is not processing or perceiving the information and data that the sensory receptors are receiving. In addition, it is not the result of emotional disturbance. When you have dyslexia, you are challenged when facing the obstacle of comprehending written words. Therefore you also have difficulty writing. Those with dyslexic brains do not recognize that words are made up of small units of sound, known as phonemes. Dyslexia can be diagnosed by taking a basic diagnostic cognitive test. This test both informs one of whether he/she has dyslexia or not, but also to what degree of dyslexia he/she has.
How many people are affected by dyslexia?
Dyslexia affects many people. 15% of the population is affected by a significant difficulty like learning to read. 22% of the dyslexic population live in poverty. However, 12% of all adults living below the poverty line has dyslexia. Dyslexia most commonly affects men as 80% of dyslexics are men.
Why do people have dyslexia?
Many do not know why people have dyslexia; however, scientists and neurologists say dyslexia is rooted in the left side of the brain thus making the under compensation of white and gray matter in the left parietotemporal lobe in the left hemisphere of the brain the makeup of a dyslexic brain. It is very common for a learning disability to be hereditary, especially dyslexia, the most common learning disability. Many studies have shown that dyslexia is hereditary, but not a dominant gene and is shown over many genes. Therefore, if a parent has dyslexia, it does not necessarily mean the child will most definitely have dyslexia. However, the chances are higher. Scientists have wondered for many years how to discover dyslexia at a very early age. Recent studies have shown there is a blood test to discover if you have a learning disability. The blood of the parents and the child must be taken and examined, especially the DNA of the parents. This new development is helpful because if the learning disability is discovered early in the child’s life, the parents are able to get specialized training and place the child in a special development program.
Dyslexia is usually diagnosed after age six because it is acceptable if you cannot read or write before age six, but with this blood test, one can know if you have a learning disability much earlier. All children are born not knowing how to read, and therefore must be taught. Children are not usually taught to fluently read, and are not expected to read until they are approximately six years old, therefore, if you know at the child’s birth that the child is dyslexic, then appropriate teaching actions can be completed so the child’s brain can develop at a regular pace of learning, but in a different way. Otherwise, if nobody knew the child was dyslexic, then at the age of six or seven, the child would have lost many critical years of their life trying to do an action that could not be done otherwise. Then, the child would have to catch up to the “regular” learning pace and make the critical years of the child’s life stressful and difficult.
What learning aids help those with dyslexia?
There are many helpful tools that teach those with dyslexia in a style that is more comprehensive for them. For example, text-to-speech pens are helpful to those with dyslexia because they can understand the phonemes or sounds of the words they highlight with their pens and they understand how the sounds look therefore helping them to write. This is a form of learning called auditory processing which is when someone hears something, they understand it more than when they do it or look at it. Another example of learning is called kinesthetic learning which is when someone does the action in order to understand it. For example, instead of sitting in a classroom being taught to fix an electrical problem, they would do it or watch someone do it. Kinesthetic learning is very hands-on and makes the person understand what it is they are doing. Another very important tool is the type of specific exercises provided in this workbook which strengthen a dyslexic’s sense of sight, hearing and spatial perception which is covered in great detail on the following sections of the book.