A frequently asked question is "What is dyslexia?" Many people think it is mainly letter reversals, such as confusing b and d or writing letters backwards. Yes, many dyslexics do reverse letters and sometimes entire words, but there is much more to dyslexia than that. In fact, in the official definition of dyslexia, letter reversal isn't even mentioned.
Here is the definition of dyslexia according to the International Dyslexia Association:
"Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge."
This definition is very specific about what dyslexia is. Here are some facts about dyslexia:
- Dyslexia is not caused from environmental or economic disadvantage, inadequate instruction, environmental or economic disadvantage, student laziness, or other disabilities.
- Dyslexia generally causes severe spelling difficulties.
- Dyslexics find it difficult to read words in isolation. Their reading is generally very choppy, rather than smooth.
- People who have dyslexia usually have average or above average intelligence.
- Dyslexia can vary in severity from mild to severe.
- Dyslexia cannot be remediated using standard reading or spelling programs.
More information on dyslexia can be found at The International Dyslexia Association website.
Marie Rippel is the author of the All About Spelling program, the multisensory spelling program designed with the specific needs of dyslexics in mind.