Diagnosing And Treating Dyslexia

The page, Dealing with dyslexia makes an important point that dyslexia is not caused by the environment, but that parents and teachers can create an environment which either exacerbates or alleviates the challenges of dyslexia.

At the same time, dyslexia is an inherited condition, according to research from The Help Group The condition affects between 5-17% percent of students, and 80% of all students with learning disabilities have some form of dyslexia (or may have dyslexia along with other conditions).

It is a condition that spans a lifetime, and early on, the focus is on remediation
of the reading problem with reading intervention programs that have proven to be effective emphasizing phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency training, vocabulary and comprehension. For many students it may be simply a matter of allowing more time for decoding and sounding out words, which is the primary problem faced by both children and adults with dyslexia. Others may require more targeted interventions or have associated problems with speech or hearing.

However, the report emphasizes that for teachers and parents dyslexia should never be confused with low intelligence or lack of capacity for higher order thinking. It suggests that dyslexics are actually over represented by those with high levels of creative thinking. Students and adults can use their other thinking skills to examine their learning process and understanding difficulties. It is actually these higher cognitive skills which allows for diagnosis, where a clinician can compare a lower reading level with higher cognitive skills and then test for language difficulties. The report emphasizes that there is not one test, and low reading level does not immediately indicate dyslexia, but that it is a very treatable condition in a supportive and accommodating environment.

Aaron Seligman