Friday, 24 October 2014

Part Three of ‘Dyslexia - The Why’s and how to spot some of the Signs’  by  Dyslexia Dublin  © 2015


Problems with accuracy and recognition of the written word, decoding of words (phonetics), reading comprehension and slow growth of vocabulary come in a variation of forms of Dyslexia and Dysphonesia (problems with blending pairs... see below).

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Spelling and Visual memory weaknesses prevent a child from having a strong memory of what many common words look like. Using multi-sensory materials and techniques is the most effective help. With spelling, 96% of the English words are regular. A Dyslexic’s spelling word list should be very limited and the use of computers for spelling word practice and tests is encouraged.  Spelling words forwards and backwards is a big help for long-term memory of spelling words.  Please do not tell a Dyslexic to use the dictionary to find the spelling of a word as they will have trouble locating it, which may cause frustration.

There are many ways in which our children with dyslexia/dysphonesia can be helped. One way is to teach them how to break words into different sounds. Then how to write the different sounds and create and build new words. This helps with both reading and writing. As previously mentioned, children with dyslexia have poor processing power due to signals sent from one part of the brain to the other through various neural pathways are often misaligned. In order to improve/re map those areas a multi-sensory teaching method is favoured…as this works through 4 senses (touch, sight, speech and hearing) and uses the left side in tandem with the right, which means the information is far more likely to be retained.

Dysphonesia is a very important area to work on as previously mentioned…children with dyslexia and/or dysphonesia very quickly improve their single syllable words (dog…cat…rug) with the use of phonics. Mono syllabic words are slightly more challenging…we can improve this area by breaking down the words into syllables like SUM-MER…WIN-DOW, etc. We also need to introduce work on blends which is equally important. What are blends?…blends are pairs of letters that become a single sound like sh and ch and depending on where they are placed, as this could have a slight variation of sound. We are looking at a language that has a Germanic and Latin platform on to which the English was framed...known to be one if not the hardest languages to master.

With children going into second level schools it is also worth considering Italian or Spanish as a preferred language choice, if a 2ndlanguage choice is mandatory.  As previously mentioned, they appear to have a lower rate of dyslexia which could be due in part to fewer variations of the way a word sounds in relation to how the word is written down (reading and spelling). “The average language has about 50,000 words in its vocabulary compared to English which has 1 million. French is second with a quarter million words" - Lloyd Lofthouse. 

Visual stress can also be a problem with around 20% of the world’s population suffering with this…however don’t be tricked into believing that this can cure dyslexia. Visual stress aids can certainly help with visual tracking and give words greater clarity, which can give improved reading levels for some students presenting with visual stress, but it is not a cure. I have posted an article on this condition previously.

Hand writing is often slow in sufferers due to poor word recognition and retention…often students will look up at the board twice to write down one word. It’s also important to strengthen memory and this will improve writing skill along with tuition in this area (dysgraphia).

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Please ask for professional advice as our articles are to guide only.

Friday, 10 October 2014

‘Dyslexia - (part two) The Why’s and how to spot some of the Signs’ Part Two by  Dyslexia Dublin © 2014

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It is still very much exploratory times on the origins of dyslexia. What we do know is it affects far more boys than girls and seems more common in English speakers and those that speak languages with multiple rules/variations in sounds and spellings, such as German and Irish for example. Languages where the spoken word is close to the written word seem to fair better, such as Italian and Spanish.

There are also suggestions that it can be passed on from family member to family member, genetically. However, it will not descend in a uniform pattern…if one or both parents suffer with dyslexia it could miss most of the next generation. There are many such cases, where one child or more in a family has dyslexia, but some brothers/sisters do not. There are also families, where one child has dyslexia and parents do not, pointing to the fact that dyslexia can also skip a generation.

Dyslexia can also be brought on in later life due to stroke or other forms of brain trauma… overcoming this is a very slow process, unlike dyslexia from birth.

There are many commonly held beliefs, as with all things…Dyslexia has nothing to do with a low IQ or that we read letters in a different way to others…there is little wrong with a dyslexic child’s eyesight in comparison to a non-dyslexic child.

We need to head in the direction of linguistics and why our spelling performance doesn’t always reflect that of our reading ability… are we reading exactly what is in the books or are we adlibbing, replacing words with words that are stored in our brain? We need to take a holistic approach so we can begin to understand the problems faced by the dyslexic child and apply the preferred teaching/learning style, if we truly want to move this forward!

Language/speech is an art most have little problem with…we start forming our early words long before we start to read, write or spell and have a fair vocabulary by the time we do, so why do some find it difficult to read or spell? Our early venture into the spoken word is often through pronouncing whole words like mama and dada…we don’t use phonemes (words segmented into letters or blends of letters ch…sh, etc.) at this early stage. This is related to the ability to process in a phonological manner. However, it is widely believed that people with dyslexia find this much harder than those without dyslexia (Dysphonesia – problems with letter sounds and blends).

We certainly know from our own training centre that children retain more words through the photo image side of the brain and also through the phonetic /phoneme channel with far greater accuracy than the words they read or indeed write.

Next time in our final part we will look at ways of improving the lives of those with dyslexia.

NB. This information is from personal research, research of our team and also partly sourced through the work of others and is purely for improving the understanding of dyslexia…we do not make any suggestions in our posts.  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2014

Thursday, 2 October 2014

`Dyslexia - (part one )The Why’s and how to spot some of the Signs’  by  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2014




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We can all relate to our early learning and the struggle at school to grasp the English language. We all share one thing in common…it was a subject that couldn’t be skipped, we had to learn it…we need it…we would struggle to manage without it.
I was talking to someone in their fifties who struggled with the very subject and they remarked “Even now getting on a bus is a worry…I have to ask the driver as I can’t read the sign or understand the numbers that tells me where the bus is heading”.
If all our food came in a plain package with no images so many would struggle to read what the package contained…even cooking instructions would prove difficult, as would instruction manuals for all our gadgets…so much so that what many take for granted is a struggle for others in society.
If we take a look at education…most subjects involve English…even maths!
It’s unfortunate but poor reading and also poor learning skills is becoming ever greater with young people…modern technology that has been designed to make our lives easier is helping to fuel the problem…predictive texts…spell checkers…voice typing software, etc.
With some 10% of the population suffering from Dyslexia, how can we spot that our child might be dyslexic?
Some of the suggestions below could also point to dyscalculia and dysgraphia.
The most obvious sign is letter reversal and common letters are b and d…p and q.
Some children get the number 5 the wrong way round (dyscalculia).
Letters within words can be the correct letter but in the wrong order, leading to spelling errors such as ‘girl’ could become ‘gril’.
Diagraphs/blends tend to prove difficult, the sh…ch...ur…ir , etc.
Word endings are often difficult with the y very often replaced with i or e.
Monosyllabic words are often easier for the dyslexic child to relate to as they can sound the letters out.
Children often confuse right with left.
Poor or slow writing is another possible indicator (children have to constantly look up at the board to replicate the correct spelling) and this can also point to poor short term memory (dysgraphia).
Memory can also show up in a slow reader and also the lack of retention or reference to the passage of reading.
Tracking is another problem (if the teacher pauses note taking or classroom noise distracts the student). Reading rulers can help to keep your sight line/passage of text.
A lack of interest or understanding in subjects that involve reading, writing and spelling, but a flair in creative subjects can be another indicator of dyslexia…dysgraphia…dyscalculia.
Part Two on what causes dyslexia and how we can help will follow next week.
Please note all the information in our posts are taken from personal knowledge and research and may contain the work of others in our field. Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2013 I am happy for people to share my work...please mention the producer of this piece

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