Dyslexia and Reading Disorders
A reading disorder can be classified as Dyslexia, Specific Reading Disability
and can be part of a Language-Learning Disability. The terminology can be
very confusing and the terminology describing reading disorders is even more
confusing. We often see children in 3rd-5th grade that have done very well in school 'until this year.'
There is a big shift in the later elementary grades from learning to read to reading to
learn. These smart children are able to compensate and keep up to a point, but
eventually are not fluent enough in their reading and writing to keep up with the
higher demands, at least not in a timely manner. Reading difficulty will impact all subjects,
including math, because instructions, concepts and vocabulary become increasingly
dependent on reading and writing skills. This can be a surprising and frustrating situation
for both parents and children.
Dyslexia and reading disorders can be identified as early as preschool. Although children
of all ages respond well to specialized treatment, early identification and treatment offer
the best chance for improvement, success and preservation of self-esteem.
Dyslexia and reading disorders are distinct learning disorders that are specific
to reading, spelling or written expression. Dyslexia is seen in children with
average or above average intelligence and an absence of other difficulties but
is often seen in a child having difficulty with other forms of language as well.
Dyslexia may be seen in children with speech, language, handwriting or auditory
The ideas behind a reading disorder are:
It is a neurologically based disorder and is not the result of low
intelligence, lack of motivation or lack of opportunity.
Children with reading disorders respond well to specialized
intervention and can be very successful in academics.
Children with reading disorders often can read and spell but do
not become proficient or automatic with reading and spelling
at an expected level.
The severity can vary and different children have different strengths
and weaknesses in all aspects of language development, including
reading, spelling and writing.
Signs of Dyslexia must be considered in conjunction with the child's age, education
level and other abilities and should be evaluated by a professional.
Difficulties associated with reading disorders in school aged children may include:
- difficulty associating sounds with letters
- consistent spelling errors, especially vowels
- frequent guessing and relying on context
- learns new information by memorizing rather than understanding
- not recognizing familiar spelling patterns in unfamiliar words
- does not gain meaning from what is read
- reading and writing does not 'flow', they are very labored tasks