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October 10, 2012

Essay on Dyslexia

What does the research tells us about Dyslexia…?
Dyslexia is the diseases that impair the affected person to read properly. It is the learning disability. Because of this learning disability an affected person can manifest himself / herself with other different type of difficulties like in the areas of auditory short-term memory, phonological awareness, orthographic coding, rapid naming and/or phonological decoding etc.
            This disease was first described by an English physician Oswald Berkhan almost a century ago and as per his research this disease affects five to seventeen percent of the population.
Dyslexia has three subtype or categories: attentional and audiovisual but it is not the intellectual disability. Furthermore, there is no connection between the IQ of the affected person with dyslexia because the reading and intelligence are different things that have their own characteristics of development. (Shaywitz et al., 2010)
Who is affected?
Dyslexia is a common neurobehavioral disease among the children as per study with the prevalence rate from five to twenty percent. This disease occurs in gradations like an obesity etc. The study further showed that:
“Support for the high prevalence of dyslexia comes from the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data which indicate that only 31% of fourth graders are performing at or above proficient reading levels. Sometimes, lower prevalence rates are noted; these typically refer to the number of children with dyslexia receiving services in public schools. Differences in prevalence rates based on testing every child in a class for a reading problem compared to data based on the number of children receiving special education services were exemplified by the findings of the Connecticut Longitudinal Study (CLS). The CLS, based on a population representative of all children attending public kindergarten in Connecticut, assessed reading and intelligence in each child in the study and found that one in five children was dyslexic. This figure contrasts sharply with data based solely on numbers of children receiving special educational services, which are much smaller, about 5%. Clearly, many struggling readers are not identified by their schools”. (Shaywitz, 2008).
Before this study, it was believed that this disease is more injurious for boys than girls, however, this study revealed that this disease has affected both males and females at an equal rate.
What are common myths?
There are several myths about the Dyslexia; following are the descriptions and their reality:
Myth: Dyslexic children see letters and words backward, and reversals (Writing letters and words backward) are an invariable sign.
Truth: While it is true that dyslexic children have difficulties attaching the appropriate labels or names to letters and words, there is no evidence that they actually see letters and words backward.
Myth: Mirror writing is a symptom of dyslexia.
Truth: In fact, backwards writing and reversals of letters and words are common in the early stages of writing development among dyslexic and non-dyslexic children alike. Because these beliefs about dyslexia are so prevalent, many dyslexic children who do not make reversals are often undiagnosed. Dyslexic children have problems in naming letters but not in copying letters.
Myth: More boys than girls have dyslexia.
Truth: Boys’ reading disabilities are indeed identified more often than girls’, but studies indicate that such identification is biased. The actual prevalence of the disorder is nearly identical in the two sexes.
Myth: Dyslexia can be outgrown.
Truth: Yearly monitoring of phonological skills from first through twelfth grade shows that the disability persists into adulthood. Even though many dyslexics learn to read accurately, they continue to read slowly and not automatically.
Myth: Smart people cannot be dyslexic.
Truth: Intelligence is in no way related to phonological processing, as scores of brilliant and accomplished dyslexics—among them William Butler Yeats, Albert Einstein, George Patton, John Irving, Charles Schwab, and Nicholas Negroponte—attest.
Myth: Left-handedness, difficulties with spatial (including right-left) orientation, trouble tying shoelaces, and clumsiness are associated with dyslexia.
Truth: These are certainly not core findings that we would expect in most people with Dyslexia, but of course there are clusters of people within the larger population of individuals with dyslexia who are also left-handed or who have spatial difficulties. Whatever subgroups of children with dyslexia may exist, it is clear that the vast majority of the dyslexic population shares a common phonologic weakness.
How is Dyslexia diagnosed? How does it change across development?
There are many theories that are incorporated with the causes of dyslexia e.g.: Cerebellar theory, Evolutionary hypothesis Magnocellular theory, Naming speed deficit and double deficit theories, Perceptual visual-noise exclusion hypothesis, Phonological deficit theory, Rapid auditory processing theory and Visual theory etc. By the passage of time there are more ideas and dimension revealed to diagnose this disease. Following are the main causes of Dyslexia:
·         Late speaking, Mispronunciations, Difficulties with word retrieval, Needing time to summon an oral response, Confusing words that sound alike, for example, saying “recession” when the individual meant to say, “reception”, Pausing or hesitating often when speaking, Using lots of “um’s” during speaking, lack of glibness, Using imprecise language, for example, “stuff,” “things,” instead of the proper name of an object, Underestimation of knowledge, if based solely on (glibness) of oral response (Shaywitz, , 2008).
There are number of difficulties that are found in reading without respect of the ages. Following are the main and important aspect and signs to diagnose the dyslexia:
“Slow progress in acquiring reading skills, Lack a strategy to read new, unknown words – trouble sounding out unfamiliar words, Inability to read small, so-called function words such as “that,” “an,” “in”, Terrific fear of reading aloud; avoidance of oral reading, Oral reading filled with mispronunciations, omissions, substitutions, Oral reading that is choppy and sounds like reading a foreign language, Reliance on context to discern the meaning of what is read, Disproportionate poor performance on multiple choice tests
Slow reading, Reading is tiring, Inability to finish tests on time – doesn’t finish or rushes and makes careless errors; final test grade does not reflect person’s knowledge of the topic, Disastrous spelling, Homework that never seems to end; parents recruited as reader
Messy handwriting despite what may be an excellent facility at word processing, Extreme difficulty learning a foreign language, Avoidance of reading for pleasure which seems too exhausting, Reading effortful, demands extra attention and concentration to read
Requires quiet environment to concentrate on reading, Reading accuracy improves over time, though it continues to lack fluency and remains laborious and slow, Lowered self-esteem with pain that is not always visible to others, Development of anxiety, especially in test-taking situations, History of problems in reading, spelling, foreign language learning in family members (Shaywitz, 2008).
What have we learned from brain research …?
Researchers also did different analysis and research on the human brain by using the cutting-edge technologies like Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI), this research opened the door of information about the brain’s structural difference among the normal and the children who has reading difficulties. This research revealed that the dyslexia patient has deficit on the parts of left hemisphere that function to perform the reading activities that includes middle and ventral temporal cortex, inferior parietal lobule, and inferior frontal gyrus.
Shaywitz also pointed out that "It is as if these struggling readers are using the systems in the front of the brain to try to compensate for the disruption in the back of the brain” (Shaywitz, 2003)
What does research tell us about teaching at-risk children to read?
The ongoing research explores many dimensions and these are still in progress. In 1998, the congress expressed its concerns about dyslexia and its epidemic outcomes and for this connection, the congress took step by appointing National Reading Panel (NRP) to focus on the issue by carefully reading and assessing the scientific data on teaching in perspective of children to read. In that connection the NPR presented its report on April 2000. The report was the outcome of the research, study and analysis of work about the evidence-based approach to teaching, the report included that the reading must include five critical components:
Phonemic awareness: the ability to be aware of, notice, or manipulate the sounds of spoken  language, Phonics: learning to link letters to the sounds they represent, Fluency: the ability to read both accurately and rapidly, and with good intonation, Vocabulary: to understand the meaning of words read, Comprehension: to understand and discern the meaning of connected text, Furthermore, these components are most effectively taught in an explicit, systematic approach. For struggling readers, it is critical that, in addition to an evidence-based approach:
Instruction is intense, that is, in small groups not greater than 4-5 students; Sufficient time is devoted to teaching reading and language-related skills, for example, sixty to ninety minutes, optimally, each day; Support services are provided to children until they become not only accurate, but also fluent for most words at their grade level;Accommodations are provided to permit dyslexic students to demonstrate their knowledge.
Above discussion, highlighted that although dyslexia is the common disease but in time diagnosis, preventing steps and remedies can control that, one should consult a doctor to handle this situation properly.