The term “dyslexia” is used to describe a condition whereby someone of normal intelligence struggles to read. The precise way in which the condition is experienced varies. For example, people may have problems with spelling, reading, writing, and so forth. The severity of the condition also varies, and some people with a mild form of the condition can develop compensatory behaviors, making it harder to identify them. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability in the world, impacting on up to 7% of the population. It is more easily diagnosed in countries where the language is less regularly phonetic than English, posing more challenges in terms of language acquisition. However, it occurs all over the world.
Dyslexia in Children
Children sometimes show early signs of the condition, with delayed speech and difficulty telling left from right. Dyslexia signs can also co-exist with other learning disorders, such as ADHD. Often people may have the feeling that something is wrong, but are not sure what the problem is.
Dyslexia can lead to a great deal of emotional distress in young people at school, who are frustrated by the disconnect between their intelligence level and their reading abilities, and often by their relative failure to progress. If their condition is not treated adequately, distress can continue in later life, as dyslexia can cause problems in terms of work and career progression. In general, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better the educational outcome, and the lower the incidence of emotional distress related to the condition.
Everyone is different, and it is not always easy to figure out why one person has dyslexia and another doesn’t. Sometimes it is hereditary, and research indicates that there can be both genetic and environmental inputs. Dyslexia in adults may occur after suffering a stroke or trauma. Either way, the first step to treatment is a clear diagnosis, giving you the knowledge to make the necessary steps moving forward.
A number of tests can be used to identify dyslexia. These tests should be carried out by a fully qualified educational psychologist. Your psychologist will take information on a range of areas, including background information about your family and details of any occurrences of the condition or other learning disabilities, general intelligence, oral language skills, word recognition, phonological processing, and more.
Although some simple screen tests are available online, a full dyslexia assessment by a professional is necessary to reliably determine if someone has it or not, and what interventions would be appropriate for them.
With a clear diagnosis, it is possible to tailor learning strategies specific to the type of dyslexia the person displays. Furthermore, institutions in the UK, such as schools and colleges, are required to make special provision for people with a diagnosis, such as extra time to complete exam papers.
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