What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia affects the ability to learn to read, write down ideas and stories and spell. There are difficulties with short term memory, for example, remembering the words to copy from the whiteboard in class and the organisation and sequencing of information, for example, remembering the months of the year. The difficulties persist despite normal classroom teaching. Dyslexia also means the person has trouble connecting the sounds that make up words (phonological awareness).
You must have normal to above normal intelligence to have dyslexia. It is the discrepancy between the normal to above normal intelligence and the poor ability with reading, writing and spelling that highlights a specific learning difficulty exists.
How common is dyslexia?
Dyslexia runs in families and is neurologically based. Dyslexia is on a spectrum and so generally no two dyslexics are alike with their difficulties but the difficulties can be similar. Research states that 10% of the population has dyslexia.
The strengths of a dyslexic
There are strengths that come from having dyslexia such as the ability to see the “big picture” of a situation or concept. The ability to pull lots of different sources of information together which helps to get the big picture. Also dyslexic’s can be very empathic towards others.
Other issues that can co-exist
Dyslexia also can co-exist with other specific learning difficulties like dyscalculia or dysgraphia and can co-exist with other processing disorders such as Auditory Processing Disorder and Irlen’s Syndrome.
Keep in mind that the students short term memory (auditory and/or visual) will easily become overloaded in the classroom. Dyslexic students can learn however it does take them longer and more effort to do so. Allow extra time.
Davis Dyslexia Association International: 37 common traits