Learning to read is a very complex skill - and for many of us, it doesn’t come easily.
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that causes difficulties with reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services.
The exact causes of dyslexia are still not completely clear, but anatomical and brain imagery studies show differences in the way the brain of a person with dyslexia develops and functions. Moreover, most people with dyslexia have been found to have problems with identifying the separate speech sounds within a word and/or learning how letters represent those sounds, a key factor in their reading difficulties. Dyslexia is not due to either lack of intelligence or desire to learn. With appropriate teaching methods, students with Dyslexia can learn successfully.
How to Talk to Explain Dyslexia to Your Child
Some parents and teachers become worried about 'labelling' their child as having dyslexia. However, talking openly about dyslexia can be a good thing. Without an understanding of their dyslexia, children may lose self-esteem and worry that are not as smart as their friends. This can lead to deep unhappiness, depression, anxiety and in some cases a phobia of school. Children are usually relieved to finally understand why they have been struggling.
3 Things to Explain:
Dyslexia is genetic. It is passed on through families - there is likely someone in your family who also has dyslexia.
Dyslexia just means your brain works differently, making it harder to learn and use written language. There are many other things that come easy to you.
It will take longer to read and write than many of your classmates but you can learn to read and write like everyone else when you are taught in a different way - taught in the way you learn.
The following ebooks and videos may help to guide your discussion.
More information about reading disabilities may be accessed from the following websites:
itshardtoread.org - A digital experience that gives you an insight into what it’s like living with dyslexia
Young voices of dyslexia - A video series by Dyslexia Canada
Dyslexia Stories - A blog and audio series by Dyslexia Canada
Understoog.org - A day in the life of a child with dyslexia
International Dyslexia Association Handbook - What Every Family Should Know
International Dyslexia Association - Frequently asked questions