What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is the most common learning disability that children and adults struggle with today. It is estimated that 15-20% of people struggle with Dyslexia, and that 70-85% of children placed in special education are there because of Dyslexia.
If you or someone you love is struggling with Dyslexia, you are not alone. It is not something that indicates unintelligence in someone. Children with Dyslexia are extremely smart and capable; they just struggle with language processing.
The definition of Dyslexia is a general term for disorders related to learning to read, reading comprehension, and interpreting letters or symbols.
Symptoms of Dyslexia
The Symptoms of Dyslexia vary depending on a person’s age.
The very word “Dyslexia” is actually made up of two words. Dys means not or difficult, while lexia means reading, words, language, etc. The word itself says it all.
Most of our language processing skills originate in the left side of our brain, or “hemisphere”. Sometimes this side of the brain can be underdeveloped or slow to connect neurons with the other side of the brain, or the right hemisphere.
A person with Dyslexia will see the words on the page, but the brain will change what they see. For Example:
- They may see letters as backwards or upside down.
- They may not be able to tell the difference between letters that look similar in shape such as: c,o,and e
- The letters may move on the page.
- Sometimes they will see double of the letters, or letters will bunch/ mix together, etc.
Since the child will be struggling to read each individual word, reading comprehension will be low. It is difficult for them to remember what they’re reading, if the reading itself poses such a challenge.
This is an extreme case of frustration to children trying to learn to read, and parents or teachers trying to teach them. It leads to hours of frustrated study, and the child ends up feeling self conscious and that they may not be as smart as their peers. Of course, this leads to the child hating to read, or hating school. They won’t want to do something that is hard, makes them feel unintelligent, or that embarrasses them.
This is devastating, because these children are not dumb. But nearly everything we do in life involves words and language. Schools, jobs, communication, street signs, bills, instructions, etc. The list goes on and on. The source of their struggle, language, is around them everywhere.
Thankfully more and more research is coming out every day. There is hope. Studies are coming forth with information on how to strengthen the hemisphere that is underdeveloped. This can leave Dyslexia in the past, allowing your child to move forward with confidence into the world.
Our favorite resource so far is a book by Dr. Robert Melillo called “Disconnected Kids”. It explains what is going on in the brain of someone who has a Learning Disability, as well as how to fix it so that they can overcome it.
Various professionals are also publishing books and articles related to Hemispheric Integration, or getting the two sides of the brain to communicate so that it can be as functioning and healthy as possible.
We will continue to share what we learn on Dyslexia, it is a pressing issue and we are happy to help. We have dealt with this Learning Disability in our own family here at Smarty Pants Fun, and know the struggles in entails. However we have also seen the light at the end of the tunnel. We have seen the results that lead to confidence, and we know they work.
This isn’t something that must consume you, or your child’s life.
There is always hope.