Dyslexia – What we know explained

Dyslexia – What we know explained2016-10-20T10:26:31+00:00

Dyslexia is the most common form of learning disability, accounting for 80% of all children identified. Problems with reading, and related difficulties in comprehension, spelling and writing are common for these children. Many people with dyslexia also experience difficulties with working memory, attention and organisational skills.

Dyslexia can be defined as:
… a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterised by difficulties with accurate and / or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.*

* This definition is the preferred definition of AUSPELD as well as the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Dyslexia across the school years

Children with dyslexia will show some or many of the difficulties listed below. They may not display all of these characteristics.

  • Difficulties with oral rhyming, syllabification, blending and segmenting of sounds in words
  • Delayed speech and language development
  • Limited spoken vocabulary
  • Poor understanding of letter-sound links
  • Difficulty in learning letter names
  • Slow and inaccurate word recognition
  • Inability to read nonsense words
  • Poor spelling
  • Difficulty understanding reading material
  • Difficulties with tasks requiring reasonable working memory capacity – such as following instructions or remembering sequential information
  • Reduced ability to isolate and manipulate individual sounds in words
  • Difficulties holding verbal information (e.g. instructions) in working memory
  • Slow to complete literacy-related tasks
  • Reading is slow and laboured
  • Visually similar words are often confused when reading
  • Trouble decoding unfamiliar words
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Limited retention of spelling and writing rules and conventions including spelling patterns
  • Numerous spelling errors (phonetic or non-phonetic)
  • Inconsistency between verbal ability and written skills
  • A lack of interest in or avoidance of reading and writing tasks
  • Ongoing difficulties in working memory
  • Poor reading fluency
  • Reduced reading comprehension (may need to re-read material many times to comprehend)
  • Poor spelling, including lack of knowledge of patterns in words and morphological knowledge (affixes and base words)
  • Poor writing fluency
  • Difficulties writing in a structured manner (i.e. poor sentence and paragraph construction, unable to structure essays)
  • Slow speed of writing
  • Disorganisation and difficulties with planning
  • Limited working memory
  • Word finding difficulties
  • A lack of interest in or avoidance of reading and writing tasks
  • Working memory difficulties may become more pronounced as the demands of schooling increase

In this section

Learning to read was, and still is, so difficult for me. I couldn’t understand how the other kids seemed to pick it up so easily while I struggled to read even quite simple words. I mostly guessed randomly – and just hoped I was right!
Sarah, Age 14 years
Click to listen highlighted text!