If your child struggles with reading, sounding out words, or understanding what they’ve read, they may have a learning disorder called dyslexia. Estimates regarding the prevalence of dyslexia state that between five and 20% of the population experience reading challenges. In order to find the most effective teaching strategies, it’s essential to be able to identify the problem early and understand that there are several types of dyslexia.
What Is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disability that hinders an individual’s ability to read by affecting spelling, writing, and comprehension. Dyslexia is not a learning disability that a child will outgrow, so it’s important to pursue a diagnosis and strategies to improve reading ability. Anyone can be diagnosed with dyslexia, although the testing process is different for adults than for children. Often Individuals with dyslexia can be very creative and intelligent yet struggle with basic reading skills.
Symptoms of dyslexia are varied and include:
- Difficulty learning new words.
- Delayed initial speech.
- Difficulty with rhyming words.
- Confusing letters for each other.
- Poor reading fluency.
- Grammar issues.
- Poor sentence structure.
- Lack of phonemic awareness.
- Avoidance of reading aloud.
- Difficulty copying words from a secondary source.
In addition, there are subtle signs to watch for in children with dyslexia, including:
- Withdrawal from peers.
- Misbehavior or acting out.
- Self-esteem issues.
- Peer and sibling relationship difficulties.
- Loss of interest in school.
- Appearing unmotivated or lazy.
Recognizing early symptoms of dyslexia can help diagnose the disability sooner, providing a more significant overall opportunity to improve.
What Are the Types of Dyslexia?
Experts have created categories to group several common forms together to increase the effectiveness of treatment. Being familiar with the types of dyslexia will allow educators to develop strategies specific to the child’s needs in order to provide the best support possible.
This type of dyslexia is the one that comes to mind when someone mentions the word dyslexia. It deals with difficulties in matching sounds to symbols and breaking down the sounds of language. Individuals with phonological dyslexia struggle to decode or sound out words. It’s believed that phonological dyslexia is the most common type of dyslexia.
Rapid Naming Dyslexia
People who struggle with the ability to rapidly name colors, numbers, and letters when presented with them may have rapid naming dyslexia. This type of dyslexia may be linked to both reading speed and the processing speed for reading. Individuals with rapid naming dyslexia can say the names of the colors, numbers, and letters, but it often takes them much longer to come up with the correct word.
Double Deficit Dyslexia
A person with double deficit dyslexia struggles with two aspects of reading. These two aspects often include naming speed and identifying the sounds in words. This type of dyslexia is a combination of rapid naming and phonological and is not uncommon.
An individual who can sound out new words with ease but fails to recognize familiar words by sight may have surface dyslexia. In this case, experts believe that the brain fails to recognize what a word looks like in order to process the word quickly. This type of dyslexia affects words that need to be memorized because they don’t sound how they are spelled, making it more difficult to sound them out. Other names for surface dyslexia include visual or dyseidetic dyslexia. It’s not uncommon for an individual with dyslexia to also have both phonological and surface dyslexia.
When a child struggles to remember what they saw on a page, they may have visual dyslexia. This type affects the visual processing, making it so that the brain doesn’t get the complete picture of what the eyes see. Visual dyslexia will affect the ability to learn how to spell or form letters because both require the brain to remember the correct letter sequence or shape, impacting the learning process.
If the dyslexia results from a genetically inherited condition, it is considered primary dyslexia. A child whose parents have dyslexia increases the chance that they will also have dyslexia. Interestingly enough, dyslexia does seem to have a familial connection with even more prevalence among males, especially left-handed ones.
When brain development issues occur in the womb, causing a neurological impairment may result in dyslexia. Both primary and secondary dyslexia are developmental because the disability is present at birth.
When a traumatic brain injury or disease affects the brain’s centers responsible for language processing, they can sometimes develop dyslexia. This type of dyslexia is also referred to as trauma dyslexia because it’s caused by trauma to the brain and is the only type of dyslexia with a known cause.
Other Learning Difficulties Associated with Dyslexia
There are several other learning difficulties that a person diagnosed with dyslexia may experience more prevalently. These are not types of dyslexia, and experts believe they are neurological in nature. These learning difficulties include:
- Left-right disorder. The inability to tell your left from your right is sometimes referred to as directional dyslexia.
- Dysgraphia. When individuals have difficulty with writing and other fine motor skills, that affects word spacing, sizing, spelling, legibility, and expression.
- Dyscalculia. An impairment to the ability to performing accurate math calculations, problem solving and reasoning, learning number-related concepts, and performing basic math skills. Dyscalculia is sometimes called number or math dyslexia.
- Auditory processing disorder. Individuals with auditory processing disorder experience problems with the brain’s ability to process various speech sounds. This disorder is sometimes referred to as auditory dyslexia.
What To Do If You Suspect Dyslexia
Start by having a conversation about your concerns with your family doctor. Concerns can include developmental delays, behavioral problems, or mental health issues. Involve your child’s teacher to get answers about how they perform in school, get along with others, and any struggles the staff might notice. Request further testing, either through your family doctor or your child’s school, to confirm a diagnosis of dyslexia.
Once diagnosed and the type of dyslexia is identified, the school will develop an individualized learning plan for your child. You can also seek alternative treatments outside of the school setting. If you have concerns about dyslexia, contact NeuroHealth Arlington Heights to learn more about diagnosis and treatment options.