To be successful in the modern world, you have to develop certain skills, such as reading. The ability to read enables you to send and receive instructions, study new subjects, and communicate with supervisors and coworkers who may be rooms or even oceans away. The ability to read makes you more relatable, hirable, and-in many cases-more sociable.
The traits listed above all contribute to making you a more successful individual. However, what if you or someone you love has a reading learning disorder? You may not develop these traits as quickly as others, and you could suffer emotional distress as a result. Luckily, when you understand your disorder, you can take the first step toward overcoming it.
What Are Reading Disorders?
Individuals can develop a reading learning disorder either as a child or as an adult. These disorders occur for a number of reasons, including genetics, disease, head trauma, or other factors that contribute to structural or functional brain problems. These problems lead to difficulty in reading comprehension that has nothing to do with laziness or stubbornness.
Reading learning disorders fall into three categories: difficulty decoding words, difficulty comprehending, and difficulty remembering. The most common category is decoding words, or dyslexia, which affects nearly 15 percent of Americans. People who suffer from dyslexia can’t break words into their phonemes, or the sections of the word that contribute to its meaning, like an average reader.
Sometimes, when a person has difficulty decoding phonemes, he or she cannot comprehend what a string of phonemes in a sentence or paragraph should mean. And even if this person can decode those phonemes, he or she might not have the ability to connect ideas in a sentence. Either of these two situations indicates that a person has reading comprehension disorder.
With the final category, readers simply fail to retain what they’ve read. This situation might happen on its own or because the reader uses too much energy decoding phonemes and piecing ideas together.
How Are Reading Disorders Diagnosed?
You’ll have to go to a neurological specialist for a diagnosis if you have a reading learning disorder. You may do some preliminary detective work yourself by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you (or someone you love) consistently struggle to sound out words or get letters and sounds confused?
- Do you or your children read slowly, without expression, and ignore pauses and other punctuation prompts?
- Do you or your family members struggle to understand the meanings of words, sentences, or passages?
- Do you or your loved ones lose concentration while reading?
- Do you or your children struggle to summarize or remember what you have read?
When you see your specialist, he or she will observe you or your family members, interview you about reading experiences in the home, make assessments based on written instructions, and otherwise test your child’s phonological awareness. Obviously, there are many different signs that may indicate a reading disorder, so it is important to see a specialist for an accurate assessment.
How Are Reading Disorders Treated?
If you or your loved ones have a reading learning disorder, your specialist will create a targeted treatment based on your specific disorder. These treatments include practice and other strategies that strengthen the affected person’s weakest language skills. Your specialist may also champion various academic accommodations if you or your loved one is a student.