Dyslexia is a neurologically based learning difference that presents a range of symptoms that cause reading, spelling and in some cases comprehension challenges. Some subtypes of dyslexia are more easily recognized (and more common) than others. Recognizing a child's dyslexia subtype makes it easier to match a remediation or approach that would meet these challenges.
Students with dyslexia can have a few different dyslexia subtypes and mild to acute levels of that subtype. Experts differ in their view of how many different subtypes there are, but agree on the main subtypes. However, a dyslexia subtype means that the student's weakness is most pronounced in that area - this indicates that remediation of the most difficult area is a good starting point.
The Feifer Assessment of Reading (FAR) is an evaluation program that addresses four specific subtypes:
How Common is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is the most common reading disability affecting up to 1 in 5 people or 20% of the community (Yale et al, 2013).
Dyslexia crosses racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines, with expert instruction and accommodations every dyslexic student can become a skilled reader, fully participate in their education and successfully achieve their potential.
What are the Pitfalls?
Most schools do not recognize dyslexia or do not identify dyslexia - furthermore, many schools do not offer any daily phonemic awareness sessions (as advised by scientific evidence on reading). As a result children with dyslexia suffer emotional distress and loss of self esteem due to lack of services and diagnosis at public schools. They often start to exhibit behavioral problems due to the anxiety and the stress of not being able to participate fully in their education- they feel like out-casts. They may then become erroneously diagnosed with ADHD, ADD or behavioral issues and medicated. Please note, medication will not help a dyslexic child learn the skills needed to read and successfully participate in their education.
A child who has difficulty learning to read needs to be properly evaluated by an educational psychologist for dyslexia. Treatment for dyslexia is direct, explicit, sequential and multi-sensory structured literacy that specifically targets the students dyslexia subtype/s.
When children learn to read, sometimes they reverse letters that look similar, like "b" and "d." That's because our visual system has a property to make sure that when we see a mirror image of an object we still know it's the same object. When I see a chair that's oriented one way and I see it again when it's oriented slightly differently, I don't go, "What's that object?" I know it's the same object. Our visual system has to be flexible otherwise we're going to have infinite numbers of objects to recognize. So, a kindergartener will think "b" and "d" are the same letter. We have to teach them that they're not the same objects. And the child has to override that particular property of the visual system that was designed to make us good at object recognition.
When we learn to read we also use the oral language structures of the brain, and we blend that with the object recognition pathway. When children see words for the first time, they go through them very carefully and try to match the sounds to the letters. But once most people have done that a few times the word moves to this visual pathway where it's treated more like an object; you recognize the word by sight.
Dr. Guinevere Eden, neroscientist.
However, for children (or adults) with certain dyslexia subtypes their visual pathway does not automatically form a connection to the auditory part of the brain to build a phonological memory. Students need to learn the connection between the "object" and "sound" using a multi-sensory approach. MRI scans provide evidence that at least three parts of the brain need to work together, at the same time in order to build a phonological memory.
What is Dyslexia?