- What is Dyslexia?
- What is Dysgraphia?
- Literacy Difficulties Symptoms Overview
- Myths About Dyslexia and Dysgraphia
- The Primary Intervention Approach
- Literacy Intervention Programs
International Dyslexia (IDA) Association and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD):
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability, one that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language. Such difficulties often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems with reading comprehension and result in a reduced reading experience, which can further impede vocabulary growth and affect background knowledge.
British Dyslexia Association (BDA):
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills. It is likely to be present at birth, and to be life-long in its effects. It is characterized by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed, and the automatic development of particular skills, which may not match up to the individual’s other cognitive abilities. It tends to be resistant to conventional teaching methods, although its effect can be mitigated by appropriately specific interventions, including the use of information technology and supportive counselling.
National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD):
Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects the ability to write, which requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills. It can lead to problems with spelling, poor handwriting and transferring thoughts to paper. People with dysgraphia might have trouble organizing letters, numbers and words on a line or page.
From the International Dyslexia Association’s Fact Sheet (IDA):
Dysgraphia is a condition causing impaired letter writing by hand; that is, disabled handwriting. Impaired handwriting can interfere with the ability to learn to spell words in writing, and writing speed. To date, research has shown that orthographic coding in working memory is related to dysgraphia. Orthographic coding refers to the ability to store written words in one’s working memory while the letters in the word are analyzed, and the ability to create a permanent memory bank of written words, linked to their pronunciation and meaning.
Below are common areas where students with literacy difficulties struggle. However, it is important to note that not all of these symptoms are present in every individual. In addition, the areas detailed in these lists serve as warning signs, rather than a diagnosis. Experiencing difficulties in the below areas does not determine Dyslexia, this can only be done through formal testing.
Young students (pre-K)
- Delayed speech, as well as associated vocabulary development and appropriate usage
- Difficulty in understanding directions/instructions
- Confusion when naming letters
- Difficulty rhyming words
- Confusion over words such as ‘it’, ‘at’, ‘to’
- Lack of interest in reading
- Difficulty identifying a letter when given its sound, or vice versa
- Letter reversals, for example b/d and p/q
- Word reversals, such as tap/pat, on/no, saw/was
- Recognizing and remembering words by sight
- Difficulty in copying text
- Poor letter formation and pencil grip
- Spelling inconsistencies
- Accurate use of language when speaking, with correct grammar and varied vocabulary
- Correct pronunciation of words, particularly those that sound similar
- Problems with finding words, using substitute words such as ‘the thing’ or ‘that stuff’
- Difficulty remembering and following multi-step instructions
- Using a lot of filler words while speaking
- Reluctant to read, particularly aloud, and limited fluency when reading grade-level content
- Guessing unfamiliar words rather than attempting to read them (e.g., ‘tired’ instead of ‘tried’)
- Omitting or adding letters or words when reading, which affects comprehension
- Ignoring punctuation
- Complaining, while reading, that words or letters are moving on the lines, yet standard eye tests show no problems.
- Consistent spelling errors within a piece of writing. May not spell the same word the exact same way in different places.
- Mixing both upper and lower case letters within a word, for example: motHEr
- Poor handwriting and difficulty writing on a straight line
- Difficulty expressing ideas and organizing them in writing
- Difficulty listening and taking notes simultaneously
High School and College Students
- Can be competent in oral language
- Relies on memory, for those who have excellent memory
- Problems finding the right words
- May be good at ‘reading’ body language and gestures
- Has difficulty reading fluently at the expected level
- Skipping and rushing through text
- Difficulty in extracting key ideas, paraphrasing and summarizing
- Memorizing facts can be difficult
- Poor spelling
- Poor grammatical structure
- Difficulty proofreading and self-correcting
- Difficulty planning and organizing writing assignments
- Limited output quantity, lower than expected
- Lack of interest in literacy related activities
- Difficulty in word-based math problems, despite understanding the related mathematical concepts
- Problems with time management
- Low self-esteem and confidence
- Task avoidance behaviors
- Pre-School Age Dyslexia Screener – ARHQ
- School Age Dyslexia Screener – CLDQ-R
- Adult Dyslexia Checklist
Schedule your child for a FREE screening
As part of our responsibility towards the community and raising public awareness of learning differences, we organize a screening day each month, where your child can be screened for any tendencies towards literacy difficulties. The session takes about 30 minutes, followed by a brief meeting with one of our specialists to discuss the outcome.
Please contact us to find out more and to book your child’s slot.
“Dyslexic students need a different approach to learning language from that employed in most classrooms. They need to be taught, slowly and thoroughly, the basic elements of their language—the sounds and the letters, which represent them—and how to put these together and take them apart. They have to have lots of practice in having their writing hands, eyes, ears, and voices working together for conscious organization and retention of their learning.” Margaret Byrd Rawson, a former President of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA).
Research and Evidence
According to various studies, students with literacy difficulties benefit most from systematic, explicit and simultaneous multisensory instruction when developing their reading and writing skills. The British Dyslexia Association considers the multisensory teaching approach the ‘hallmark’ of Dyslexia tuition. Various research papers, supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), have demonstrated the value of explicit, structured language teaching for all students, particularly those with dyslexia.
Origins: Orton-Gillingham Approach
The multisensory teaching approach was first used in 1920 by Dr Orton, in an attempt to reduce letter confusion (e.g., b/d reversal) by utilizing kinesthetic-tactile reinforcement of visual and auditory associations.
In 1936, Anna Gillingham and her colleagues used Dr Orton’s principle to develop a teaching manual for the ‘alphabetic method’. They combined multisensory techniques with teaching the structure of written English, including sounds (phonemes), meaning units (morphemes such as prefixes, suffixes, and roots) and common spelling rules.
At the Lexicon Reading Center, our educational therapists are well trained in research-based methods that follow Orton-Gillingham principles to remediate literacy skill deficiencies. Instruction aims at building literacy skills, starting at the student’s current level and progressing at the appropriate pace, to close identified gaps.
The Underlying Principles of Our Programs
Which Literacy Skills are targeted during the Intervention?
A thorough skills assessment is the basis of developing an effective intervention plan. At Lexicon Reading we follow a comprehensive framework in order to identify skills gaps and to remediate them efficiently (link to assessment page).
Reading Sub skills Targeted
- Phonological Awareness
- Print Concepts
- Decoding and Sight Word Knowledge Awareness
- Fluency in Context
- Automatic Word Recognition
- Language Comprehension
- Strategic Knowledge
- Reading Comprehension
- Reading Strategies Knowledge
- Specific Reading Purpose
- General Reading Purpose
- Background Knowledge
- Knowledge of Sentence Structure
Writing Sub skills Targeted
Only children with a professionally recognized psychological assessment report confirming that the child has dyslexia, or other related literacy difficulties, are able tomay enroll on our program. A psychological assessment is important, because it allows us to determine the best way of helping your child. The Lexicon Reading Center has its own Assessment Service, but. However, we also accept reports and referrals from other qualified psychologists.
If the assessment was carried out less than two years ago, we don’tdo not usually require a re-assessment, but we would request that you send us the report. If the report provides enough information for us to develop an intervention plan, we will contact you to advise you on the enrollment procedure. If not, we may have towill arrange for our psychologists to meet with your child for further evaluation. In both cases, our specialist will discuss the planned program plan with you, including . This will insure you understand the goals, set, and methods, and whoinform you of the name of your child’s educational therapist who will work with your child will be.
The decision to enlist a professional to work with your child to overcome his or her literacy difficulties is a critical one. It is always necessary to. You should seek detailed information, not only to avoid wasting time and money, but also to minimize disappointment and frustration. For example, you should enquire about:
- Educational background.
- Previous work experience.
- HasIf the professional had specialist training in instructional approaches designed to address the needs of students with literacy difficulties?
- How effective is this special training, according to recognized research?
- Request references from professionals, parents, and former students, if appropriate.
- Certification by a training courses aligned with the standards listed by international organizations and research bodies, such as the International Dyslexia Association, or the British Dyslexia Association.
- Certification by an accredited multisensory structured language training course.
- Ongoing quality supervision, under which therapists should be conductingconduct their sessions.
- You should establish the year and location of the training course, as well asand contact information for references from the director, institute, academy, or clinic.
Every child is different, and the length of the program will depend on each child’s profile of strengths and weaknesses, as well as the nature and severity of the difficulties they encounter. Our individualized programs aim not only to develop skills but also toand ensure automaticity in skills application.
The overall goal is to help the child function at the expected grade level for his or her cognitive ability. (Look at the program structure)
Again, this will depend on the level of difficulty your child is encountering, and how big the skills gap is. We require each child to attend a minimum of two hours, weekly, for a period of twelve weeks. At the end of this phase we evaluate the child’s progress against the targets set initially, and then offer advice on the next level of the program.
This again depends on the nature of difficulties identified. If the problems are mainly academic, then we will focus on remediating skill deficiencies as a priority. We believe that self-doubt, frustration, stress, anxiety and some behavioral problems are a reflection of learning issues, rather than vice versa. Students with literacy difficulties show an instant confidence boost once they realize they can learn how to read and write.
According to the International Dyslexia Association, recent research shows that a poor visual memory has a minor effect on spelling skills; it. It is mainly a language-based learning difficulty.
Poor spellers struggle to remember letter sequences in words due to weaknesses in basic language skills, such as; i.e., letter-sound association (e.g.., j/g, ch/sh, v/f), syllables analysis (e.g.., mem, pos) or recognizing meaningful parts of words, or morphemes (e.g.., sub, ed, able).
At the end of each program phase (typically twelve weeks), your child will see our specialist for a formal progress evaluation session. During that session, your child’s progress will be evaluated thoroughly against the goals originally set at the beginning of the phase.. However, for the duration of each phase our educational therapists will constantly evaluate their students’ progress informally, and keep. They will remain in contact with you and your child’s schoolteacher, to keep up to date with information on the child’s skills application outside ofbeyond the remedial setting.
Please look into our intervention process, sample progress reports, testimonials.
As a parent you can expect to receive regular updates after every session from your child’s educational therapist. Regarding schools and other professionals involved, we are happy to exchange weekly cross over sheets (detailing what is covered during each session, what has been mastered and what needs to be emphasized.). We welcome input from parents, the school and other professionals on how the child is using the skills they have mastered so far.
Once the progress report has been discussed with you at the end of each phase, our specialist will be happy to brief your child’s school about the results.