What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a condition where a person has trouble reading. Individuals with Dyslexia have average intelligence. The degree of Dyslexia varies in people with some gravely affected by it while others show mild symptoms. Dyslexia is characterized by problems in the spelling of words, writing words, sounding out the words in the mind before speaking, and pronouncing them during reading out loud. Dyslexia is first discovered in school when the child makes the first attempt to read. People who could previously read but have since lost the ability are said to have Alexia. Dyslexia is involuntary, and patients tend to have the desire to learn.
Dyslexia is the most commonly reported learning disability and occurs evenly in all populations across the world. 3-7% of the world population is affected by the condition. However, only 20% of the patients show some degree of the signs and symptoms. Although the condition affects both men and women, it has been found to be more prevalent in men.
Causes of Dyslexia
Dyslexia has both environmental and genetic causes. Some cases have been known to run in families. Dyslexia has been found to be also prevalent in individuals with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Dyscalculia (difficulty in comprehending and learning arithmetic). Cases of Dyslexia in adulthood are associated with stroke, traumatic brain injury and dementia.
How is Dyslexia tested?
Dyslexia is linked to problems with language processing parts of the brain. For this reason, the condition is diagnosed through tests involving spelling, memory, reading skills and vision. However, it is important to point out that Dyslexia is distinct from other reading difficulties caused by vision or hearing problems or insufficient teaching.
The most efficient way of treating Dyslexia is adjusting the teaching methods to conform to the patient’s needs. This does not entirely cure the condition but rather, decreases the degree of the signs and symptoms.
Classification of Dyslexia
There are two types of cause of Dyslexia; one is linked to visual processing and another to cognitive processing. A person has visual processing Dyslexia is he/she can’t identify the words correctly by sight. In cognitive processing Dyslexia, the individual has a problem with non-visual aspects of learning such as spelling and pronunciation among others.
Talking of Alexia
Alexia is acquired Dyslexia. Experiences resulting to brain damage such as stroke and atrophy, therefore, bring the onset of Alexia. Forms of Alexia include:
Pure Alexia – severe reading problems but with normal language-related skills such as writing, naming, and oral repetition.
Surface Dyslexia – individuals with this condition have difficulty recognizing words as a whole and can’t retrieve the pronunciation from memory.
Semantic Dyslexia – here, people can’t attach proper meanings to words both in speech and reading. For instance, when challenged with the word “diamond” they may understand it as shiny or sapphire.
Phonological dyslexia – it is opposite of surface dyslexia. Individuals can recognize whole words but have difficulty sounding the words out.
Deep Dyslexia – deep dyslexia disrupts reading processes, i.e. cognitive processes of decoding symbols to construct and derive meaning.
Dyslexia and Society
Although Dyslexia has no intelligence connection, it can cause emotional problems in the patient. This may be the reason why it often goes unreported in adults who have acquired it. There have been calls to identify Dyslexia as a unique way of learning which has benefits and downsides.