Dyslexia is a problem experienced by children and adults where it is difficult to read printed text. Teaching students who may be undiagnosed with this condition requires some basic understanding of what dyslexia is, as well as an awareness of the local points for referral within your own schooling system that will allow young people with dyslexia to be appropriately diagnosed.
The signs of dyslexia a teacher may notice include:
- Trouble with automatic word recognition - a sight vocabulary is not easy for the child to build up or maintain
- Hard to blend letters together
- Cannot always find the beginning and end of words
- Skips words when reading aloud
- Loses the meaning of what is being read
- Words may be spelled several ways in a single piece of writing
- Uses an unusual ordering of letters within a word
- Can often remember complex or unusual words easily eg. spaghetti, dinosaur
Text is often read at a very slow rate, and so comprehension is impaired. This has implications for older students where there is increasing demand for fast, fluent and effective reading in line with a general increase in learning requirements across curriculum areas.
People with dyslexia have average or above average intelligence. Dyslexia affects people from all cultural backgrounds, although there is some suggestion there is a tendency for it to run in families. It is a condition which lasts for life, but with effective management and the use of practical strategies, a person with dyslexia can become an effective, successful lifelong learner and achiever.
Remember that teaching students with dyslexia is your role as a teaching professional. Diagnosing students with dyslexia is the role of a professional such as an educational psychologist, who is specifically trained in assessment and diagnosis of specific learning disabilities.