Definition of Dyslexia

Definition of Dyslexia from: Dyslexia Action (formerly Dyslexia Institute) 2007

“Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects reading and spelling. Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties in processing word-sounds and by weaknesses in short-term verbal memory; its effects may be seen in spoken language as well as written language. The current evidence suggests that these difficulties arise from inefficiencies in language-processing areas in the left hemisphere of the brain which, in turn, appear to be linked to genetic differences.

Dyslexia is life-long, but its effects can be minimized by targeted literacy intervention, technological support and adaptations to ways of working and learning. Dyslexia is not related to intelligence, race or social background. Dyslexia varies in severity and often occurs alongside other specific learning difficulties, such as Dyspraxia or Attention Deficit Disorder, resulting in variation in the degree and nature of individuals’ strengths and weaknesses.”

What is Dyslexia? – Kelli Sandman-Hurley

Thank you to Kelli Sandman-Hurley for this excellent visual explanation of Dyslexia from a neurological perspective:

Myths – Truths and Things that are Sometimes True about Dyslexia

From: Mortimore, T. and Dupree, J. (2008) Dyslexia-Friendly Practice in the Secondary Classroom. Learning Matters LTD: Exeter (ISBN: 978-1-84445-128-9)

These characteristics are TRUE of learners with dyslexia:

  • Dyslexia runs in Families
  • Dyslexic students find it hard to express themselves in writing
  • Dyslexic learners need to put extra effort into their school work.
  • Many dyslexic learners have difficulty with alphabetical order.
  • Children with and without dyslexia use different brain areas for language tasks.
  • There is more than one type of dyslexia.
  • Dyslexic learners have trouble with short term memory
  • Dyslexic learners have persistent difficulties with spelling.
  • Dyslexic learners have difficulties with lists and sequences.
  • Dyslexic learners have trouble making skills automatic.
  • Dyslexic learners have more difficulty than most taking notes.
  • Dyslexic learners find it hard to copy from a board.
  • Dyslexic adults will read slowly and laboriously

These characteristics occur SOMETIMES in dyslexic learners:

  • Dyslexic learners are usually good at art.
  • Dyslexic learners are highly creative.
  • Dyslexic learners have difficulty with maths
  • Dyslexic learners are disorganised.
  • Dyslexic learners are usually good at sport
  • Dyslexic learners are articulate.
  • Dyslexic learners have difficulty with articulation.
  • Dyslexic learners often have difficulties with their self-esteem.
  • Dyslexic learners have trouble with eye strain.
  • Dyslexic learners are clumsy.
  • Dyslexic learners suffer from early language delay.
  • Dyslexic learners have poor letter formation and written presentation.
  • Dyslexic learners are usually left-handed.

These statements about dyslexic learners are MYTHS:

  • The majority of dyslexic learners are male.
  • Dyslexic learners will never learn to read.
  • Dyslexia does not exist in other languages
  • Most dyslexic learners suffer from attention disorders.
  • It is impossible to identify dyslexia before the age of 7.
  • Dyslexic learners cannot cope at University.
  • All dyslexic learners are of average or above average intelligence.