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What is Dyslexia?

Key Facts and characteristics.

Definition produced by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA)

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterised by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding difficulties. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.

  • Dyslexia is a specific rather than a generalised learning difficulty.
  • Dyslexia is one of a family of related specific learning difficulties(SpLD’s) which have significant overlap and co-occurrence. The other SpLD’s include Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder.
  • Weakness in Literacy is often the most visible sign of dyslexia. However, Dyslexia is an information processing difficulty which involves the way information is processed, stored and retrieved.
  • Vulnerabilities in Phonological Awareness, verbal working memory and in an individual’s speed of processing are considered key indicators of dyslexia.
  • Dyslexics can also display difficulties with personal organisation, time management, sequencing number or letter strings or events and direction. These are not by themselves markers of dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia exists as a continuum, from mild to severe.
  • Dyslexia has a hereditary basis: it tends to run in families. Children with at least one dyslexic parent are more likely to develop reading difficulties than other children.
  • Advances in brain imaging reveal the different workings of the dyslexic reader compared to a typically developing reader.
  • Dyslexia is not related to intelligence, though most dyslexics are at least of average intelligence, many reach a higher level.

Recommended Reading

'The dyslexic advantage - Unlocking the hidden potential of the dyslexic brain' - Dr Brock L. Eide & Dr Fernette F. Eide

ISBN 978-1-84850-639-8

HayHouse publishers