Acquiring reading is a very important skill for early education and children with reading difficulties often enter a downward trajectory of low educational performance and poor job prospects with negative consequences for their well-being as adults.. When we think of the problems in learning to read, it is particularly important to distinguish between decoding (the accuracy or ease of reading aloud) and in understanding (adequacy of text comprehension). Problems in learning decoding (developmental dyslexia) and problems in learning to understand texts (reading comprehension disorder) are distinct forms of difficulty, which appear to depend primarily on speech developmental disorders. Dyslexia is associated with early problems in a child's language development, as persistent problems in developing phonological skills seem to be an obstacle to learning to decode written speech. On the other, reading comprehension disorder appears to be affected by a wide range of oral language difficulties, such as problems understanding lexical concepts, as well as problems with grammar skills. Sometimes, difficulties at both language levels, that is, in phonology and grammar, may coexist. However, children with dyslexia may have difficulty understanding texts, because of the cognitive work, that is, the effort they put into reading, which in turn will affect the ability to understand, while the limited, difficult reading attempts will usually be fewer hindering the development of comprehension tracking strategies (I know for example where I am in the text and what I have understood), as well as further development of vocabulary.
The latest 25 Over the years, much progress has been made in the way the scientific community understands dyslexia and learning difficulties in classification parameters., definitions, neurobiological factors and intervention.
What is dyslexia?;
Early definitions, such as that given by the World Neurology Organization (World Federation of Neurology), claim that the dyslexia is a disorder that occurs in children who, despite the educational experiences, formal mental abilities and the socio-economic level, fail to master reading, writing and spelling. Such definitions have been particularly criticized, as they include exclusion criteria, they essentially tell us what dyslexia is not and not what it is. More modern definitions, such as the one formulated by the International Dyslexia Cooperative (International Association of Dyslexia), claim that “dyslexia is a special learning disability of neurobiological origin. It is characterized by difficulties in accurate and / or easy word recognition, in spelling, as well as decoding capabilities. These difficulties are typically the result of a deficit in the phonological part of the language, unexpected based on other cognitive abilities of the individual, as well as the effective education that the individual receives in the classroom. Secondary consequences may include problems with reading comprehension, while limited reading experience can limit the development of vocabulary and prior knowledge ".
Dyslexia is the most common learning difficulty and remains throughout human life, while it can range from mild to severe. The sooner one intervenes, the better and more favorable the results will be. However, it is never too late for the person with dyslexia to improve their reading performance.
Very often, dyslexia is not diagnosed in the first years of school life, resulting in the child being confused due to the difficulty he presents in mastering reading. It is important to know that other problems may coexist or occur because a child has dyslexia, such as:
- Show signs of depression and low self-esteem
- Have behavioral problems at home or at school
- Demonstrate low motivation, to develop reluctance, lack of interest in the school that, in turn, will hinder school success if left untreated.
What probably causes dyslexia;
Researchers have not yet found the exact causes of dyslexia, but it seems that genes and brain differentiations play an important role.
Dyslexia is very common in families with 40% of dyslexic individuals also have relatives with reading difficulties and another 49% of them to have dyslexic parents. Researchers have also found genes linked to both reading difficulties and language processing..
Brain differences have been observed between people with and without dyslexia in areas of the brain associated with reading skills related to recognizing the sounds of letters in words., as well as by reading words.
Symptoms of Dyslexia
- Preschool age
Children who do not master their first words until their age 15 months or do not produce their first sentences until their age 2 years are more at risk of developing dyslexia. However, not all people with language retardation develop dyslexia, while not all people with dyslexia experienced language development retardation when they were children. Speech delay simply focuses parents' attention on their child's language development.
Children from families with a history of reading difficulties should be screened regularly for dyslexia.
Signs that are common in preschool children with dyslexia include the following:
- Delayed speech development
- Difficulties in pronouncing words, e.g. spaghetti for spaghetti
- Difficulties in pronouncing polysyllabic words
- Difficulties in learning the alphabet, of numbers, of the days of the week, of shapes, spelling of their name
- Difficulties in learning rhyming poems
- Possible difficulties in learning new vocabulary
- Possible difficulties in following a multi-step instruction
- Fine motor skills may develop more slowly than other children
- Partitioning difficulties (separation / spelling) and conciliation (combination) sounds to create words
- Possible difficulties in telling and retelling a story in the appropriate chronological order
- Toddlers and first grade
At the age of 5 the 6 years, when children begin to learn to read, dyslexic symptoms become more apparent. Indications that may be of concern to us and appear to be related to a person with dyslexia are the following:
- People find it difficult to understand that words are made up of sounds and are divided into them
- They make reading errors that are not related to the letter sounds on the page, that is, they read something other than what is expected
- They have a positive history of reading difficulties in parents or relatives
- They complain about how difficult it is to read
- They do not want to go to school
- They have problems pronouncing words or speaking
- They have difficulty saying the sounds of simple words one by one, like you", "Duck", "hen"
- They find it difficult to associate letters with their sounds
Early intervention programs at this age focus on developing phonological awareness skills (recognition and handling of language sounds, such as splitting a word into its syllables, locating the letter where the word begins, of the letter ending, etc.), vocabulary enrichment, as well as reading strategies.
- Monday to Sixth grade
Signs of dyslexia in these school years include the following:
- Very slow pace of mastering reading
- Slow, idiosyncratic reading rate
- Problems reading new words
- They avoid reading aloud
- They mispronounce polysyllabic words, unknown or complex
- They confuse words that look like they sound or have common letters (e.g. "You are" for "you" and vice versa, "One" instead of "if", "Yes" to "if")
- They find it difficult to remember details, dates, names
- Use vague vocabulary or general words, like this", "thing"
- "Messy" graphic character, omission, letter movement, add letters
- Frequent typical mistakes that children with dyslexia can make once exposed to the written word, but observed and at an older age may be:
-Confusion of letters that look like audio or visual, such as for example β-φ, δ-θ, γ-χ, τ-κ, τ-π, φ-θ. Therefore, can read "cardPhiουνο »instead of« κάρbουνο », «Philambs "instead of"ilambs », "axsitting "instead of" acκάθι », "gooddj »instead of welliIka.
-They confuse letters and numbers or invert them, eg 3 instead of e, 6 instead 9, δ instead of ρ ("thedωες »instead of« ήρωες »), etc..
-They can make letter substitutions, e.g. "aRGιο »instead of« άgrvirus", "Watermelon" instead of "watermelon"
-They repeat letters or syllables in reading or even writing
-They make investments (that is, they add letters to the words, read for example “ifa"bloomed" instead of "blooming", «Παρακλίno "instead of" decline ", «Απω"spread" instead of "spread")
-They confuse words that sound like headphones to each other ("Was" instead of "one", "Landscape" instead of "place")
-They make spelling mistakes, in the subject of the word and in the suffixes
-They do not use punctuation or the accent mark
-They can stick words together or split a word in two
Intervention programs for the effective treatment of dyslexic symptoms include training in the sounds of letters, development of phonemic awareness, as well as connecting letters with phonemes through writing and reading texts at the appropriate level to promote emerging skills. Interventions should be systematic, adequately structured, multi-sensory and should include enough teaching and time to consolidate learning outcomes with frequent repetitions, taking into account the possible limitations in the child's attention and learning difficulties.
Parents and teachers should be aware of the connection between spoken and written language, that is, the connection that exists between how we use language orally in the preschool years and the way we read and write in the school years, as well as that possible difficulties in mastering reading may be the result of a disorder, such as dyslexia, pre-existing reading.
Early intervention and information seem to be strong allies in tackling this disorder.
Fani Bilitsaki writes, Speech therapist, MSc - Former Associate Department of Speech Therapy, TEI of Epirus – Ekp. Spec. Education