Specific Learning Disorders: Dyslexie and other reading disorders
Dyslexia is one of possible symptoms of a Specific Language Disorder. Dyslexia is a reading learning disability, and is specific to inability to identify normally written letters, syllables and words. Manifestations affect either precision, speed, or precision and speed of word identification. It is seen in the absence of a visuel or peripheral hering deficit (wether blindness, low vision or deafness) and the absence of an intellectual delay, and despite normal school instruction. Dyslexia often associates with a spelling disorder. An underlying phonological processing disorder often is seen, and this affects sound in words and syllables perception, and mental manipulation of sounds in working memory; this is observed in about 80% of dyslexics. Various language deficits also are observed. There also are perceptual, visuospatial or neurovisual problems (often reffered to as "visuoattentional span") behind certain subcategories of dyslexia.
Dyslexia often is described (wrongly) as a problem with reversing letters when reading or writing. Dyslexia is a neuro-biologically based disorder, with a genetic factor. It's a soft neurological dysfunction; the brain does not reorganize properly to learn to identify written words automatically like in other children, and often, does not lear wery well how to remerber how words are spelled. It happens independantly of the educational, social, emotional context. One important factor to help is to be able, early on in the child's school life, to adapt specifically for the child's needs. This is instrumental to avoid handicap situations In certain cases after brain damage (traumatic, stroke, etc.) that reading and writing capacities are lost. Observations with these adults, plus information from modern neuro-imagery techniques, confirmed the neurological nature of reading disorders. We also have strong scientific evidence supporting the specific strategies to use and how to treat in Speech and Language Pathology the phonological underlying disorders in many dyslexics.
Dyslexia conclusion? Yes, but more importantly: Treating Dyslexia and Reading Disorders
Dyslexia was recognized as a developmental disorder by the World Health Organization in 1991; it is estimated to affect from 8 to 12 % of global population, and from 5 to 15 % of children. Diagnosis can be reached in a multidisciplinary team but more importantly, before reaching a final diagnosis, all scientific authorities agree that specific intervention and treatment had to start as early as possible. In the newly published diagnostic manual DSM5, persistence criteria for Specific Learning Disabilities is set at six months of difficulties, as opposed to a previously proposed "2 year" delay, before a diagnosis can be reached. Initial assessment will help eliminate other possible causes, and characterize the type of dyslexia and treatment priorities. SLP assessment will pinpoint the linguistic/language that are delayed, strengths and challenges of the neurological system in its language processing abilities in both oral and written modalities, with primary focus to design and implement a SLP treatment and intervention plan. Your SLP will also help answer some of the school's questions, and suggest adaptations and strategies specific to the child's unique linguistic/language profile. We also are prepared to try and select approrpiate technological aids, computers, tablets, software and apps, etc.
Any child that is still unable to read normally at the end of Grade 2 is at high risk of having his/her late developing language skills delayed. As a matter of fact, later developing language happens based on read materials. Vocabulary, knowledge, sentences, more complex verbs, reasoning and complex expressive skills like being able to debate and argue are all later developing linguistic skills; reading a variety of texts articles, novels, etc. contibutes largely to this. Early SLP intervention will help make sure the right reading aids and technology are selected and made available for normal exposure to written language.
Possible Symptoms (variables with different causes and in all cases)
Reading errors are of many different types:
- auditory confusions that cannot be explained by a hearing disorder.
- visual confusions that cannot be explained by a visual problem of spatial perception and organisation problems.
- omits, adds or reads letters in the wrong order.
- omits parts or words.
- syllables boundaries in the wrong places.
- reading slowly
- inadequate intonation, unnatural pauses, etc.
- very difficult decoding, one word at a time, which results in inability to remember what has been read
- incapacity to understand what has been read