Dyslexia is the most commonly misunderstood and commonly occurring learning disability. It also has devastating consequences for people. Having difficulty being able to fluently read and write has severe consequences for people in our society. Research on dyslexia has exploded in recent decades; however many people remain unaware of it. A myth still exists that dyslexia involves the reversal of numbers of letters. While many children who have dyslexia also write numbers and letters backwards, that is not the main problem for people with this disorder. The major difficulty usually involves the person’s ability to understand speech sounds, the sounds that letters make. Speech sounds are the basic building blocks of a language, and if your brain has difficulty making sense of these sounds and of the connection between a symbol (e.g. the letter D) and the sound it makes, then it is likely that you will have difficulty reading and/or writing. Some very bright children try to memorize every work in their native language and this kind of strategy can work for many years. However eventually they will usually lag behind in terms of being able to read fast enough to keep up with their workload (Fluency). Or they will have to spend so much time with the fact of reading that they will have difficulty with understanding what they read (Comprehension). They can become very demoralized; this kind of difficulty can be a significant source of underachievement in children and teens. It can also be a source of shame as they try to cover up the fact that they can’t read or write as well as their peers.
Research in the last two decades has determined that remediation for dyslexia needs to be intensive; for example there are summer intensive reading programs that the student can take in which they work for several hours a day five days a week over the summer to improve their reading skills. These kinds of programs have been found to be effective in helping children improve their reading ability.
Children who do not learn to read fluently by the age of eight years old often do not develop a sense that they can learn in school. Psychotherapy can be helpful to help educate the child about his or her particular strengths and weaknesses and to address any emotional issues like this that have developed due to having difficulty with reading and writing.
I can help with identifying reading problems in children, teens and young adults, determining strategies for remediation, and treating any secondary emotional difficulties that have developed.
To read “Just the Facts … Understanding Your Dyslexia” click here.