Dyslexia corresponds to a learning disorder characterized by reading performance substantially below what would be expected, in terms of accuracy, speed or comprehension, depending on chronological age, IQ (intelligence quotient) and level of education. schooling.
It is, basically, a specific learning disability, which is characterized by difficulties in correcting and/or fluently reading words.
The existence of inversion errors, that is, seeing the letters backwards, results from errors of phonological origin (confusion between consonants with the same place of articulation, one voiceless and the other voiced, such as “d” and “b”) and not of visual origin.
Dyslexia is perhaps the most frequent cause of low performance and school failure and, in most cases, it is not identified or correctly treated. It is also probably the most frequent disorder among the school population, with a reported prevalence of between 5 and 17.5%.
Some studies in Portugal suggest a percentage of 5.4% of children with dyslexia, a figure that fits within the prevalence ranges recently published in other countries.
Initially, a higher prevalence was reported in males, but in recent years an equal distribution in both sexes has been reported.
Causes of Dyslexia
Until recently, dyslexia was thought to be a behavioral disorder that primarily affected reading. Currently, it is known that dyslexia is a partially inherited disorder, with complex clinical manifestations, including deficits in reading, phonological processing, working memory, rapid naming ability, sensorimotor coordination, automation and early sensory processing .
In addition to heredity, there are several theories that try to explain dyslexia based on changes in the brain’s neurological system. These changes do not interfere with other brain functions and these children have normal or even above normal intelligence.
Dyslexia is associated with other disorders such as hyperactivity , impaired motor coordination, behavior, mood and reduced self-esteem.
Symptoms of Dyslexia
The most common complaints are difficulty in rhyming and spelling words.
This difficulty makes the process of learning to read more difficult, as well as the ability to understand sentences and recognize written words.
When dyslexia is not detected, other problems can arise, such as changes in behavior, loss of self-esteem and, in the case of adults, difficulties at work.
Currently, there are several tests that allow the evaluation and diagnosis of children with dyslexia.
There is no biological marker that, in clinical practice, can be used to confirm the diagnosis of dyslexia.
This diagnosis is made based on family and clinical history and a set of psychometric, language, reading and spelling tests.
There is no treatment that can correct the brain anomaly responsible for dyslexia, nor medication to treat this disorder, except in cases where it is associated with other alterations, such as hyperactivity or attention deficit . As such, the treatment of dyslexia essentially involves education and teaching that must be adapted to each case.
Early identification and intervention are the secret to success in learning to read. The sooner dyslexia is identified the faster help can be obtained.
It is essential to carry out a diagnostic evaluation in order to define which skills have already been acquired and which ones remain to be acquired.
Intervention in dyslexia involves specific learning strategies that include reading, writing and vision:
- All teaching should be adapted so that there is an evolution of easy and basic contents progressing to the more difficult ones.
- The concepts taught must be systematically reviewed to maintain and reinforce their memorization.
- A direct and explicit teaching is also necessary, in which the different concepts must be taught in a direct, explicit and conscious way and never by deduction.
- Success in intervention against dyslexia depends on close cooperation between the family and the school.