Dyslexia is a term regularly bandied about the educational community and is a word that is likely to have been heard by most of the general public. For all its popularity, dyslexia is a term that is shrouded in confusion and ambiguity. This confusion was experienced first hand during SE1 and has been observed as something trainee teachers and teachers alike encounter regularly (PLL, 5/11/11], Appendix 1, pg2). On that basis the rationale behind this assignment is to further understand the term ‘dyslexia’, to consider the definition and diagnosis, as well as the barriers to learning it can generate. Consideration will also be given to the strategies that can be employed to assist learning, as well as promote the inclusion of children with dyslexia. Definition
The first recorded definition of dyslexia was accredited to Morgan (1896). Although over a century has past, a universally accepted definition of dyslexia cannot be found. West (1991) observed that for the public at large, the term dyslexia is usually restricted to reading difficulties. What is clear from the insurmountable amount of publications on dyslexia, this is not the case. Rose (2009) defined dyslexia as:
‘a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling… Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation…’ The above definition of dyslexia is endorsed by the British Dyslexic Association (BDA) and TDA. It is a definition that appears to have considered previous definitions and has taken the most regularly referred to difficulties into consideration, making it arguable the most thorough and relevant definition considered. Regardless of its definition, confusion surrounds dyslexia. Indeed, Burden (2002) sites dyslexia as a ‘convenience term’ and deems it unhelpful. Burden’s reasoning for this was that the features of dyslexia can overlap with other types of difficulties. During SE1 application of this reasoning was observed when, an express unwillingness was noted to test a child for dyslexia, on the grounds that some of the child’s difficulties could be accredited to a pre- existing diagnosis (PLL,[5/11/11], Appendix 1, pg2). Perhaps the level of uncertainty surrounding dyslexia can be attributed to the various areas of study, dyslexia produces. There are wealth of publications that attribute the difficulties associated with dyslexia to various areas of neurology and cognitive psychology, with each publication contradicting the next. Irrespective of its definition dyslexia constitutes a Special Educational Need(SEN) under statute (Education Act 1993/1996) and a duty is imposed on schools to ensure that children with SEN have access to the curriculum. Furthermore dyslexia is now recognised as a Specific Learning Difficulty under a variety disability legislation (Disability Discrimination Act 1995/2005, SENDA 2001(for schools), Equality Act(2010). This recognition emphasises a schools, therefore a teacher’s, duty to overcome the barriers to learning dyslexia creates. Indeed with the consideration of Education (Special Educational Needs) Bill 2010-11 further emphasis on that duty will occur should it be enacted. Diagnosis
Diagnosis is the process of identifying disorders from their symptoms. Miles and Miles (1999) observed that as dyslexia is a complex syndrome, which varies from person to person, a diagnosis is difficult. This combined with the lack of an universally accepted list of symptoms, gives further insight is given into the reluctance experienced in SE1 to consider Child A for dyslexia assessment (PLL,[5/11/11], Appendix 1 pg2). The vast majority of diagnosis starts from parental or teacher observations, usually relating to performance below age related expectations in reading, writing and spelling. Although there are both paper based (DEST, Bangor Dyslexia Test) and...