Dyslexia in Children

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Dyslexia is a unique disability that causes many children difficulty during their educational process. It is a hindrance in the developmental stage of children. Dyslexia can be found in children from multiple types of backgrounds. However, it is not limited in its state as a child’s disability, for it stays with a person through adulthood also. Several questions need to be answered many say. Firstly, what exactly is dyslexia? Somewhere between five and seventeen percent of the American population is believed to have dyslexia. An explanation for the inconsistency in the percentage is due to the fact that there is uncertainty among professionals about the definition of dyslexia (Ulrich 4). Throughout the years, dyslexia has been given many different characteristics. The most popular definition is that the disability causes people to see letters and numbers backwards. However, this is usually not the case according to assistant professor of human development Elise Temple (Ulrich 6). “Dyslexia” comes from the Greek and literally means “difficulty with words” (Sanders and Myers 11). “Dyslexia is a condition that makes it hard for people to read, write, spell, speak, and listen. Dyslexics cannot figure out language the way most people do. Their brain has trouble making the connection between the way letters look on a page and the sounds of words. As a result, people with this condition may not be able to understand what words and sentences mean when they try to read” (Silverstein, Silverstein, and Nunn 6). Next, what are the causes of dyslexia? Researchers have been able to discover more about the disability of dyslexia through MRI and PET scans. These techniques allow scientists to follow the brain’s movement and gather new information about which areas of the brain are not in proper, functioning order. This data has revealed what was feared. The left hemisphere of the brain (the side devoted to reading and writing skills) performs differently in dyslexic’s brains (Silverstein, Silverstein, and Nunn 21). One theory states that dyslexia may be the result of slight vision damage. David J. Heeger, Ph. D., a professor at Stanford University, was involved of the creation of a small study of dyslexics done at Standford. Heeger and others found that the “level of activity in the visual cortex, the portion of the brain devoted to processing visual signals, appears to predict the speed at which dyslexics can read” (“Dyslexia and the Brain” 2). However, at the end of the experimentation Heeger stated that although the evidence was extremely persuasive about visual shortage linked with dyslexia there is just not enough information to support whether the deficiency causes dyslexia or is simply an indicator for it (“Dyslexia and the Brain” 2). Dyslexia is also connected to family history. Usually if dyslexia was found in past members of a family it is extremely likely to be passed down through the generations (Sanders and Myers 15).

Are there any visible symptoms? Not all dyslexics are the same, however. There are many different warning signs for dyslexia. Some may have an issue with reversing letters or numbers. For example, a dyslexic may see “bed” but read it as “deb.” Others may have difficulty in linking letters with sounds or separating vocabulary into syllables. Another symptom that might be shown is difficulty in remembering what was read aloud (Silverstein, Silverstein and Nunn 14). Leaving out words or adding words in a reading may be a concern for others (“Facts about Dyslexia” 4). Others, however, may have problems with mixing up directions corresponding to space or time. For instance, right and left, up and down, first and last, early and late, yesterday and tomorrow, and months and days. Because of the constant mix up of letters and symbols, dyslexics may also have a problem expressing their thoughts in a way that others understand (Silverstein, Silverstein, and Nunn 13-14).

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