Lynn Bailey, Literacy Consultant, Exceptional Children Division, Department of Public

Lynn Bailey, Literacy Consultant, Exceptional Children Division, Department of Public

Dyslexia 101
Research Definition-IDA, 2002 / Dyslexia is a specific learning ______that is______based and characterized by difficulties with decoding and ______that are the result of a deficit in the ______component of language and is often______in relation to other______abilities and effective classroom instruction, secondary consequences may include problems in______.
Word Bank: comprehension phonological
disability neurologically
encoding unexpected
Why define dyslexia? / • Clear up myths and misconceptions
• Link the public to information and resources
• Enable research on the value of educational treatments
Dyslexia Is… / • Is a language-based problem
• Exists across all levels of intelligence
• An appropriate label for 5% of students with reading problems
• Occurs at all socioeconomic levels
• Occurs slightly more often in boys than in girls
• A matter of degree of difficulty with reading and not a different type of problem
Dyslexia isn’t… / • Not a visual problem
• Not seeing words backwards or seeing shaking letters
• Not a lack of intelligence
• Not due to lack of effort
• Not a developmental lag
• Not uncommon 0 5%-17.5%
Of population
• Not responsive to standard reading instruction
Brain research / • New fMRI technology, scientists have discovered that the brains of struggling readers and the brains of strong readers work differently
• Differences DO NOT have anything to do with intelligence or a hole or defect in the structure of the brain
• Differences are in the way the brain communicates
• Skilled readers use the left side of the brain
• Struggling readers show over activation on the right side of the brain
State Policy / • North Carolina policy: we determine eligibility for Specific Learning Disabilities, based on educational need
• Students with dyslexia may or may not meet the criteria to be found eligible for special education services
• Some states disallow the use of the “d word”
• Others, such as Texas and Louisiana, have special rules, funding sources, and policies regarding the identification and treatment of dyslexia
• A common definition may help generate more consistent policies across states
Jobs of the three main components of the “reading brain” / • Phoneme Producer
• Word Analyzer
• Automatic Detector
How Prevalent Is Dyslexia? / • 15% of the population is Learning Disabled
• 75-80% of these are disabled in reading
• Males slightly more often affected
• 74% of poor 3rd graders were still impaired when tested in high school
• “Compensated” adult dyslexics still demonstrate measurable underlying problems
Characteristics of Learning Disabilities
Preschool and Kindergarten / • Late learning to talk or slow to learn new words
• Trouble producing speech sounds
• Avoids letters or confuses them
• Cannot recall sounds of letters
• Unable to break words into separate speech sounds
Grades K-1 / • Trouble learning phonics (sounds of letters)
• Low on phoneme awareness tests (taking apart speech sounds in words)
• Poor spelling
• Cannot remember “sight” words
• Poor handwriting
Grades 2-3 / • Cannot recall sight words even after practice
• Poor phonics skills
• Poor spelling
• Speech sounds omitted
• Inaccurate recall of speech sounds for letters
• Poor recall for even the commonest “little” words
• Inaccurate and slow oral reading
• Comprehension problems arising from poor word recognition
• Poor handwriting and/or written expression
• Avoidance of reading and writing
Grades 4-6 / • Slow on oral reading fluency tests
• Inaccurate reading of real & nonsense words
• Poor spelling, handwriting & written expression
• Avoidance of reading
• Weak in reading strategies
• Weak reading comprehension when compared to listening comprehension
Grades 7-8 / • Slow and laborious reading
• Overwhelmed by multiple assignments
• Cannot work fast enough to cope
• Lack of effective strategies for studying
• Needs accommodations and modifications
• Written work remains a huge problem
High School / • Reads slowly
• Comprehension and vocabulary may have declined from lack of practice
• Writes poorly and with great effort
• Needs strategy and study skills instruction
• Needs accommodations and modifications
• May need foreign language exemption if accommodations do not provide enough support
• Delivery of remedial instruction still critical
Causes of Reading Difficulties
Statistics / • 90% of poor readers have problems with word reading accuracy
• Reading difficulty is related to inherited brain differences
Phonological Processing: Three main causes for difficulty / • Phonemic Awareness
• Word Retrieval
• Working Term Memory
Creative, Concrete Instructional Responses




Lynn Bailey, Literacy Consultant, Exceptional Children Division, Department of Public Instruction

August 13, 2013