What is dyslexia?
Answer: According to the National Institutes of Health, 15-20 percent of the population has a reading disability. Characterizing dyslexia is not simple. The term “dyslexia” is Greek in origin and literally means “difficulty with language.” The difficulties experienced by dyslexic individuals go beyond reading. They affect spelling, understanding directions, writing and often mathematics. The precise cause of dyslexia is still unknown. At present, it is understood to be caused by a combination of physiological, neurological and genetic factors. The root of the problem lies in how the brain processes information.
Can dyslexia be diagnosed?
Answer: Yes. Diagnosis is based on a group of signs and symptoms. No one person will have all of the characteristics of dyslexia, but rather a combination of several symptoms. Most experts agree that children should be screened for dyslexia as early as possible, either in the first grade or even in kindergarten. At present psychologists diagnose various types of dyslexia based on the learning area that poses the most difficulty: reading disorder, mathematics disorder, disorder of written expression, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit with hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), long- or short-term memory deficits and deficits in visual or auditory processing.
What are the symptoms of dyslexia?
• Spotty performance on tests
• Confusion with the concepts of time
• Difficulty distinguishing right and left
• Poor understanding of spatial relationships
• Difficulty following instructions
• Frequent reversals of letters and numbers
• Difficulty distinguishing speech sounds
• Frequent mild speech irregularities
• Some difficulty with fine motor skills
• Reading difficulties
• Difficulty with writing
• Inconsistent performance and quality of work
• Slowness in finishing work
• Short attention span compared to others the same age
• Poor spelling
• Difficulty concentrating
How is dyslexia treated?
Answer: There is no medical treatment for dyslexia. DePaul School regards dyslexia more as a teaching challenge rather than a learning disability. Instruction tailored specifically to the needs of these students is absolutely essential. This includes the need for specialized materials and methods and much repetition. For instance, some students require detailed analysis of the structure of the English language in order to make progress in reading and spelling. At DePaul School in Jacksonville, classes are kept small. Success is achieved by concentrated effort on the part of the student, family and school. Our goal is to equip the students with the necessary training to compete successfully with their peers.
Can dyslexics be successful in a career?
Answer: Absolutely! Many dyslexics are outstanding in their fields. Examples of successful dyslexics include Nelson Rockefeller, Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Bruce Jenner, Thomas Edison, Hans Christian Anderson, William Butler Yeats, and Charles Schwab. Many of these individuals tested in the genius range for intelligence, yet some were judged to be mentally deficient as children. Many others, although not world-famous, have been successful in business, mechanical fields, architecture, the arts and other career areas. Some have become doctors, scientists, inventors, politicians and generals. And some have become highly creative problem solvers. Most have never excelled in reading and have remained poor spellers.