Dyslexia is a neurological learning disability. Basically, dyslexia is when a child or student has difficulty in learning to read, which is usually due to a deficit in phonological awareness. Phonological awareness is a key component in the ability of reading in order to decode words and word sounds. Students with dyslexia are unable to interpret between the different sound segments due to this deficit. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Students may not only struggle with the task of reading, but also spelling and writing as well. Dyslexia is a life long disability; however, the stages of the disability can change throughout the stages of one's life. According to a recent study, dyslexia affects approximately 15-20% of students who have a reading disability. Not only is dyslexia neurological in its origin, but it is also hereditary in nature. In order to be diagnosed with dyslexia, one has to be formally evaluated. Some of the important areas the evaluation will address include intellectual ability, information processing, psych-linguistic processing, and academic skills.
Some of the signs of someone who possesses this particular type of learning disability include: learning to speak; organizing written and spoken language; learning letters and their sounds; memorizing number facts; spelling; reading; learning a foreign language; and correctly doing mathematical operations.
Since there is no cure for dyslexia, teachers can make accommodations in their classrooms in order to help students with dyslexia succeed. One area that must be accommodated is the instruction of these students. Students with dyslexia should receive explicit instruction. This type of instruction directly teaches skills for reading, spelling, and writing. Another form of instruction used for dyslexia is systemic and cumulative instruction. This type has a definite, logical sequence of concept introduction. Students with dyslexia must also receive structured as well as multisensory instruction. Structural instruction provides a step-by-step procedure for introducing, reviewing, and practicing concepts. The use of multisensory instruction allows for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic channels simultaneously or in rapid succession.
Students with dyslexia not only suffer in their academic performance, but they experience a wide range of emotions including anxiety, anger, negative self image, depression, and family problems. Students with dyslexia can also be provided with accommodations involving materials. Some of the material accommodations may include using a tape recorder, clarifying or simplifying written instructions, presenting a small amount of work, blocking out extraneous stimuli, highlighting essential information, locating a place in consumable material, providing additional practice activities, providing a glossary in content areas, and developing reading guides