What is dyslexia?


How to recognize the disorder

It is estimated that between 5 and 15 percent of children have dyslexia. It is a disorder that causes school failure and should be diagnosed in time to treat the child. The child neuropsychologist Paloma Méndez de Miguel helps us understand the problem.

Learning disabilities are responsible for much of school failure. Of these, dyslexia is the most common. It is estimated that between 5 and 15% of children are dyslexic. Recent studies show that while it is somewhat more common in children, there is little difference from girls.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a disorder manifested by difficulty in learning to read despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence and socio-cultural opportunities. It is not a maturation problem, but a chronic disorder that persists in adult life although its manifestation changes with age. Many known figures from the field of science and culture have suffered, including scientists with Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, or artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci or Beethoven.

Dyslexia is a neuropsychological disorder that would involve the phonological system of language processing. In fact, many studies have shown that dyslexics have poor performance in phonological awareness tasks. To better understand this concept, we can define phonological awareness as the ability to consciously reflect and manipulate phonological segments of oral language such as syllables, intrasyllabic units and phonemes.

Is dyslexia inherited?

Studies show that the difficulty to read can be inherited, so that, in the case of one parent being dyslexic, the odds of having a dyslexic child over the general population increase by eight. In addition, it is estimated that the probability of recurrence among siblings is 40%.

Symptoms of a possible dyslexia

As in almost all neuropsychological difficulties, early detection helps to alleviate future difficulties. We must anticipate the manifestation of the problem and detect signs that may point to the development of dyslexia. In this way we can put means to try to correct it.
Dyslexia is associated with a number of difficulties that should lead us to consult with a specialist if we observe them in the child.

  • Delay in language acquisition. Until two years, he does not pronounce his first words. At age three he still does not combine words to form phrases.
  • Slow speech development. In this case, the child pronounces his first words at normal age, between 12 and 18 months, but the progression in lexicon and grammar is slower than usual.
  • Problems of pronunciation and / or persistence of dislalias. In the first case, the child talks in an unintelligible way in general. Dyslalia refers to difficulties in pronouncing specific speech phonemes.
  • Difficulties in learning the alphabet.
  • Problems to realize simple rhymes.
  • Difficulty in the denomination of letters.
  • Difficulty in establishing the association between letters and sounds. At the beginning of learning, it is normal for the child to get confused when reading. But if persistent over time, it can be a symptom of dyslexia.
  • Difficulty categorizing sounds.
  • Problems to learn routines such as the days of the week, the name of the colors or the lyrics of the songs.
  • Motor clumsiness (eg difficulty buttoning buttons)
  • Spatial disorientation. Up-down, front-back, inside-out …. are spatial concepts that must be consolidated before the start of the reading.
  • Difficulty in reading pseudopalabras and irregular words. Sometimes our brain goes “faster than the eye” and we read automatically. With pseudopalabras or irregular words (for example, irregular verbs) we can realize if the decoding process is done well. In dyslexia errors are frequently made, both in the reading of pseudopalabras and irregular words.
  • Difficulty in spelling words.
  • Presence of a family history of dyslexia.

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