Dyslexia: These tips will help your child

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Dyslexia: These tips will help your child

A reading and spelling disability affects about 25 percent of all schoolchildren. The perceptual disorder often occurs in conjunction with concentration problems. Genetic correlations are suspected as the cause of a reading and spelling disability. However, this has not been scientifically proven.

With dyslexia, the meaning of words is not understood correctly. Affected people cannot distinguish between similar-sounding sounds and have difficulty dividing words into syllables. Often, dyslexia becomes noticeable during the school enrollment phase. Learning to read and write is difficult with LRS. The low memory capacity for written and spoken language indicates a reading and spelling disability.

However, these abnormalities can also indicate other impairments, such as a speech disorder or a developmental delay. Special examinations can clarify the cause. Possible triggers of a reading and spelling disability are insufficient skills in word formation, a lack of understanding of orthographic rules or inappropriate learning strategies.

A dyslexia test provides clarity as to whether a spelling disorder is present. If a reading-spelling weakness is detected, various training programs and therapy are used to improve reading-spelling skills. 

What is dyslexia?

The reading and writing disability definition is "developmental disorder of reading and writing"(LRS). Although it is common in Germany to use the terms dyslexia and dyscalculia synonymously, the two disorders are different from each other. LRS is a partial performance disorder. The affected children are of average or above-average ability. Only in the areas of reading and writing there are difficulties.

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes dyslexia as a developmental impairment of academic skills. If a reading and spelling disorder is not recognized and treated in childhood, the problem will persist into adulthood. This endangers the professional career and has an unfavorable effect on private life.

A reading and spelling disability usually becomes noticeable at school age. Abnormalities that indicate difficulty in reading and writing include:

  • Letter omissions or transpositions when writing
  • Problems with transcribing sentences and texts
  • A discordant typeface
  • Lack of reading comprehension
  • Limited phonological awareness
  • Auditory memory impairment
  • Visual differentiation weakness

A reading and spelling disorder (LRS) is only present if the weaknesses in reading and spelling do not show up:

  • Developmental delays
  • Below average intelligence
  • Longer absences from school (due to illness)
  • Mental illness
  • Brain damage

can be traced back to. In the international health-relevant classification ICD-10 of the WHO, a distinction is made between different forms of dyslexia. The classic reading and spelling disorder (F81.0) is characterized by severe limitations in the development of reading skills. There are deficits in reading comprehension, written words are not recognized, and reading aloud causes difficulties. In most cases, the reading disorder occurs together with a spelling disorder.

Isolated spelling disorder (F81.1) is recognized by performance deficits in spelling and lack of correct word spelling. A spelling disorder may occur in isolation, independent of a reading disorder. A reading deficit may also occur separately and without spelling problems. To date, however, isolated reading disorder has not yet been defined by the WHO. In individual cases, isolated reading disorders are said to have been observed in school children.

reading spelling weakness definition

How do I recognize a dyslexia?

Does your child have a dyslexia? Are you affected by this disorder yourself or do you suspect that this is what your reading and spelling problems are about?

Recognizing a reading and spelling disability is not difficult. A clear sign of difficulties in these areas is when the formation of simple word rhymes is not successful. Does your child have difficulty naming letters correctly? This is an indication that the reading and spelling ability is low.

Understanding texts is not always easy, even without a dyslexia. Complicated formulations, numerous technical terms and foreign words can make it difficult to understand a piece of writing. However, if letters or whole parts of words are omitted, mixed up, transposed or added when reading (or writing), this indicates a reading and spelling disability.

Dyslexia: typical characteristics

In the case of a reading-spelling deficit, similar-sounding sounds (for example, d and t) can hardly be distinguished. Typical characteristics of a dyslexia are misspelled words, consonant doublings (for example: mm, nn, tt) as well as stretches when reading (such as: ah, aa or eh). 

Children with dyslexia often have difficulties with capitalization and spelling. This can lead to poor grades in school, as essays and homework with many spelling mistakes are graded poorly.

Delayed language development is rarely the cause of dyslexia. You can recognize a language development delay when your child starts speaking much later than toddlers of the same age.

What are typical LRS errors?

Typical LRS errors are problems with reading. When reading aloud, individual letters or syllables, but also entire words are simply omitted without this being noticed. The correct pronunciation of certain syllables or word formations succeeds only insufficiently or not at all with a reading and spelling disability. The content of a text is not understood and is only reproduced very fragmentarily.

Classic LRS problems that often occur in writing are forgetting the correct spelling of individual or all letters. These are then presented in the wrong form or only in fragments. In the case of dyslexia, the writing is often illegible. There are numerous errors in transcribed texts.

A particular, typical symptom of dyslexia is that words that occur several times in a text are spelled differently each time. Children with reading and spelling problems usually do not pay attention to punctuation at all. In addition to spelling errors, there are many grammatical errors in the written texts of people with dyslexia.

recognize reading spelling weakness

What are the causes of dyslexia?

Dyslexia can have a variety of causes. The reasons for the occurrence of dyslexia have not yet been conclusively clarified. Genetic causes are scientifically known, since reading and spelling problems often run in families.

Developmental delays in the area of reading and writing acquisition skills are assumed to be the trigger of a reading and spelling disability. Environmental factors such as an unfavorable learning environment at home, a lack of learning support, and a lack of didactic skills on the part of teachers are also possible causal factors.

In case of suspected dyslexia, it is important to react immediately. Organic disorders such as visual difficulties (undetected nearsightedness and farsightedness), hearing and speech disorders can be ruled out as causes of dyslexia through examinations by ophthalmologists and ENT specialists.

Although the exact cause of LRS cannot always be identified, it is believed that there are common triggers for language developmental disabilities and literacy difficulties.

How do I know that my child has dyslexia?

In principle, dyslexia can affect any child. The first typical signs and symptoms of a reading and spelling disability become apparent as early as preschool age. Is your child learning the ABCs? Can he or she not pronounce individual letters correctly despite frequent practice? In kindergarten, children like to draw letters. Does your child develop illegible or unclear handwriting? These signs can (but do not have to) indicate dyslexia.

Observe your child and talk to him or her if he or she has difficulty reading and writing. Children with dyslexia read very slowly and often get stuck when reading aloud. Because individual letters are not recognized correctly, affected children cannot form complete sentences or make many mistakes.

Targeted support for reading and spelling difficulties

Are there a lot of spelling mistakes in your homework, even though you have practiced intensively? Do you sometimes write words correctly, sometimes incorrectly? Is your child able to express himself or herself well orally, but not well in writing? Conventional tutoring is of little help in cases of dyslexia. Children affected by dyslexia need targeted support.

Have you noticed one or more of the described problems in your child? A test to determine whether your child really does have dyslexia can help. These tests are performed by child and adolescent psychiatrists, in school psychological counseling centers, and in independent learning therapy institutes.

Not every child who takes a little longer to learn to read and write has a reading and spelling disability. If immediate action is taken at the first signs at preschool age, appropriate therapeutic measures can help to improve the reading and spelling disability.

What is the difference between dyslexia and dyscalculia?

The terms dyslexia and dyscalculia are usually used interchangeably. Both disorders have in common that there are difficulties in spelling and reading. Often the two terms are presented as synonymous. The main difference between dyslexia and dyscalculia is the severity of the disorder.

Dyslexia is characterized by massive problems in reading and spelling. Dyslexia can occur as a milder disorder and affect one area (either reading or writing) at a time. Dyslexia is considered to be genetic, while dyslexia can have other causes. Triggers of dyslexia may also include prolonged absences from elementary school, inappropriate teaching, or emotional stress in the family.

Dyslexia in adults & children

If no one recognizes the dyslexia in childhood, the disorder persists into adulthood. Without adequate support, affected adults have difficulties later on in their careers to hide the reading and spelling weakness. If the reading and spelling deficit leads to poor grades at school, this can have an unfavorable effect on a career.

Since a reading and spelling disability cannot be cured, the impairments in learning remain. In private life, the limited reading and spelling abilities often result in Misunderstandings, such as when composing or reading personal messages.

Therapy possible at any age

Appropriate support measures are offered for adults with dyslexia, just as they are for children affected by this disorder. Targeted therapies, which are available at any age, help alleviate reading and spelling difficulties. If your child starts training early, his or her grades will improve and he or she will achieve good school results.

Untreated dyslexia is not expected to worsen symptoms. However, affected people struggle with writing and reading problems throughout their lives. Severe reading and spelling difficulties limit career choices and can make studying impossible.

Lack of career prospects often leads to psychological distress. Depressive disorders and anxiety disorders are said to occur much more frequently in adults and children with dyslexia than in people who do not have reading and spelling problems.

How do you treat dyslexia?

An existing dyslexia is basically not curable. There are various ways to treat dyslexia. In the case of a pronounced dyslexia, therapy takes at least two to three years. Tutoring is not an efficient support for problems with reading and writing and cannot replace targeted support.

Dyslexia therapy, as well as diagnostics, is performed by child and adolescent psychiatrists and specialized psychologists. Therapeutic measures should take into account the age and Development stage of the child take into account. Extracurricular training is about improving perception, attention and concentration. 

Support measure

Affected children and adults are guided to work through errors. Therapists support the action. A support measure for dyslexia can be carried out as individual support or holistic training.

Does your child have a reading/spelling disability? With much Patience and composure, you strengthen his back. Motivate yourself if you are affected by dyslexia and did not receive any support during your childhood. Take a reading and spelling test to find out if your difficulties are really due to a reading and spelling disability.

Find out about appropriate learning therapy. Reading and spelling exercises, such as reading aloud, practicing upper and lower case letters, help to recognize and avoid mistakes. The sooner you start practice, the sooner reading and spelling performance will improve. Even if a reading and spelling disability always remains, you can still lead a normal life with it!


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