Characteristics of Dyslexia: What to look for?
Students identified as having dyslexia typically experience primary difficulties in phonological awareness, including phonemic awareness and manipulation, single-word reading, reading fluency, and spelling. Consequences may include difficulties in reading comprehension and/or written expression. These difficulties in phonological awareness are unexpected for the student’s age and educational level and are not primarily the result of language difference factors. Additionally, there is often a family history of similar difficulties.
The following are the primary reading/spelling characteristics of dyslexia:
- Difficulty reading words in isolation
- Difficulty accurately decoding unfamiliar words
- Difficulty with oral reading (slow, inaccurate, or labored)
- Difficulty spelling
It is important to note that individuals demonstrate differences in degree of impairment.
The reading/spelling characteristics are most often associated with the following:
- Segmenting, blending, and manipulating sounds in words (phonemic awareness)
- Learning the names of letters and their associated sounds
- Holding information about sounds and words in memory (phonological memory)
- Rapidly recalling the names of familiar objects, colors, or letters of the alphabet (rapid naming)
Consequences of dyslexia may include the following:
- Variable difficulty with aspects of reading comprehension
- Variable difficulty with aspects of written language
- Limited vocabulary growth due to reduced reading experiences
(Fletcher, J. M., Lyon, G. R., Fuchs, L. S., & Barnes, M. A. (2007). Learning disabilities: From identification to intervention. New York, NY: The Guilford Press; L. C., Carreker, S., Davis, R., Meisel, P., Spear-Swerling, L., & Wilson, B. (2010). Knowledge and practice standards for teachers of reading. The International Dyslexia Association, Professional Standards and Practices Committee. Retrieved from www.interdys.org/ewebeditpro5/upload/KPSJul2013.pdf; Moats, L. C., & Dakin, K. E. (2008). Basic facts about dyslexia and other reading problems. Baltimore, MD: The International Dyslexia Association.)
ACCOMODATIONS & POLICY RESOURCES
MULTISENSORY TEACHING APPROACH (MTA) is an alternative language arts program specifically designed for students experiencing serious reading difficulty, including dyslexia. It is based on Orton-Gillingham philosophy and techniques, and follows the introduction sequence of Alphabetic Phonics. MTA was field tested for nine years in both public and private school settings before it was published. A four-year trend analysis study (Reynolds, V., Vickery, K., and Cochran, S., Annals of Dyslexia, 1987) looking at both reading and spelling in regular and remedial classrooms showed highly significant gains for all remedial students as well as gains for regular classroom students, some also at significant levels.
MTA is a comprehensive language arts program addressing the areas of alphabet/dictionary skills, reading, reading comprehension, cursive handwriting, and spelling. Guided discovery and multisensory techniques are utilized for introducing, reviewing, and practicing skills in the curriculum areas listed above. These techniques involve students as active participants in their own learning process. Criterion-referenced Mastery Checks are administered periodically throughout the curriculum. Mastery criteria are 90% for spelling and reading. MTA addresses all descriptors of appropriate dyslexia programs as described by the International Dyslexia Association, and those in the Texas Dyslexia Procedures. More information can be found at: https://mtspublications.com/about-mts/.