What is Dyslexia?
People with specific learning difficulties have problems with certain areas of academic performance, yet do well in other subjects and are generally intelligent. The most common type of specific darning difficulty is specific reading difficulty; and this is often called dyslexia.
Dyslexic children are usually poor at spelling and may seem intelligent in conversation but have trouble with written language. Leonardo da Vinci and Einstein are both thought to have been dyslexic.
Dyslexia can only be diagnosed with certainty by a psychologist who, in addition to other tests, will calculate a person's expected reading age from their IQ and age. The difference between this and the actual reading age as measured with a reading test, gives a measure of the reading difficulty. The term dyslexia is usually reserved for a severe degree of reading difficulty.
The psychologist would also ensure that tile poor reading was not secondary to another problem, such as inadequate schooling or low intelligence. Psychological assessments can be arranged through your school. or privately through a local Dyslexia Institute
Visual Factors in Dyslexia
Most experts agree that problems with sight are not usually a main cause of dyslexia. Certain visual problems however do occur more often in dyslexia and these may, in some cases contribute to the reading difficulty.
These visual problems would not normally be detected in a school eye test. The most common visual anomalies in dyslexia are a reduced ability to focus close to and poor or unstable co-ordination of the two eyes binocular instability). Several tests can detect binocular instability. and a modified Dunlop Test may be used as part of this assessment.
These visual problems can cause eyestrain, visual stress, or visual distortions. This may slow reading and discourage children from prolonged reading.
Not all dyslexic people have these visual problems, but some have visual anomalies without realising it. People with a mild specific learning difficulty, perhaps not bad enough to be called dyslexia, can also have these visual problems. The visual problems can usually be treated with simple eye exercises. In some cases, glasses may be prescribed.
The British Dyslexia Association is a support group which can give information on the legal situation concerning learning difficulties and legislation on education.
The British Dyslexia Association
98 London Road
Berks RGI SAU
The Dyslexia Institute has many local Institutes where psychologists can assess learning difficulties and specially trained teachers can help to overcome these problems.
The Dyslexia Institute
133 Gresham Road
Staines TW18 2AJ