Assessing and Treating Dyslexia

Dyslexia is predominately a reading disorder. The main symptoms include the inability to read properly, spell correctly and at times even write efficiently. Generally, dyslexia is considered a language-based impairment, and it is the most common learning disability. People who have dyslexia experience difficulties processing read material. They tend to read slower than others, often skipping words, even complete sentences. They tend to skim rather than read material thoroughly. They may have problems sounding out words, and their speech might at times sound confused or unclear.

Dyslexia is inherited. Most times it can be seen in one of the parents, other times in relatives. It is believed that 5 to 10 percent of the population in North America is suffering from this learning disability.

Dyslexia does not mean that the person is not intelligent or lazy. Only that he or she learns differently. Albert Einstein, as an example, was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was younger.

Children with dyslexia may show excess frustration associated with their deficiencies. They may also exhibit poor self-confidence and self-esteem and low motivation to succeed. Often times they give up quickly, when they find it difficult to perform. In more extreme cases, dyslexia can lead to depression.

A series of tests can verify the impairment. The tests mainly focus on expressive oral language as well as written language, intellectual functioning, educational success, cognitive process and receptive oral and written language. The tests are adjusted to the age of the person being tested. The diagnostic process of dyslexia is slightly different for younger children. The tests are not only confined to check for dyslexia, but can also be used to find other learning and attention-related problems such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and central auditory processing disorder. A large percentage of the dyslexic population is indeed co-experiencing symptoms of ADHD, such as the inability to sustain attention, day dreaming, losing track in conversations and problems with executive functions, such as organizing, prioritizing, decision- making and time management.

Recently, more advanced testing modalities have been developed to assess function of the frontal region of the brain using advanced EEG technology. When combined with core skills and working memory testing, it can shed more light on the specific deficiencies associated with the condition. Identifying these weak areas in the cognitive process is paramount in order to treat the condition successfully.

It’s important to recognize dyslexia at an early age. In order to help throughout the process of learning, a child can use educational tools to increase his or her reading ability. Educating yourself about this learning disorder can be very helpful in helping your child deal with the condition. An Individualized Education Programme (IEP) is often established at school to assist a child diagnosed with this learning disorder. It is important for the child’s school and teachers to know about the child’s specific deficiencies. Until recently, dyslexia has been regarded as a lifelong condition, and therefore, it was (and still is) important to observe the reading habits of the child and get additional help for the child when needed.

People with dyslexia can be quite intuitive. They are able to sense emotions of others, but they get easily distracted as well. Other difficulties associated with dyslexia include mispronouncing or misusing of words, remembering faces but not names, inability to remember and follow verbal instructions and confusing directions. Individuals with dyslexia may experience short-term memory when it comes to facts and events. They may have difficulty in following procedures and routines. They usually need to write down notes in order to remember information.

While learning how to deal with dyslexia is important, correcting deeper neurological structures in the frontal cortex may hold the key for a significant improvement in cognitive function.

Neuro-cognitive therapy and training have shown excellent results in the treatment of dyslexia, with marked improvement on all levels of cognitive performance. Improving brain regulation combined with developing core cognitive skills such as visual processing, auditory processing, divided attention, multitasking, and working memory, can contribute to considerable and permanent gains on all aspects of cognitive function, and significantly reduce symptoms.

The ACEclinics in Toronto, Canada, headed by Bob Gottfried, PhD is a pioneer in this field. The clinic specializes in assessment and treatment of, learning disabilities (LD), such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, CAPD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), non-specific neuro-cognitive deficiencies and memory disorders.

More information can be obtained on their website:

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