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Understanding Dyslexia

It is estimated that about 3 million Canadians are living with dyslexia. Dyslexia is a common learning disorder that affects a person’s ability to read and write properly. Some of the things dyslexic individuals might struggle with are reading, writing, vocabulary, and tasks that require hand-eye coordination.

Our brains are a mighty powerhouse that is consistently performing multiple tasks simultaneously at a super hyper fast rate. However, there is one task you are doing right now that does not come naturally to the human brain, and that is reading. Reading is the ability to breakdown written symbols into spoken sounds. Unlike many other skills, reading is not a natural inborn trait, it is a skill that requires proper instruction and lots of practice. The brain is naturally programmed to produce sound in order to talk, but going backwards and making sounds out of print, is not something that comes easily. Reading is a complicated task and that's why many children struggle when learning to read.

The Two Major Components of Reading are: Decoding and Comprehension

Decoding consists of breaking down words into a spoken language. Comprehension focuses on making sense and giving meaning to the text (similar to what you are doing right now when reading this blog). While every child will learn to read at different rates, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of a "late bloomer" in reading, or watch for signs that someone may have dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a learning disability that impacts a person's reading skills, but this does not mean they cannot read. It's a specific kind of learning disability that is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, poor spelling and decoding abilities, due to neurological factors. Some dyslexic individuals may experience letter reversal, and trouble with recognizing letter/sound combinations.

Common Signs of Dyslexia in Children and Adults:

  • Slow reading or reading may appear labour intensive, especially out loud

  • Difficulties in spelling

  • Avoiding tasks that require reading

  • Trouble sounding out or pronouncing difficult words

  • Problems understanding what they just read

  • Spending long periods of time to complete a reading or writing task

  • Difficulties in recognizing rhyming sounds, or words that are similarly and differences in words and letters

While dyslexia impacts everyone differently, individuals with dyslexia can overcome the challenges in reading with the help of great support and intervention.

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