‘Dyslexia is a processing difference experienced by people of all ages, often characterised by difficulties in literacy, it can affect other cognitive areas such as memory, speed of processing, time management, co-ordination and directional aspects. There may be visual and phonological difficulties and there is usually some discrepancy in performances in different areas of learning.

It is important that the individual differences and learning styles are acknowledged since these will effect outcomes of learning and assessment. It is also important to consider the learning and work context as the nature of the difficulties associated with dyslexia may well be more pronounced in some learning situations’ (Reid 2016).

How it Affects Learning

Dyslexia is a term that is used to describe pupils who usually have a difficulty with reading, writing and/or spelling. Usually the pupil is at least average intelligence and in some case can be well above. It is useful to look at dyslexia as being a learning difference rather than a learning difficulty. This is because many learners with dyslexia are able to make significant progress academically and excel in higher education too if the opportunities are present for them to use their own particular learning preferences.

Usually they are visual and experiential learners and find learning though listening and reading lengthy texts quite demanding.

The key to progress is to ensure that learning materials are presented in a multi-sensory way that is using all modalities particularly the visual and the tactile. In this way, learners will be able to use their strengths and this is important if they are going to be able to develop independent and successful strategies.

Children with dyslexia can also have other characteristics in addition to difficulties with literacy. They may have difficulties with processing speed, short-term and long-term memory and sequencing and ordering information. They may also have difficulties with structuring and organizing written work.

Often they may not display their full abilities in written tests and if they get the opportunity to do some of it orally they usually score higher grades.

Dyslexia: some key points

  • Dyslexia can be seen within a continuum from mild to severe.
  • It is important to identify and recognise the strengths shown by children with dyslexia and to attempt to incorporate these strengths into a teaching programme.
  • The degree, and the impact of dyslexia on the child can vary according to the nature of the task and the nature of the learning context.
  • Early identification is important for effective intervention.
  • Children with dyslexia can show different characteristics and therefore their needs should be addressed on an individual basis.
  • Although the principal difficulties associated with dyslexia relate to literacy (reading, writing and spelling), children with dyslexia can also show other difficulties relating to memory, co-ordination and organisation.
  • Knowledge on how children learn, and how to make learning more effective through, for example, study skills, can be extremely beneficial for children with dyslexia.
  • It is important also to consider the curriculum, differentiation and learning styles as these can help children with dyslexia understand the task more clearly and undertake learning more effectively.
  • The impact of dyslexia can be minimised with effective teaching intervention and adaptations to tasks, through differentiation in the curriculum and accommodations in the workplace.
  • The dyslexic person may have many strengths and these strengths may be used to compensate for his/her difficulties.
  • It is important to recognise the need to boost the self-esteem of children with dyslexia as it is too easy for them to become discouraged and lose interest in learning.