Even though it is quite common – the features of Dyslexia vary widely from person to person.
Why? Every brain is different. No two brains are exactly alike and there are a number of different cognitive functions that are essential for the reading process to develop smoothly.
Each individual labelled with having dyslexia may have a different combination of underperforming cognitive functions leading to the diagnosis – so, as educators know, no two individuals with dyslexia are identical.
Motor Symbol Sequencing
(Eye tracking in scanning text)
Brocas Speech Pronunciation
What Happens as Our Brain Read? - A Quick Look at Decoding
If any of these functions are underperforming, our reading process will be affected. If all four are significantly weak, the individual will not be able to read beyond an primary school level.
Our Symbol Recognition function must recognize the word
If it’s not recognized and recalled, our Broca’s Speech Pronunciation needs to sound out the word
Motor Symbol Sequencing must guide our eye smoothly across the letters and words
Auditory Speech Discrimination must distinguish the speech sounds heard prior to associating them with the letters in words
Arrowsmith Cognitive Questionnaire
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Arrowsmith Cognitive Assessment
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Many Reasons for Dyslexia go Beyond the Mechanics of Decoding
Dyslexia can also develop when cognitive functions responsible for processing what we read, understanding what we read, and remembering what we read aren't working as they should. If any of these functions are weak, reading is impacted:
Word Memory: essential for vocabulary development (Lexical)
Intention: following the essence of the text (Symbolic Thinking)
Comprehension: grasping the conceptual meaning of the text including reading “between the lines” (Symbol Relations)
Syntax: following the logical sequence of words and phrases (Predicative Speech)
There may be some commonality amongst dyslexic brains in terms of which cognitive functions are involved, however, differences occur between individuals with dyslexia in exactly which combination of cognitive functions, and to what degree of difficulty, they each have.
This is why some struggling readers respond to a phonics-based program, some to a sight word approach, and others to a whole language approach.
The difference in cognitive profiles also explains why, millions of people are still illiterate, living difficult lives, despite enormous effort and funding spent on reading problems. This is because the weaknesses of their unique cognitive profile have not been addressed.
The good news is - each cognitive function involved in reading can be identified and strengthened.
Studies show that participants in Arrowsmith accelerate their ability to read; and families report students are no longer identified as having Dyslexia. Individuals develop a love of books and literature, now that they can read.
The first step to overcome dyslexia is to work out which particular cognitive functions are causing it.
If you or someone you know is struggling with dyslexia or struggling to read, and you want to know why, contact us today.
"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free."
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)