What is Dyslexia?
How it works
Dyslexia is categorized as a learning disability or disorder that is identified by reading challenges that include difficulties associating sounds and letters to distinguish words and pronounce them. One of the biggest misconceptions about dyslexia is that dyslexia is only associated with reading backwards or confusing letters. Though, dyslexia may cause words to be seen backwards in early ages, more commonly it causes letters and words to be interpreted and articulated inadequately in our brain. Dyslexia can range from mild to severe, and is a life-long condition that nay be managed through specialized learning techniques.
Although, dyslexia may be a learning disability it has nothing to do with a child’s intelligence and capability to overcome their learning challenges. Regions of the brain that function to comprehend written language are affected and poses phonological obstacles that delays development of reading and spelling for a person with dyslexia. In the process of reading, our brains use three main parts located in left hemisphere to make sense of the words being seen.
Words are formed by array of sounds that is recognizable to the inferior frontal gyrus and temporal parietal portion of our brain. We are able to connect those sounds with the sight of the letters using the occipital temporal portion of our brain and develop meaning in the form of words. In cases of dyslexia the inferior frontal gyrus portion of the brain that allows us to carry out speech is more active than two portions of the brain we use to read. Dyslexia can present signs and symptoms in children before school even begins.
Some signs and symptoms at preschool age include delayed speech, scarce vocabulary, difficulty saying words and remembering letters, numbers, or colors. Signs and symptoms in school aged children include reading at significantly lower rate than expected for age, difficulty comprehending what he/she hears or sees, challenges to sound out and pronounce words, etc. Signs and symptoms are evaluated carefully because everyone learns at a different pace. Based on signs and symptoms alone dyslexia cannot be diagnosed.
There are no known definite causes of dyslexia, but there may be some contributing factors to this condition. A lot of research suggest that dyslexia may be hereditary and shows that runs in families. Researchers are finding that there are genes that are linked to issues processing reading and language and may be related to dyslexia. Some other risk factors that could possibly cause increased chances of dyslexia are premature and low birth weights, differences or defects in areas of the brain that allow us to read. Environmental risk factors include abusing drugs, alcohol and smoking cigarettes during pregnancy.
A diagnosis for dyslexia is done in a series of tests and is not diagnosed solely based off a doctor. A doctor will test the child’s overall general state of health and the development of cognitive skills. A learning specialist will work with a child who shows signs of dyslexia by evaluating academic abilities and educational skills through reading, writing, spelling and memorization assessments. Other factors such as medical, behavioral, educational and social history will be considered in determining if a child is dyslexic or not as well.
Dyslexia is a lifelong condition and there is no cure or medications to help symptoms. However, extensive sessions of multisensory structured language education (MSLE). MSLE involves teaching kids with dyslexia through different senses to pin point words faster and associate sounds with letter. MSLE and other programs similar to this teach kids one on one or in small groups so kids are able to concentrate better on their individualized learning techniques. Although there are no medications to treat dyslexia, medications are often prescribed to children with dyslexia because it’s common for them to experience anxiety, depression, and symptoms of ADHD.
The prognosis for dyslexia can be dependent on how severe the case is, the age that treatments were implemented, and how effective the treatment worked. If dyslexia is treated late it may be harder for it to be managed. This can negatively affect the quality of life for a person with dyslexia in multiple ways. It can affect their ability to work in area of their own desire, ability to communicate through emails or texts, read signs on the road while driving, and detrimentally affect their concept of self-worth.
It’s imperative that dyslexia be diagnosed as soon as possible so that courses of treatment work to its full potential. With successful treatment methods that show promising signs of development, a person with dyslexia can live a life full of achievements. Using their learning techniques dyslexics can live out a functional lifestyle that involves all the abilities a person living without dyslexia are able to do. As a medical assistant, some duties that might take place when working with a dyslexic patient are taking in depth histories and advocating patient education about their condition.
A medical assistant should be very detailed in any information that they chart in every case, so it’s important to stay precise while documenting. With taking a series of full histories in patients with dyslexia a medical assistant should be aware that it’s a complex learning condition so nothing is missed. Medical assistants should also be aware while doing vision tests with dyslexics because they may not be able to pronounce letters. If a medical assistant isn’t aware of patients learning condition is could be mistaken for a vision problem and it could result in an incorrect diagnosis. A patient with dyslexia maybe able to better distinguish shapes instead of letters.