Imagine the shame of 27 year old boy who is not able to write a check because he does not know how to spell the word twenty. Imagine the embarrassment of a 7 year old girl who cannot read at the same level as her peers. Imagine enduring the shock of a 17 year old student who is unable to break 1000 on her SAT score after four years of straight A’s in high school. These are some of the frustrating experiences individuals go through every day.
Fifteen to twenty percent of the United States’ population has a leaning disability. ( Fillion, 1) 85 percent of the learning disabled are dyslexics. ( BDA 1) With this immense number, an understanding of learning disabilities and dyslexia is necessary. Dyslexia is a kind of learning disability. It is the most recognized and common learning disability (LD). Dyslexia can be broken down into two parts: “Dys” meaning poor and “lexia” meaning language. Thus dyslexics have difficulties with words. (Turkington, 1)
Dyslexia is not a new disorder. It has been around since the 1886. W. Pringle Morgan was the first to see this ailment in a 14-year-old boy. This boy was of average to above average intelligence, compared to other boys, but he was unable to read. Mr. Morgan thought the difficulty was only with written words. He assumed it was a visual problem because the boy was only below average in regards to reading and writing.
Mr. Morgan thought the solution to dyslexia was to prescribe reading glasses. For many years afterward, dyslexics were turned over to ophthalmologists to help them see the printed words. ( Kantrowtitz, 1) This course of treatment did not help the dyslexics since their problem is not and was not visual. In the 1920s eye training was used to help dyslexia. Eye training was thought to be useful because of the myth that the dyslexic reverses their letters. (Shaywitz, 2)
Dyslexia does not have anything to do with a visual problem. Also it is not as simple as letter reversal. A good definition is “an unexpected difficulty learning to read despite intelligence, motivation and education.” (Shaywitz, 3) Dyslexics have problems connecting the sound ,phonemes, to the actually symbol. For example the word “cat” has three phonemes. /k/ /ae/ /t/. Dyslexics have difficulties hearing these three distinct sounds. They think of cat as one sound. To explain this, Dr Shaywitz of Yale came up with the phonological deficit hypothesis.
According to this hypothesis, the dyslexics have the deficit in the ability to decode or word identification. Before the meaning of a word can be understood. a person must first recognize the word. Thus dyslexics are stopped at the lowest level. Dyslexia then is mostly seen in reading, but can also shown in speaking.
Dyslexia in people varies greatly. No two dyslexics demonstrate their disorder in the same manner. Out of all the dyslexics, four percent are severely dyslexic. Dyslexia can affect boys and girls equally, across all socio-economic classes. Dyslexia is also found worldwide ( BDA, 1)
A phenomena has been discovered between the number of dyslexics in the languages of the world. Italy has half the number of dyslexics as English speakers. Researchers wondered why this would occur. The answer is the complexity of the languages. English has 40 phonemes that can be represented 1,120 ways using different letter combination or graphemes. ( Tressoldi, 1) For example the sound “o” can be written as the letter “o” or by “ough” as in thought. Italian has only 33 graphemes for 25 phonemes. This means “the letters almost always represent the same unique sound, which makes the written language logical and easy to read.” (Tressoldi, 2)
( Turkington, 2) These sign tend to demonstrate themselves during the school years, but there are signs in babies to pre-school aged children. One of the major signs is the child takes longer to learn how to talk. They might have trouble learning the alphabet or the colors. While the language area of the brain is slower to develop, motor control skills come easier. Dyslexics tend to learn how to walk earlier than other children. (IDA)
Since dyslexia varies to such degrees, signs also vary greatly. Some of the more common signs are “difficulty understanding sounds in words, sound order or rhymes, spelling, transposing letters in words, horrible hand writing, confusion with directions, especially between right and left, and problems with reading comprehension.” Click here to learn other common signs http://www.interdys.org/servlet/compose?section_id=5&page_id=88
Dyslexics enter the school system and quickly begin to realize they are not the same as other children. Their self-esteem usually suffers tremendously..
Ihate when my teachers say I am lazy. I wish more people would know about Dyslexia Confused, Embarrassed because what makes sense in my mind, doesn't make sense in my words I'm always crying about my dyslexia. I feel cursed all the time - I feel like God punished me. http://www.ldteens.org/FeelingBox.html
Jail by Christy Tedesco • Have you ever been inside a jail? • Most have not - but I have. • I live inside one. • My jail comes with me where ever I go. • I am sentenced, • Not for nine or ten years, • But for life. • For a crime I didn't commit or even know about.
My jail has bars, yes, and books too. Have you ever tried to put your arm through a bar And feel the coldness of it going down your back, Like a train going down a track, out of control? I try to pull my arm back But it is stuck. So I live between two worlds, living with a great fear. But the thing I am most afraid of is the guard that stands outside my cell. He doesn't hold an M-80 but something much worse; It is a red, ball point pen that replaces the gun in his holster.
When it is pointed and shot at me I do not bleed just red blood but all the colors of my soul. So how do I regain my color? I pick up a book, thinking it will calm me down. I open to the first page. But all I see is letters, Letters that make up words, Words that make up sentences, Sentences that make up the story.
I do not see the story, or the paragraphs, or the sentences. Not even the words. All I see are the letters. I live in this jail, isolated from the world Because of these letters. My jail has a name. It is dyslexia. Once again I ask you: Have you ever been inside a jail?
Most dyslexics are smart but feel dumb. Dyslexics have the higher rate of depression and suicide, and are less likely to finish high school or college. These are troubling facts because dyslexics are capable and are brilliant if encouraged to believe in themselves
Is dyslexia a disease that can be cured? Scientists have been trying to answer this question for many years. Dyslexia is not a disease and cannot be cured. It is a lifetime condition. “The belief that children with dyslexia will eventually outgrow it is simply not true,” said Dr. Sally Shaywitz. While most dyslexics do learn how to read, they remain slow readers because “the same phonological deficit responsible for initial reading difficulties remains and accounts for persistent problems.” (Fillion, 1) Dyslexia is forever.
The cause of dyslexia is still a mystery to scientists. Through the use of autopsies, gene mapping and new brain scans, many new theories are developing. One study at Dyslexia Research Laboratory found “a cluster of ‘ectopic’ neurons … in the outside of the cerebral neocortex. “ (IDA, 2) The cerebral cortex is the part of the human brain that is responsible for interpreting information sent by the senses (sight, sound, smell, taste and touch) and the motor movement that is used in walking and talking. The ‘ectopic’ are believed to be formed before the sixth month of pregnancy. These effects of these extra neurons are unknown. At the moment there is only a small correctional with dyslexia since only seven known dyslexic have been autopsied and demonstrated this condition. (IDA, 2)
The Human Genome Project has linked Chromosome 6 to dyslexia. The technology may soon exist that would enable parents to choose to eliminate this condition. Even though dyslexia creates experiences that may be frustrating, it is a gift. Dyslexics will always think differently. The ability to do this may be necessary for the world ‘s future. Albert Einstein, with all his brilliance, would not have existed without dyslexia.
Work cited Page: British Dyslexia Association. “Index of Dyslexia information” http://www.bda-dyslexia.org.uk/index.htm 16 February 2002. International Dyslexia Association. “ About Dyslexia, Just the Facts, Testing for Dyslexia, Social and Emotion Problems.” 17 February 2001. http://www.interdys.org/index.jsp. 16 February. 1 page Fillion, Mike. “Dyslexia is Forever.” WebMD Medical News. 7 January 200 http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/g2601/0004/2601000450/p1/article.jhtml?term=dyslexia 16 February2002 1 page
Work Cited British Dyslexia Association. “Index of Dyslexia information” http://www.bda-dyslexia.org.uk/index.htm 16 February 2002. International Dyslexia Association. “ About Dyslexia, Just the Facts, Testing for Dyslexia, Social and Emotion Problems.” 17 February 2001. http://www.interdys.org/index.jsp. 16 February. 1 page Fillion, Mike. “Dyslexia is Forever.” WebMD Medical News. 7 January 200 http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/g2601/0004/2601000450/p1/article.jhtml?term=dyslexia 16 February2002 1 page