What is dyslexia and what are the signs?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that impacts a person’s ability to read due to disruptions in their brain’s phonological processing. Often, signs of dyslexia appear during early childhood development as children develop stronger language skills and begin learning to read at home and/or in school. Common initial signs of dyslexia include:

  • Challenges with phonological awareness
    • Phonological awareness is a person’s ability to manipulate the sounds they hear in words–like being able to say “cat” without the “c” sound at the beginning of the word.
  • Challenges with reading, writing, and spelling
  • Challenges with processing written information
  • Confusing words that sound or are spelled similarly
  • Challenges with creating sentences involving complex ideas

Dyslexia does not impact people in the same way; its impact falls into a spectrum. Dyslexia is also not related to a person’s intelligence, it only means that their brain works in a different way and they may require additional support with reading, writing, and spelling.

What kinds of treatment are available for people with dyslexia?

Fortunately, there are effective educational methods to assist people with dyslexia to improve their reading, writing, and spelling skills. The Orton-Gillingham approach is a well known effective way to teach literacy to those whose literacy skills do not come easily, such as people with dyslexia. Working with a trained specialist may also be a helpful option to provide different techniques to improve reading and spelling. For parents of a child with dyslexia, it is beneficial to practice reading out loud with your child as much as possible. I would recommend reading with your child every day for 20 minutes.

Ultimately, remembering to be patient and supportive during the learning process is immensely important when working to improve the literacy skills of someone who has dyslexia.

Are there any helpful websites or apps to support people with dyslexia?

Yes! There are a variety of websites and apps to support people with dyslexia. A few of my favorite are:

  • Bob Books App

Bob Books is an excellent phonics-based interactive game to help young readers develop their literacy skills.

  • The Nessy Learning App

The Nessy Learning App is an award winning online program that specializes in early literacy and additional resources for people with dyslexia. The Nessy platform has a variety of education programs for reading, spelling, mathematics, writing and typing.

  • Orcam Reader

Orcam Reader is a handheld reading device that can read from any surface. It is a great option for students with dyslexia who have a high volume of reading for school.

  • Google Read and Write Software

Google Read and Write Software offers text-to-speech to hear electronic text, and speech-to-text to dictate words for writing messages and documents, along with several other features.

  • Epic

Epic is a subscription-based reading and learning platform that offers audiobooks for children ages 12 and under.

  • com

Dyslexiaconnect.com is an online tutoring service that uses the Orton-Gillingham approach to help people with dyslexia improve their literacy skills.

  • Orca Book Publishers Hi/Lo’s

Orca Book Publishers offers its Hi/Lo novels which are high interest, low reading level (hi-lo) books designed to be more accessible for people with a wider range of reading levels and abilities. What makes Orca’s Hi/Lo novels unique is that they are written in a more readable font, and have a larger trim size, providing a better reading environment for those who may struggle with focusing while reading.

  • Audible

Audible is a great website for audiobooks and podcasts! I recommend reading books while following along with the audiobook version.

I also recommend the TedTalk: What is dyslexia? – Kelli Sandman-Hurley if you are curious to learn more about dyslexia.