Eanes ISD

Understanding Dyslexia


Typical Readers

So what happens in Dyslexia?

Dyslexia Processing

Phonological Processing

Children with dyslexia:

  • Difficulty hearing how words are alike 
    • Rhyming, alliteration
  • Great difficulty perceiving phonemes within words -
    • Phoneme segmentation
    • Blending
    • Phoneme deletion
  • Thus, words seem like impenetrable whole units

These difficulties impair associating letters with sounds, and all combine to impair decoding.

When decoding is impaired, it is extremely difficult to add letter units (words and word parts) to orthographic memory.

visual problem

Yes, reading involves sight. But vision is only the first part of the pathway - signals are ultimately processed in the language centers of the brain.

Individuals with dyslexia DO NOT "see" words differently. They don't read words or letters backward or upside down.

It is the reason why interventions that focus solely on the visual modality are not effective:

  • Colored lenses or overlay
    Reading by the colors
    • "On balance, systematic reviews to date indicate that there is not yet a reliable evidence base on which to recommend coloured overlays or lenses for the alleviation of reading difficulty or discomfort." Review by Griffiths et al. 92016); and Suttle et al. (2018). 

  • Special "dyslexia" fonts (e.g., "Dyslexie")
    • "Dyslexie font did not lead to improved reading compared to normal "arial" font, nor was it preferred by most students." Kuster et al, (2018), Marinus et al. (2016), Wery et al. (2017).

Dyslexia Risk

Pre-School Factor and Skill Profiles

Dyslexia Risk
risk factors

Kindergarten Skill Profiles

  • Family history of reading difficulties
  • Child history of speech or language delay/difficulty
  • Child struggles with phonemic awareness skills
    • Early: Rhyming, first-sound identification and matching, syllable segmenting and blending
    • Later: Phoneme segmenting and blending, phoneme manipulation or deletion
  • Difficulties with identifying printed letters by name, and later, by sound
  • Later Kindergarten: Child struggles to read simple words

First and Second Grades Skill Profiles

  • Family history of reading difficulties
  • History of speech or language difficulties
  • History of difficulties in basic skills in preschool and kindergarten
    • Phonemic awareness
    • Alphabetic knowledge: Letter names and sound
    • Decoding basic words
  • Significant difficulties in reading words accurately - reading words and text is slow, error-filled, laborious
  • Tendency to guess at words based on pictures or meaning
  • Reading comprehension is impaired as a result of slow and inaccurate reading
  • Spelling difficulties start to emerge

Middle to Late Elementary Skill Profiles

  • Text is one of the primary ways in which students acquire new knowledge and vocabulary
  • Motivation, engagement may now be more affected
skills profile

Middle and High School Skill Profiles

  • Slow, difficult reading often the defining feature
  • Difficulties in encountering new words
  • Spelling remains challenging
  • Difficulties in comprehension primarily as a result of
    • difficulties reading text
    • accumulating deficits in background knowledge and vocabulary