6 Different types of dyslexia and how to help

Surface Dyslexia

Some individuals also experience Surface Dyslexia, which can cause them to take longer to process language when they move beyond the decoding stage. Not all words are spelled as they sound in English and sometimes we meet a word that gives us no clues as to how it is pronounced.

This can happen to all native speakers in English, which is why we memorize irregular spelling so a word can be recognized when it is next encountered. But children with Surface Dyslexia have trouble seeing the whole word. This causes comprehension difficulties and greatly increases processing time required for reading.

Visual Dyslexia

Symptoms often include trouble reading and remembering what has been seen on a page. That’s because of all types of dyslexia, Visual Dyslexia impacts on visual processing, meaning the brain doesn’t receive the full picture of what the eyes are seeing. This can have severe implications for learning to form letters and also mastering spelling, a process in which remembering the correct letter sequences in words is key.

Primary Dyslexia

The “primary” label refers to dyslexia when it is a result of a genetically inherited condition. This means if a child has a parent with dyslexia, they are more likely to have the learning difficulty themselves. Primary Dyslexia can cause difficulties processing sounds, letters and numbers, which negatively impacts on a child’s abilities in spelling, reading and math. Dyslexia not only runs in families but tends to be seen more often in males, particularly those who are left-handed.

Secondary/Developmental Dyslexia

Due to infections, and sometimes poor nutrition in the womb, some babies experience brain development issues which can cause neurological impairment and result in dyslexia. Of the many types of dyslexia, Secondary or Developmental has been shown to respond best to treatment, including targeted phonics work through computer programmes.

Trauma Dyslexia also referred to as Acquired Dyslexia

When an adult or child has a brain injury from trauma or disease, they can sometimes develop difficulties with language processing, which result in dyslexia.

There are other types too. For example, Balance Theory focuses on people’s behaviour in reading to suggest several types. Perceptual Dyslexia, is when people have trouble recognizing whole words, which causes slow reading.

Linguistic Dyslexia is when they read quickly but make mistakes and Mixed reflects both conditions. Individuals may also present Auditory, Spatial or even Math Dyslexia.

Teaching solutions for dyslexia

Teachers can help dyslexic students in the classroom by being aware of learning difficulties and providing extra time for students to process and learn new material. For example, children can benefit greatly by specifically learning how to read sight words.

These are service words and prepositions that are commonly found in classroom reading materials. Nonetheless, they can be difficult words for dyslexic children to remember as they are less amenable to mnemonic devices. Teaching sight words through extensive repetition via a computer spelling programme is often the best solution.

Allowing students to type assignments when possible is another good strategy. It can help reduce the time a dyslexic child needs to complete assignments by removing the mechanics of writing from the task, and giving them access to Spell Checkers.

You may also try to teach specific strategies for spelling. Above all, provide plenty of praise. Developing literacy skills is a challenge and your students will need the encouragement. Learn more about teaching students with dyslexia.

Learning solutions for dyslexia

Approaches may vary depending on the symptoms, but most dyslexics respond well to technology that breaks learning down into bite-size units. It allows them to proceed through a course at their own pace, learning one step at a time and repeating modules until they are ready to move on.

This type of overlearning is very helpful and can also benefit children with attention deficit disorder/ attention hyperactive disorder and other specific learning difficulties.

Touch-type Read and Spell

Touch-type Read and Spell was developed to help children and adults with dyslexia learn to type in a multi-sensory way that strengthens their reading and spelling skills at the same time as it improves self-esteem. The course aims to help learners feel and be successful while making computers more accessible.

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