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The Different Types of Dyslexia: Targeting Intervention

Although reading disorders were recognized back in the late 1800s, the term dyslexia didn’t become a recognized condition until the 1970’s-1980’s.  Since then, it has received an
enormous amount of research and professional based attention.  However, many educators and clinicians
are still mystified about how to best pinpoint the specific needs of each student
with dyslexia.  
The primary
underlying cause of this confusion is the fact that there are many cognitive
weaknesses or deficits that can trigger a diagnosis of dyslexia.  So much like a dart board, if service
providers continue to aim interventions at the wrong place, they may play a
frustrating game and they will certainly never hit the bull’s-eye.  As a result professionals have begun to
propose subtypes that categorize dyslexics based on common symptoms, so individuals with dyslexia can be understood and service providers can target
the needed areas of attention. 
What are the different types of
dyslexia?
The three most commonly defined subtypes of dyslexia are Dyseidetic Dyslexia
or Visual Dyslexia, Dysphonetic Dyslexia or Auditory Dyslexia and Dysphoneidetic or
Alexic Dyslexia. 
1) Dyseidetic
Dyslexia or Visual Dyslexia: 
is when a learner struggles with the
decoding and or spelling of words because he or she has great difficulty remembering
or revisualizing the word, particularly irregular sightwords (also known as
eidetic words).  These learners tend to have good auditory processing
skills as well as an understanding of phonics, but they struggle with visual processing, memory
synthesis and sequencing of words.  Word or letter reversals when reading, as well as writing and spelling difficulties are also common.
2) Dysphonetic
Dyslexia or Auditory Dyslexia: 
is when a learner struggles with the
decoding and or spelling of words because he or she has great difficulty
associating sounds with symbols (also known as phonemic awareness).  These learners tend to have good visual processing skills, but they
have deficits in auditory processing as well as linking a sound to a
visual cue.
3) Dysphoneidetic or Alexic Dyslexia: is when a
learner struggles with both visual and auditory processing deficits.  This subcategory is known as Mixed
Dyslexia or Dysphoneidetic Dyslexia 
What about the Other
Cognitive Struggles that Are Often Associated with Dyslexia?
Although the above designations are somewhat helpful, they do not
address all the areas that can be associated with dyslexia such as difficulties with handwriting, oral language, math, motor planning and
coordination, organization, orientation to time, focus and attention, spatial
perception, and eye movement control. As a result, Mattis French and Rapin proposed
a different breakdown based on a study they conducted of 113 children with
dyslexia. They proposed three very different classifications:
1) Syndrome I: Language Disorder 
These learners experience anomia, comprehension                deficits, and confusion with speech and sound discrimination.
2)  Syndrome II: Articulatory and Graphomotor Dyscoordination – These learners exhibit gross and
fine motor coordination deficits, as well as poor speech and graphomotor
coordination.
3) Syndrome III:
Visuospatial Perceptual Disorder 
– These learners have poor
visuospatial perception and difficulties encoding and retrieving visual stimuli.
But What About Those That Learn to Compensate for Their
Dyslexia?
Although dyslexia presents
significant challenges, many learn to compensate and become successful and
celebrated professionals.  Dr.
Fernette and Brock Eide coined yet another term, Stealth Dyslexia, to describe gifted dyslexics who learned to
compensate for reading difficulties with great analytical and problem-solving strengths.  However, these learners still experience significant difficulties with writing and spelling.  Because they are so smart, the difficulties these individuals experience are often characterized with inappropriate labels such as careless or lazy.  As a result,  many with stealth dyslexia can feel a sense of learned helplessness.

So, although these new ways of
breaking dyslexia down into subcategories is helpful, clearly they still need
to be refined.  I am dyslexic
myself and feel that none of the subcategories or designations captures my
profile.  Perhaps the solution lies
in allowing each individual diagnosis to list the specific areas of cognitive
deficits that impact learning so individual students can receive tailored interventions.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

If you are looking for multisensory and mindful materials for dyslexia remediation, come check us out at www.dyslexiamaterials.com 

Cheers, Erica
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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Quick Individualized Solutions for Struggling and Dyslexic Readers

There is no single reading program or method that will address all the needs of struggling readers, because each learner has his or her own unique strengths
and weaknesses.  In fact, there are
many cognitive processing weaknesses that can effect young learners and if you
want quick and optimal results, it’s important to pursue a comprehensive
evaluation.  A good assessment will
help uncover the areas of difficulty.  Then educational professionals, such
as an experienced reading specialist or educational therapist can focus on
strengthening those specific areas of cognition. 
What Are Some of The
Cognitive Processing Areas That Impact Reading?
There are many cognitive processing areas that can impact
reading.  Here are the most common:
Tracking: is the
ability of the eyes to follow the
movement of an object in motion or follow words across the page from left
to right.
Visual Synthesis
– is the ability to pull the pieces together to create a visual whole.
Visual Closure – is
the ability to identify or
recognize a symbol or object when the entire object is not visible.
Visual Discrimination  is the ability to discriminate
between visible likeness and differences in size, shape, pattern, form,
position, and color. 
Visual Reasoning – is the ability to understand and analyze visual
information. 
Visual Memory  is the ability to recall what has been seen.
Visual Sequencing   is the ability to recall the sequence
of symbols, letters or numbers that have been seen.
Attention to Visual
Details
  is the ability to attend to and recognize all the information and
fine points presented in an image.
Auditory
Discrimination 
 is the ability
to detect differences in sounds.
Auditory Memory – is the ability to remember the details
of what is heard.
Auditory Sequencing  is the ability to remember the
order of information in which it was heard.
Auditory Closure  is the ability to “fill in the gaps” and
decipher a word or message when a part is distorted or missing.
Sound Symbol
Association –
is the ability to connect a sound with a symbol or letter.
Word Retrieval  is
the ability to rapidly and precisely
express ideas into specific words.
Receptive Language  is
the ability to accurately understand language that is seen or heard.
Mental Flexibility – is
the ability to shift our thoughts
in order to respond effectively to any given situation.
Comprehensive Reading
Programs Work, But Are They The Best Solution?
No one would suggest a whole body workout, if you just had a weak
bicep.  Although a whole body
workout would help in many ways, it will be a long process and your bicep may
never receive the intensive work it needs to catch up with the rest of your
body.  Likewise, a reading program is always beneficial, but it will probably take time and it may
never strengthen the specific cognitive areas that need the most
attention. 
How Can Specific Cognitive Areas Be Strengthened? 
To strengthen specific areas of cognition, it is important
to do repeated activities that exercise those areas of the brain.  For example, if you need to improve a
student’s tracking abilities, he or she would need to do a lot of activities
that would require their eyes to follow from left to right and follow objects
in motion.  Likewise, to
improve visual discrimination, a student would need to complete a lot of
activities that would require the processing of similar images.  They would need to learn to practice and uncover likenesses
and differences. 
What Are Some
Specific Tools Professionals, Teachers and Parents Can Use?
To help make this process easier, I have designed a series of specific cognitive activities and games in a series of publications called
Reversing Reversals.  The first
publication in the Series, Reversing Reversal Primary, offers cognitive training materials for young
learners that are struggling with letters and numbers, as well as those that
are showing signs of dyslexia or other learning disabilities.  This
product includes fun activities and games that use animals which will truly please and
entice students.  Young learners will not even realize that they are working on the foundational skills that are
necessary to learn basic math and reading.  The next product is Reversing Reversals.  This integrates letters and numbers
into the activities and games. 
Finally, Reversing Reversals 2 continues to offer more activities which work with letters, numbers and even symbols.   Free samplings of the
activities are available for all three of these publications.  To learn more and try
the free samples, go to dyslexiamaterials.com.  Another
comprehensive tool that addresses many of the cognitive processing areas is Audiblox: http://www.audiblox2000.com/  For
visual processing issues, I also like the MiniLuk system, and for Visual Discrimination and reasoning, I like Visual Discrimination by Jean Edwards.  See the links below:
                 

I hope you found this helpful!  I would love to hear your thoughts!!

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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10 Easy Ways to Strengthen the Weaknesses Associated with Dyslexia

Dyslexia
is the new, hot topic in education around the globe, and it is
frequently featured in educational conferences, news articles, YouTube videos, and
even movies.  New estimates suggest
that as many as 1 in 10 children have this difficulty, making it the most common
type of learning disability.  Although dyslexia is common, many with this condition remain
undiagnosed.  Furthermore, many others who have received this diagnosis don’t
fully understand it and never receive the needed remediation.  So, how can
we help this underserved population? 
Here are some suggestions:
1. Because black text on a white
background can be visually uncomfortable for many with dyslexia,
provide them the option of using color overlays or nonprescription glasses with
color-tinted lenses.  You can make your own overlays by taking
transparent, colorful pocket folders or report covers and slicing them into
strips that can also be used as bookmarks.  You can get a selection
of tinted glasses that your students can use on sites like Amazon.com.  The most popular color seems to be yellow. 
2. Similarly, if changing the
color of the background is helpful for reading, it is likely that your learners
will also benefit from changing the background color when typing.  On a
Mac, using Word, this can be done by clicking on the Format drop down menu, and
then selecting background.  Here you can select another background
color.  Please note, this will not impact the background when printing
documents.  On a PC, this can be done by selecting the drop down menu, Page
Layout, then Page Color.
3. Play search games with letters and words that are challenging.  For example, if a
learner is having trouble discriminating between the letters “b” and “d,” give them
a magazine, newspaper or other print out and have them circle all the “bs.”  They don’t have to be able to read the text; they will just be
searching for the designated letter or word.  If you instruct a student to scan
one line at a time, you will also be strengthening his or her tracking skills.
4. Purchase a
book of jokes, or find some on the internet.  Go through each joke and
talk about what makes it funny.  Discuss double meanings, and make a list
of words that have multiple meanings.  Finally, encourage the learner to
make their own joke book.
5. If spelling
is a real problem, make a list of the student’s commonly misspelled words.  Use a
notebook and place one word on each page.  Have fun coming up with memory
strategies that will help the learner remember the correct spelling.  For
example, if a student is having difficulty with the word “together,” he or she may
notice that the word is made up of three simple words – to, get and her.  As
another example, one may notice that the word “what” has the word “hat” in
it.  The student might draw many hats in their notebook and then write down
the question, “What hat?”
6. Play fun, free internet games and videos that review basic phonics, such as Star Fall, BBCs Syllable Factory Game, Phonics Chant 2 and Magic E.
7. Make difficult letters, numbers and words with the learner out
of wet spaghetti, pebbles, raisins, pipe cleaners, a sand tray, shaving cream,
or clay.   You can also place challenging letters, numbers or words
on a ball or a balloon and play catch. 
Every time a participant catches the ball or balloon, he or she reads the first symbol or word seen.  Integrating a tactile and kinesthetic modality into lessons will make
them more enjoyable and memorable.
8. Use books on
tape or read aloud.  While listening, ask the learners to close their eyes so they can image the story in their head.  Many learners with
dyslexia never fully develop their capacity to envision or visualize a story,
because reading is so mentally overwhelming.  Helping these learners to
develop the ability to utilize their mind’s eye aids in reading
comprehension and memory.  Another option is to have the learner read
along, so they can begin to see and recognize whole words and phrases.  A great organization that offers books on tape
for struggling readers is Learning Ally. You can also purchase Franklin’s Anybook Anywhere so that books can be recorded at your convenience, yet played anytime – anywhere!
9. Have fun creating a
special reading area.  Make sure to come up with a fun name for this
place, such as “the book nook.”  Decorate it together.  You can
fill it with pillows, stuffed animals, blankets and other comforting
objects.  You can hang drapes around it, get a large bean bag, hide it
under a tall table, or build it around an indoor chair swing or hammock.  Have
books, highlighters, colored pencils and paper within reach.
10. Create a consistent
time every few days where the whole family  grabs a book and reads.  All
family members should congregate and read in a common room.  Make sure to
have munchies and other comforting objects at hand.  This is a time
to relax and enjoy the company of one another, so make this a cherished and
special time.

If you are interested in
purchasing some products that help students with dyslexia, consider downloading
a free sample of Dr. Warren’s Reversing ReversalsFollowing Directions, Making Inferences the Fun and Easy Way, or Reading Games.  These and more great publications are
available at www.dyslexiamaterials.com

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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Can Hemisphere Integration Exercises Help Students with Dyslexia?

It is common knowledge that the brain has two hemispheres and that they are bridged by a bundle of nerves that travel across the corpus callosum.  However, because this overpass exists, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is always used.  In fact, you will often hear of people claiming to be right or left brain dominant, and many people function quite well using predominantly “half a brain.”  But if we could learn to unite the power of both hemispheres and assimilate experiences for optimal learning, wouldn’t that be great? 
Image 2
Brain Gym by Dr. Paul E. Dennison and Smart Moves, by Dr. Carla Hannaford offers just these tools, as well as some scientific research to back these claims.  What they have uncovered, by uniting the fields of Applied Kinesiology, Educational Kinesiology, Developmental Optometry, Biology and Neuroscience, are movements or exercises that enhance communication across the hemispheres.   Many of these activities continually cross the midline (an imaginary line that descends down through the body from the corpus callosum) so that both hemispheres are activated, and they must communicate for proper execution (See image 2).  Other movements involve procedures that help to relax and refocus the mind and body by using acupressure or trigger points and other simple motions.  

The authors claim that the activities can help improve academics, focus, memory, mood, and even remediate learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia.  The bottom line is that many students remain physically inactive in classrooms for much of the day, and integrating simple movements between lessons, can provide the needed physical release. 
I would love to share some specific exercises, but they are protected under copyright laws. 
You can learn more by purchasing their books linked below.

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 



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