About 4 percent of all students in Germany are from one Dyslexia affected, with a ratio of 3: 2 significantly more boys than girls. How is the Reading and spelling weakness Are defined? What are the underlying causes and what measures can be used to treat dyslexia?
What is dyslexia?A reading and spelling weakness should only be spoken of if it has really been "diagnosed" by a recognized institute or a specialist. LRS is not always the case when learning difficulties are identified.
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At a Dyslexia, also Reading and spelling weakness or LRS called, it is a partial performance disorder. The reading and spelling performance is well below the level that would be expected based on intelligence, age and schooling.
Symptoms of reading disorders are deficits in reading speed, reading accuracy and reading comprehension: letters are left out, added or twisted, reading speed is very slow and what is read cannot be reproduced.
The spelling disorder manifests itself, among other things, in the form of twisting of the letters. The b is often written as d, the p as q or the u as n. Likewise, omitting or rearranging letters or inserting incorrect letters is common.
The inconsistency of errors is typical of dyslexia: there is no systematic approach to errors, rather the same word is spelled incorrectly in different ways.
As the cause of Dyslexia In particular, insufficient phonological awareness is to be seen. This refers to the ability to recognize syllables or to break down a word into its phonetic components.
For example, children with dyslexia often find it difficult to break down a word into its syllables or to hear which sound a word begins with.
Deficits in visual or auditory information processing are assumed to be another cause of dyslexia. About 60% of all children who suffer from dyslexia have problems controlling their gaze reliably and voluntarily.
The genetic predisposition is also to be named as the cause: the familial accumulation of dyslexia has been proven in various studies. If a child has dyslexia, 52 to 62% of their siblings are also affected.
Symptoms, Complaint & Signs
A reading and spelling weakness should only be spoken of if it has really been "diagnosed" by a recognized institute or a specialist. LRS is not always the case when learning difficulties are identified. External conditions should be considered that may cause problems with writing and reading.
If the diagnosis is made, the school should definitely be informed as the child needs more time to read and write. Has the child been read a lot, does he have a positive relation to books himself, is the child supported with homework and does he have the necessary calm when doing it? Frequent teacher changes and a poor class situation can also have an impact on learning difficulties.
Children with LRS must be helped with calm and patience. Often these children develop donkey bridges and strategies to help themselves. If there is no possibility of support at school or at home, the involvement of experts is advisable. It is important to see here that the person builds a positive relationship with the child and that a basis of trust can be created.
The child's self-confidence is restored, strengths are praised. Support on this basis, if possible with the same person over a longer period of time, leads to success. The child learns to deal with LRS, there are no restrictions in choosing a career - there are also academics with LRS.
Diagnosis & course
Is there a suspicion Dyslexia, an ENT doctor and an ophthalmologist should first be consulted in order to rule out impairment of hearing and sight.
In order to be able to diagnose dyslexia, an intelligence test and a reading-spelling test are carried out. If there is a clear discrepancy between the intelligence quotient and reading-spelling performance, dyslexia is present. The value determined in the reading and spelling test must be at least 1.2 standard deviations below the intelligence test value.
The level of reading and spelling development remains very stable if left untreated. Often with dyslexia, side effects such as signs of school anxiety, discipline difficulties or depressive moods occur over time.
The comparatively poor performance in reading and writing often affects children with dyslexia. Some of them develop school fear or other anxiety disorder as a complication. The fears can relate to school or certain subjects or can be generalized.
Without targeted support programs, efforts to improve reading and writing are often in vain. It is also possible that the children may make progress but progress much more slowly than their classmates. This can lead to frustration. A further complication is depression, which can range from a depressed mood to clinical depression.
Conversely, disorders of social behavior are also possible. In addition, dyslexia can be associated with developmental disorders or with an adjustment disorder. Some children with dyslexia somatize their mental health problems. They then often suffer from stomach aches and headaches, appear nervous and unfocused or complain of nausea.
This does not have to be simulated in order to avoid school, but can actually be present. A critical distinction between avoidance behavior and somatization is therefore important. Even with targeted support, dyslexics can have the feeling of being marginalized.
Some suffer from needing additional instruction, tutoring, or therapy. These children often have trouble fully understanding and accepting the diagnosis of dyslexia. Child-friendly education and an accepting, understanding relationship with the child can therefore be an advantage.
When should you go to the doctor?
Children or adults who can barely read or write should take a test to measure their performance. If, despite all efforts, parents notice significant differences in performance in their child compared to their peers, they should talk to the pediatrician.
A doctor should be consulted if the child behaves abnormally, appears whiny or has withdrawn. If the person concerned shows aggressive behavior or if he is prone to lies and untruths, a doctor should be consulted. If you suffer from a lack of self-confidence, loss of social contacts or a depressed mood, a doctor should be consulted.
If a school-age child has learning difficulties in other areas or if the child refuses to learn, a doctor or therapist should be asked for help and support. If the child skips class, clarifying discussions are also necessary. If the person concerned develops self-made donkey bridges, which contribute to an increase in the error rate, corrections are necessary in good time.
To avoid frustration or aggravation of the problem, a doctor or therapist can be consulted. If reading or writing takes a long time, this should be discussed with a doctor. If there are an unusually high number of errors in reading or writing, it is also advisable to carry out a test to determine the cause.
Treatment & Therapy
Depending on the severity of the Dyslexia Individual therapy or support in small groups in a dyslexia institute can be useful. The therapy is characterized by working towards the "zero error limit", that is, going from easy to difficult, so that the child can experience success.
Building up knowledge of the rules is just as much a part of dyslexia therapy as reading individual letters together. The training programs for dyslexia have proven empirical to include the Marburg spelling training or the Kiel reading structure. Psychotherapy may be indicated if psychological symptoms occur as accompanying disorders.
After a specialist diagnosis of dyslexia, disadvantages can be compensated in the school area. This stipulates that in the case of a child affected by dyslexia, spelling errors are not included in the grade evaluation and that a time allowance is granted for rehearsals.
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Outlook & forecast
It is difficult to make a general forecast. Basically, however, it can be said that the chances of recovery increase significantly if treatment begins before the school learns to write. The road to recovery is difficult. Affected children have to be prepared for setbacks. Fear of school and depressive moods can determine everyday life. Girls often show more stamina during treatment. A stable environment that offers support proves beneficial in practice.
In many of those affected, the dyslexia persists in places even after numerous therapeutic sessions. The patient then has no choice but to come to terms with their situation. There are restrictions on the choice of profession. Practiced strategies nonetheless allow normal participation in professional and private life.
A reading and spelling weakness doesn't just go away. Children who have received no or inadequate therapy usually have a fragile educational background as adults. The inability to motivate themselves for educational content marks their life. That puts them on the sidelines in their professional lives. Careers don't come about like that. Employment in simple and rather poorly paid jobs is a consequence.
Phonological awareness, which has a high predictive power for the emergence of a Dyslexia can already be ascertained in preschool age through tests such as the Bielefeld screening. Children at risk, i.e. children who do poorly in comparison with their age group, can be countered with support programs.
Corresponding early detection and early support can prevent or at least mitigate later reading and spelling difficulties. In general, singing and rhyming games or counting verses also serve to promote phonological awareness. Games like “I see what you can't see and that starts with A” are fun for the children and help prevent dyslexia at the same time.
In the case of reading and spelling weaknesses, there are a number of follow-up options available to those affected, which can permanently alleviate the symptoms of the disease. However, a complete cure for this disease cannot always take place, so that in many cases those affected have to live with the reading and spelling disorder for the rest of their lives. It is not uncommon for them to rely on the help of other people and their own families in their everyday life to make it easier.
As a rule, self-healing cannot occur. Especially at a young age, the affected children need the help and support of their own families and parents. They must be given special support at school in order to minimize and alleviate the symptoms of poor reading and writing skills. Since weak reading and spelling can lead to depression or other psychological complaints, loving and intensive conversations are very important.
However, in some cases, patients need professional treatment. The life expectancy of the person affected is not restricted by the weakness in reading and writing. When assessing grades, teachers should be made aware of this weakness so that the assessment is fair. Further follow-up measures are usually not necessary for those with poor reading and writing skills.
You can do that yourself
The support of family and friends is particularly important for children with dyslexia. Parents should therefore first give their child all the important information about reading and spelling weaknesses. The more the person concerned knows about the disorder, the better and more confidently he can deal with it.
If the child feels overwhelmed, it is important to reward short-term successes and make progress through play. Board games such as Scrabble or Word Kniffel encourage spelling skills and are fun at the same time. In the best case, this also arouses the child's motivation to learn and gives room for further support. Which measures make sense in detail should always be agreed with a learning therapist and the child's teacher. In general, learning software and regular practice help. The child should also be encouraged to read, because books are often the most effective help against a reading and spelling weakness.
The therapeutic measures can be supported by time in the fresh air and a healthy diet. Both are a welcome change from the stress of learning and give body and mind new energy. If, in spite of everything, there is no progress, it is best to consult a specialist.