If you think about it, reading difficulties are something that can impact a child’s entire life. Being unable to read makes learning difficult, which means the child is not equipped to thrive in the world.
In this article, we will explore the cause of these reading and learning difficulties: dyslexia. We will take a look at the varieties of dyslexia and hone in on dysphoneidetic dyslexia, which can be the most challenging to treat.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that can affect reading, writing, and spelling. This disorder can make it hard for someone to recognize words or decode language. It is also thought of as a reading disability because it can lead to reading comprehension deficits, delaying vocabulary skills, and overall knowledge that comes as a result of reading.
Due to their learning disorder, dyslexics can struggle in a variety of areas, including:
Control of eye movements
Orientation to time
Some dyslexics will struggle in some of these areas, while others will struggle in others. There are several different ways to classify dyslexic types because there are many different variations of issues.
Classifying Types of Dyslexia
There are three common subtypes of dyslexia:
Dyseidetic Dyslexia/Visual Dyslexia/Surface Dyslexia: This learning disorder occurs when the learner has trouble decoding and/or spelling words. This is due to problems remembering or revisualizing the word, especially eidetic words (also called irregular sight words). This issue is associated with the angular gyrus of the left parietal lobe in the brain.
While the learner is good with auditory processing and understanding phonics, their main issues surround visual processing, word sequencing, whole word recognition, and memory synthesis. He or she may experience letter reversals when reading and dysgraphia, which affects writing abilities. Typically these students can read better than they can spell.
Dysphonetic Dyslexia/Auditory Dyslexia: This learner will also have trouble decoding and/or spelling words. However, the reason he or she struggles is because there is lack of phonemic awareness. This means he or she has difficulty matching up symbols with their sound. This disorder is caused by dysfunction of Wernicke’s Area in the left temporal lobe of the brain.
Unlike the visual dyslexic, the auditory dyslexic has no trouble with visual processing. Instead, he or she struggles with auditory processing and linking sounds with visual cues. Students typically learn words through memorization, and any unknown words will either be substituted or skipped as they read.
Dysphoneidetic Dyslexia/Mixed Dyslexia/Double Deficit: When the learner struggles with both of the above, he or she is said to have dysphoneidetic or mixed dyslexia. This means he or she has trouble with both visual and auditory processing due to deficits in functioning in Wernicke’s Area and angular gyrus. The dysphoneidetic dyslexic will have weak visual-motor skills.
Classification Through Syndromes
Because of dyslexics' varying abilities, research was conducted on 113 children with dyslexia. The evidence allowed researchers to break down the variations into three syndrome classifications:
Syndrome I: Language Disorder: These dyslexic learners will experience anomia, comprehension deficits, and confusion with speech and sound discrimination.
Syndrome II: Articulatory and Graphomotor Discoordination: This syndrome is characterized by gross and fine motor coordination deficits, poor speech, and a lack of graphomotor coordination.
Syndrome III: Visuospatial Perceptual Disorder: Dylexic children with this syndrome will experience poor visuospatial perception and will have trouble encoding and retrieving visual stimuli.
Outside of this classification system is another term, known as stealth dyslexia. This refers to those dyslexic learners whose problems with reading, writing, and spelling were compensated by their skills in analysis and problem-solving. These learners are able to excel in their chosen fields. However, stealth dyslexics are often mistaken to be “lazy” or “careless”. This can cause the learner a sense of learned helplessness and affect their ability to achieve success.
Categorizing dyslexia still is not perfect and the classifications may not always fit a child perfectly. That is why getting an individual diagnosis based on the child’s symptoms is the most optimal way to help them. The cognitive deficits can be laid out and examined, which allows a dedicated treatment plan to be created.
So with that in mind, let’s explore how dysphoneidetic dyslexia specifically is diagnosed.
Diagnosing Dysphoneidetic Dyslexia
To be diagnosed correctly, a student must be formally assessed. A formal assessment will allow them to benefit from the special services offered at his or her school (public schools in the U.S.). In fact, parents are legally entitled to request an evaluation of their child from their school district if a suspected learning disability is at play.
This assessment can be performed by an educational psychologist. Additionally, neurologists and other medical professionals can also provide a formal diagnosis if they have the right qualifications.
Dyslexia can be assessed through a profile showing the child’s patterns of strengths and weaknesses. It will also focus on ruling out other possible causes of the symptoms like vision or hearing impairments.
To differentiate between dysphoneidetic and other types of dyslexia, let’s look at the symptoms of this disorder in children.
Dysphoneidetic Dyslexia in Children
Dysphoneidetic dyslexia reading and spelling patterns will typically emerge during schooling, approximately Kindergarten to 3rd grade. Here are some symptoms of dyslexia that will often come up at that time:
Difficulty with word recognition
Difficulty with phonological skills
Struggling with reading comprehension even if the child decodes well
May have poor listening comprehension or oral vocabulary
Struggling with fluency due to difficulty with word reading and language comprehension
Difficulty remembering individual sounds or sound sequences
Substitutions of sounds for others
Difficulty retrieving letter sounds while analyzing a word. As the last letter of the word is recalled, the beginning of the word has been forgotten
Trouble analyzing unknown words due to lack of knowledge regarding phonetic rules, as well as trouble sequencing sounds
Guessing at unfamiliar words instead of using word-analysis skills.
Let’s look at some examples of how a child with mixed dyslexia might read some words:
“Corexs” instead of “correct”
“Vilen” instead of “violin”
“Musune” instead of “museum”
“Mitear” instead of “material”
Causes of Dysphoneidetic Dyslexia
When it comes to dyslexia, there are genetic factors that can cause the issue. If someone in the family has it, it can mean that the child is predisposed to developmental dyslexia. If a parent has it, the child has a 50% chance of having it.
However, dyslexia is not always developmental; it can be acquired. Acquired dyslexia occurs due to an event, like an illness or head injury, that has caused brain damage and impairs brain function.
The root factor causing dysphoneidetic dyslexia is deficits in the processes the brain uses to decipher words. Dyslexic brains rely more on Broca’s area in the frontal lobe. In contrast, strong readers rely on the Occipital and Temporal lobes for reading, which allows readers to recognize words quickly. However, Broca’s area is located in front of the cerebrum, which is not as effective.
Unfortunately, deficits in one area can pile up to encompass difficulty learning in general. Learning is a stratified process. The first step needs to be mastered well enough in order to take the following steps. And it is important to follow the sequence so you won’t fall. If you aren’t able to do this, it ensures you won’t be able to reach subsequent steps on the ladder.
You can’t add before you count, just like you can’t read before you master certain cognitive skills. Here are some of these following cognitive skills, among others:
Phonological awareness: This term refers to a person’s awareness and the ability to work with the sound structure of language. It is centered around listening to words and sounds. Someone with keen phonological processing skills is able to distinguish things like rhymes, syllables, and individual phonemes in syllables.
This key skill will set the child up to be able to decode, blend, and eventually read words. It begins to develop before formal schooling starts and continues to develop through third grade and later.
Verbal short-term memory: When you are able to hold words or verbal items as “active” or available in your mind for a short period of time, this develops your verbal short-term memory. Unfortunately, children with dyslexia usually have reduced verbal short-term memory. It is also reduced in adults with a history of dyslexia. There are three parts that make up short-term memory, capacity, duration, and encoding.
As you can imagine, if the child is unable to hold the information in his or her working memory for very long and it is not rehearsed, it will be lost in about 15 seconds. This presents a problem with not only reading, but learning anything in classroom lectures, and later on work training programs.
Rapid automatized naming (RAN): How fast you are able to retrieve letters, numbers, colors, or object images from your long-term memory is called rapid naming. People with dyslexia tend to score low on RAN assessments compared to normal readers. This deficiency causes poor fluency. These students will have difficulty retrieving words, although oftentimes they can describe the words.
Fortunately, RAN can be improved with high-interest tasks, topics, and games. This helps provide the child more motivation (which is necessary) for them to work on improving their RAN.
Of the three types of dyslexia we’ve listed, dysphoneidetic dyslexia is the most severe form. Unfortunately, it can also be the most difficult kind of dyslexia to treat.
These children require individualized therapy with a treatment plan suited to their needs. This could include things like:
Special education or instructional intervention: Literacy programs like these in schools allow kids specific and direct instruction in reading. He or she may also benefit from a private reading specialist.
Multisensory structured language education (MSLE): To help kids connect language to words, multisensory teaching employs the use of sight, sound, movement, and touch. This is considered the gold standard for helping kids with dyslexia learn to read. Teachers using this approach will use different senses to help the child; including sandpaper letters to learn phonics and spelling for example. He or she might learn syllables by tapping them out with their fingers.
Therapy: Therapists and specialists can help children improve phonological awareness by teaching phonics and learning decoding. Some of these specialists work in schools, private settings, or Rite-Care Centers. Professionals that specialize in these types of therapy include psychologists, reading specialists, speech-language pathologists, and specially-trained teachers. It will have the most impact if the child is able to attend weekly sessions with the therapist.
Treating co-occurring issues: Kids with dyslexia may also have ADHD, anxiety, or depression. Getting therapy and medication to help ease these issues will not directly help dyslexia, but it will help them feel more confident and comfortable while improving their dyslexia.
Support at home: Parents can help children with dyslexia by reading with them, talking to them about dyslexia, and teaching them how to learn and think differently. This will help the children better understand the problem and what it means. A patient, supportive parent will help a dyslexic child thrive while learning and sets them up for a better chance of success later in life.
Accommodations: The child can also benefit from accommodations in their classrooms to help them read and learn with less difficulty. Some of these accommodations include things like audiotapes of textbooks, peer reading groups, using a highlighter, no requirements to read aloud, alternatives to written assignments, designated note takers, or reduced written work.
Children with Dyslexia Need Quality, Individual Interventions
Sadly, dysphoneidetic dyslexia can pose lifelong challenges for a child. But with intensive intervention focused on their individual treatment from a quality facility like Rite Care, a student has the ability to excel beyond what he or she thought possible!
And you can help them excel! Here at California Scottish Rite Foundation, we bring donations From generous people like you to help build the resources necessary to change these children’s lives. Donate today!