What is Dyslexia?

What is Dyslexia?

  1. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 1 in 5 people struggle with a language processing difference in the brain called Dyslexia.

  2. The diagnosis of Dyslexia is as precise and scientifically informed as almost any diagnosis in medicine.

  3. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services.

  4. According to NIH research, 80 percent of children with a Learning Disability actually have Dyslexia. Dyslexia is by far the most common learning disability.

Literacy in the USA

  1. The literacy rates among fourth grade students in America are sobering. Sixty six percent of all U.S. fourth graders scored "below proficient"  on the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reading test, meaning that they are not reading at grade level.

  2. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can't read. That's 14 percent of the population. 21 percent of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can't read.

  3. The current literacy rate isn't any better than it was 10 years ago. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (completed most recently in 2003, and before that, in 1992), 14 percent of adult Americans demonstrated a "below basic" literacy level in 2003, and 29 percent exhibited a "basic" reading level.

  4. We probably don't need to spell out the benefits of reading and writing for you. Economic security, access to health care, and the ability to actively participate in civic life all depend on an individual's ability to read.

  5. According to the Department of Justice, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure." The stats back up this claim: 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, and over 70 percent of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level, with 60% of the prison population being people of color.

Why Dyslexia Matters to Literacy

  1. Dyslexia is the leading cause of reading failure and school drop outs in the US (NIH)

  2. Schools are not centers for diagnosis.   They test for a deficit not a specific learning disability or Dyslexia

  3. Only the most severely dyslexic children (1 in 10) meet the criteria for a Learning Disability to receive special education services and when they do qualify, the instruction they receive does not meet their specific need.

  4. Dyslexic children who do NOT qualify just “fall through the cracks.”  They’re in the regular classroom, struggling far more than they should to achieve grade appropriate fluency, decoding and comprehension reading skills.

More Facts

  1. Dyslexia is identifiable with 92% accuracy at the age of 5 1/2.

  2. According to the NIH, of the children who display reading problems in first grade, 74% will be poor readers in 9th grade if they do not receive direct explicit instruction in phonemic awareness.

  3. Children with reading problems can overcome their difficulties only if they are identified early and provided with systematic, explicit and intensive instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension strategies.  (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)

  4. Early identification, coupled with comprehensive early reading intervention can reduce the percentage of children reading below basic level in fourth grade from the current national average of 38% to less than 6%.