What is Dyslexia?

Are you a parent or educator looking for information on dyslexia?

The Utah State Office of Education Special Education team can help answer some of your questions with help from national and international resources.

"Dyslexia" by Tiberiu Ana/CC/flickr

“Dyslexia” by Tiberiu Ana/CC/flickr

What is dyslexia?

  • Dyslexia is a broad term that is used to describe a difficulty with reading. The word is a Greek term “dys” (meaning poor) and “lexia” (meaning words). The term therefore means “difficulty with words”.
  • According to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

What does this mean?

For parents and educators:
Dyslexia is not due to intelligence or a lack of effort or desire to learn.
The impact of dyslexia for each student depends on the severity of the condition.
The most common effects are difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing.
Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds and intellectual abilities.
Many people with dyslexia are very bright and often talented in areas that do not require strong language skills. (Kansas State Department of Education)

What resources do schools use for reading instruction?
Districts and Charter Schools in Utah use current research, the recommendations from Utah’s 3 Tier Model of Reading Instruction , the National Reading Panel and Elementary and Secondary Education Act, No Child Left Behind, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (ESEA/NCLB and IDEA 2004) to teach reading and identify students who are struggling readers.

Find more detailed information on dyslexia at http://www.schools.utah.gov/sars/DOCS/spedometer/ddyslexia.aspx.

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