What is Dyslexia?

The National Institute of Health (NIH) defines Dyslexia as “a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. Individuals with dyslexia typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. Dyslexia can be inherited in some families, and recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia.”

Dyslexia is more widespread than commonly thought, affecting 5 to 20 percent of the population and representing 80– 90 percent of all those with learning disabilities.

Dyslexia is mainly a problem with reading accurately and fluently but some children with Dyslexia may have trouble with language syntax, morphology, and comprehension. Dyslexia can also coexist with other disorders and affect other skills, including:  ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), executive functioning, visual processing, reading comprehension, spelling, writing, and math.

Signs & Symptoms of Dyslexia

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Delayed speech and/or language

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Mispronounces words

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Has trouble recognizing whether two words rhyme

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Struggles with taking away the beginning sound from a word

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Struggles with learning new words

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Has trouble recognizing letters and matching them to sounds

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Has trouble taking away the middle sound from a word or blending several sounds to make a word

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Often can’t recognize common sight words

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Quickly forgets how to spell many of the words he studies

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Poor self-esteem

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Gets tripped up by word problems in math

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Spells words incorrectly and inconsistently most of the time

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Frequently has to re-read sentences and passages

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Reads at a lower academic level than how he speaks

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Avoids reading tasks

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Often skips over small words when reading aloud

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Strongly prefers multiple-choice questions over fill-in-the-blank or short answer.

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Lacks motivation for school

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Exhibits anxiety or frustration

How does Dyslexia impact my child’s life?

Dyslexia is commonly thought to be a reading disorder, but it’s social and emotional effect can be much more far reaching.  Dyslexia can negatively impact developing friendships, applying for a job, getting into college, vying for a promotion, interpreting financial statements, and on and on.  Many of our daily actions are dependent on being able to read.

Children who are Dyslexic often become frustrated and ashamed at their inability to learn to read.  Some children with Dyslexia may withdraw socially and develop depression or poor self-esteem and self doubt.

When someone you care about is struggling, as a parent it can feel very overwhelming and scary.  There is hope!  With the right combination of modifications, support, teaching, and understanding, your child can experience success!

For over 25 years, Teresa Mann, M.S. CCC-SLP, has been providing speech and language services to children in educational, hospital, and clinical settings.  Her area of clinical expertise is in the treatment of articulation disorders, voice disorders, hearing impairment, feeding/swallowing difficulties, fluency/stuttering disorder, and all language-based disorders.

She is currently practicing as a Dyslexia Specialist on the New Beginnings Pediatric Team.  Her services begin with a comprehensive evaluation to identify language disabilities, learning style differences, and the multiple components of Dyslexia.

Treatment includes use of the Orton-Gillingham reading method along with supplementary methods based on each child’s individual needs.  As a Speech-Language Pathologist, Teresa has extensive knowledge of phonological processing theory, assessment, and treatment; as well as knowledge of the language domains such as morphology, syntax, and comprehension that influence reading and writing.

Her extensive experience and training make her an effective clinician.  Her care and compassion, and willingness to go above and beyond make her an asset to our El Paso community.

For questions or for an evaluation call our Eastside Office: (915) 855-0601