Understanding Adult Dyslexia - Anthony's Library and Resources

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Thursday, 2 November 2017

Understanding Adult Dyslexia

Dyslexia has been described as a difficulty in processing information which may be linked to deficiencies in short-term memory and visual coordination. It is an inherent weakness in short-term memory that is either auditory or visual, which can make it extremely difficult for that person to learn and understand the relation between symbols and spoken sounds.  This difficulty allows the person to be unable to correctly speak the correct flow of auditory sounds needed to make a word or sentence sound proper.

The range and severity of the problem of adult dyslexia varies widely between dyslexic people. The main areas of difficulty that occur most often are reading, writing, spelling, numeric, personal organization and time-keeping. However, the degree to which individuals may be affected ranges from mild spelling difficulties to severe organizational problems or complete illiteracy. In all reality there really is no such thing as a typical case of dyslexia.

In some cases people with dyslexia are unaware that they suffer from such a problem whereas others haven't had a confirmed diagnosis until adulthood. Adult dyslexia is difficult to recognize and identify as it's a problem that many people either don't realize they have or they try to hide it. Simple tasks that a person with dyslexia may try to perform may become increasingly more difficult, such as taking down a message, which can lead to frustration and anxiety.

What Causes Adult Dyslexia?
Most research has concentrated on seeking to explain the cause of dyslexia, however this has proved to be somewhat unfruitful. Neurological research suggests that there may be some abnormality in the function of the left side of the brain which controls the speech system, whereas cognitive research in recent years has increasingly focused on problems of phonological awareness (the awareness of the speech sounds within words) and there has been speculation that these problems may be associated with a specific area of the brain.

One thing is conclusive however; it's that the cause of dyslexia does centre on an abnormality in the brain that prevents a person from correctly recognizing the right speech pattern. Many people that aren't dyslexic can also have moments where they switch sounds out of their correct pattern which suggests to researches that perhaps it's something that can be corrected in everyone.

Whatever the cause may be, there is absolutely no doubt that dyslexia leads to many literacy problems within individuals and an insensitivity to sounds within a word, which in time will lead to problems with reading and reading comprehension. We also know that the causes of dyslexia can greatly vary from person to person which can make treatment a bit more difficult.

Estimates of the inclusion of dyslexia vary immensely – from 4-10% of the population. It is believed to be four times more prevalent in males than females.  Statistics in this area have been difficult to gather with great accuracy due to people not willing to admit to having a dyslexic problem.

Symptoms of Adult Dyslexia
Dyslexia can present itself in many, many ways and it's more than likely that all the following symptoms will not present themselves within one individual.  However use this to see what ones may apply.
 §  A difference between academic achievement and real-life       performance in practical problem-solving and verbal skills.
 §  Taking an inordinate amount of time to reading a book.
 §  Missing endings of words in reading and spelling.
 §  Poor presentation of written work, such as poor spelling.
 §  Not being able to think what to write.
 §  Reluctance to write things down, such as messages.
 §  Confusing telephone messages.
 §  Difficulty with note-taking.
 §  Difficulty in following what others are saying.
 §  Difficulty with sequences or verbal patterns.
 §  Reversing figures or letters or leaving words out.
 §  Problems with time management.
 §  Trouble with remembering tables.
 §  Difficulty with mental math.

Again all of these symptoms will not present themselves typically within one individual. However after looking over these symptoms and if you saw that a number of them applied to you then please think about speaking with your doctor on getting a possible diagnosis.

Strengths of Dyslexic People
Despite difficulties, many dyslexic people have risen to prominence in their specialized fields. Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci were probably dyslexic based on reports and the information we have available to us.

Dyslexic people are often gifted in visually-based skills such as art, sculpture, design, architecture and engineering. Typically we see people that have diminished verbal or language skills or ability have a higher plain of logic and reasoning. They are often creative, original, lateral thinkers that can succeed at very high levels. Often they may offer their own, unusual way to solving a problem. Because having dyslexia may motivate them to succeed they often have a high degree of determination that can help them out in many other aspects of their life or career.

With all of the negative attention that surrounds dyslexia there are numerous people that have overcome the challenge and risen to prominent positions in their respective fields. There is no reason in the world why you should be any different.  All it takes is a desire and will to want to succeed and the effort and patience needed in order to get it done.

Testing for Dyslexia
Whether at work or in the college, the best way to determine whether you are dyslexic or not is to obtain a formal assessment or test from your doctor.  Here are a few reasons to get tested and the advantages of an assessment:

§  It may reveal difficulties which can be overcome with the proper training or strategy outlined

§  It may help to clarify the reasons behind such difficulties with written work so that appropriate strategies can be developed for your personal use

§ It puts any difficulties into perspective and can also identify areas of strength that you may have

§  It can help admissions tutors or potential employers to judge a person’s suitability for a particular course or job

§  It can help to secure additional grants to pay for extra training or for equipment (e.g. computers) which might be needed

§  It may reveal that extra time would be appropriate for some examinations in order to compensate for being dyslexic

Tips to Help with Adult Dyslexia
The following are a number of helpful tips and tricks for you to try in order to cope with and hopefully beat out dyslexia:

1.   Instead of visualizing words, try to make them more concrete in order to stand out.
One of the more effective words for those that have difficulty with particular words is to make the process of understanding the word and its sounds less visual and more concrete. Sometimes even just writing them on paper doesn’t even work.  In those cases get creative.  Write it down on a chalk board or use color forms (giant foam letters). This can be effective in allowing your mind to wrap itself around the word in a more contextualized way.

2.   Build your confidence in any way that you see fit.
This is another easy and effective way to help you overcome dyslexia.  Many times frustrations and stress can compound the situation.  When you feel that way start to focus on some of the things that you’re great at and you excel in on a daily basis.  Sometimes even the smallest boost of confidence can do wonders.

3.   Read out loud whenever you can.
Sometimes the situation doesn’t warrant you to be able to read aloud but whenever you get the chance to, go for it. Areas of the brain tend to remember this type of action.

4.   Make a mental picture as much as you can.
We talked earlier about trying to visualize less and make things more concrete; now try the opposite approach if the concrete way isn’t working for you. Dyslexia really has no common cases and difficulties vary from person to person. With some, it actually does help to visualize a word as you saw it spelled correctly.

v Start trying to learn in a logical way the phonetics and rules of spelling and grammar

v Set up extra time to complete work or exams whenever possible to ensure that stress won’t set in from not having enough time

v Repeat instructions or directions to yourself as much as you can as soon as you are given them, this will help you to remember them accurately

v Do whatever you can to block out unneeded noise, this can disrupt proper thought and concentration

v If you’re a college student then sit in the front of the class so that others around you aren’t distracting

v Use a computer as often as you can, this allows for greater ease at seeing any mistakes you may make and less second guessing on your part

With a little amendment in learning strategies, even a person affected with dyslexia can improve his or her reading and writing skills. It is very important for us to understand that every human being is different. Different brains are wired differently. You cannot expect everyone to be an expert in only one field. Some students are good at Mathematics while there are others who are good at literature or other subjects.

Even if a person is affected with dyslexia, it can mean that they will be weak learners in just one aspect - reading or writing. From no angle would it mean that they are dumb and worthless. They may be good and highly talented in some other fields that do not involve reading and writing, such as painting etc.

The amendment in learning strategies must be made on the basis of the unique talent that the person possesses. Thus, the first task is to study the person and identify his or her considerable strengths.

Feelings of rejection are normal with dyslexia. In general, a person with dyslexia does not get a good response from their surroundings. People at school, in their neighborhood, and even immediate family, often start to taunt them or ridicule them, considering them to be dumb and stupid. Such behaviour can have a severe impact on his or her self-confidence, causing feelings of isolation and rejection.

Therefore, once the problem is identified, through a dyslexia test, proper actions must be taken showing that they have the talent to achieve success. It can be difficult to win self-confidence back but that is why this is the stage that must be won before coping is possible.

One way to improve the reading and writing skills of someone who has dyslexia, is by focusing on building the phonetic decoding skills. Since dyslexia causes slower reading, teaching to break words into their basic sounds and then rearrange these sounds to produce different words is very beneficial. Such training will gradually help an adult with dyslexia learn to read more accurately and at a higher speed.

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