Neuropsychology Services

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What is Dyslexia


Dyslexia has been studied for over a hundred years, however, no universally accepted definition has been formulated so far. Although no global consensus has been found, many definitions contain similar components and describe dyslexia as a learning disability or neurological disorder which includes poor reading and spelling ability and lack of ease with reading and spelling. The British Dyslexia Association  defines dyslexia as a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills. They state that it is likely to be present at birth and to be a lifelong condition, and is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed, and the automatic development of skills that may not match up to an individual’s other cognitive abilities. Although dyslexia is legally recognised as a ‘disability’, it is not a ‘disease’ nor can it be ‘cured’. Indeed, the neurological differences found in dyslexia may confer advantages for some individuals (e.g. in visual or perceptual skills), which may to some extent explain the apparent paradox that some individuals who have problems with elementary skills such as reading and writing can nevertheless be highly gifted in other areas.

The above shows that dyslexia is often defined using a deficit model. However, it appears that the deficit model of dyslexia is now steadily being replaced by a model that recognises dyslexia as a difference in cognition and learning. The original view of dyslexia was based on a categorical diagnostic system, however, more recent data from the Connecticut Longitudinal Study suggests that reading difficulties, including dyslexia, occur as part of a continuum that includes non-impaired as well as disabled readers.

It is suggested that difficulties arising from being dyslectic can be grouped into three main categories: auditory dyslexia, visual dyslexia and processing speed dyslexia. Auditory dyslexia denotes a weakness in auditory memory, visual dyslexia refers to problems with visual perception and visual memory, and processing speed dyslexia is associated with slowness in processing information. Processing speed dyslexia is usually found in combination with one or both of the other two types of dyslexia, however it also has been identified without obvious visual and auditory problems which can make it more difficult to spot.

Children with dyslexia often will show two obvious difficulties when asked to read text at their grade level. The first difficulty has to do with the “fluent word recognition”, which means that the child is not able to read as many of the words in a text by sight as average readers, will stumble on many words, guess words, or attempt to "sound out" words. The second difficulty relates to phonological processing and often shows up as decoding difficulties. Due to an underlying deficit in the sound component of language, dyslexic readers struggle to connect letters and sounds which causes difficulties with identifying unknown words. There is a growing consensus in support of the phonological theory. The theory recognizes that in order to read, a child must acquire the insight that spoken words can be pulled apart into the elemental particles of speech and that the letters in a written word represent these sounds. This phenomenon is also referred to as phonological awareness. Phonological awareness refers to the ability to perceive and manipulate the sounds that make up the words in a person’s language. Research suggests that impaired phonological awareness may be the key deficit and early marker of dyslexia.

Dyslexia has a high co-morbidity with other complex disorders. The most common co-morbid disorders are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), speech sound disorder (SSD), and specific language impairment (SLI).  These disorders have some overlap with Dyslexia but do have distinctive characteristics that separates them from each other.

Dyslexia is reported to occur slightly more often amongst males than females. The genetic and neurobiological basis of dyslexia indicates that dyslexia is not caused by socio-economic circumstances like low-income, developmental delay, speech or hearing impairments, or learning a second language. However, environmental factors can affect reading ability, particularly early reading development.

We now offer
Bal-A-Vis-X !


What is Bal-A-Vis-X?

Bal-A-Vis-X is a therapeutic programme that can be used to manage and often improve many learning challenges, including hyper-activity, ADD, ADHD, autism, dyspraxia and dyslexia. 



Adult Dyslexia Client:

"...you have been very helpful in helping me think differently about my thinking function and processing. I also have a better understanding about how I tick and have managed to lift the sense of shaming off of it. Not a small thing".

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