Many decades ago dyslexia was thought to be visual flipping of letters and words. While this is certainly a symptom, it is not a definition and is not always present. But, because it was some of the first thoughts on the subject it stuck.
Just about 10 years ago it was discovered that many dyslexics problems stemmed from an auditory processing problem. This discovery found that at the root there was a problem processing the auditory components of words and a difficulty with some language. Abstract words, in general, give the most difficulty because dyslexics with this problem are primarily visual thinkers. They have difficulty with abstractions. Since words and letters themselves are abstractions this makes learning reading difficult and even more difficult when the meaning of the word is abstract.
Since this discovery, many people have come to define this as the only true dyslexia. This is a mistake for a couple of reasons.
1) Phonological dyslexia is most often comorbid with other forms of dyslexia. Those forms may not stand out in an individual in which the phonological problems are more severe. This does not mean they are not present. Getting to focussed on the phonological diagnosis is counterproductive to finding a solution. In this case, a parent may work entirely on the phonological aspect and wonder why no progress is made.
2) The solution is found in strengthening all of the learning micro-skills. The brain is not something we can approach like a machine. It is far more complex than that. All the parts work together in wondrous ways. Each assisting each other. A proper solution not only strengthens the week areas but also works the strong areas. This leads to these micro-skills of the mind working cohesively. This is one of the reasons why a lot of variety is essential. This variety makes the brain work in a different way. Generalizing the learning skills.
In addition, most websites will claim this is the most common form of dyslexia. This idea is based on studies which found that most children who had dyslexic symptoms also had phonetic difficulties. A later study showed that the studies this idea were based upon were flawed. They had made errors in their selection of student groups and erroneously skewed the data. Yet this information persists on the internet. This is also in large part because most dyslexic programs are mainly phonetic based and the earlier study would imply more effectiveness for phonetic based systems. Later studies show this to be a mistake.
Without a doubt, phonological problems are common, they are just not the whole problem or the only problem, This is why working with a primarily phonics-based system will have limited results.
Those with phonological dyslexia may have difficulty in breaking up words into their smaller components, phonemes. They may guess at or mix up phonemes. They may even have difficulty breaking up compound words such as dragonfly.
They may have a difficulty in recognizing phonemes in general or may have trouble with specific phonemes. This sometimes will show up in speech. Sometimes it will only be problematic in reading. this is because speech is more natural to learn and reading is more contrived and complex. In reading, we must mentally convert the printed word into an internal auditory representation. so because of the cognitive load it may make the phonological problem more pronounced. Readers with a phonological problem can often read but it is very slow and cumbersome. This is because they are working harder to decode each word.
Although this is mostly phonological remember that there is also visual processing involved with this. So much of the problem may be the interplay between the visual micro-skills and the phonological.
It is very common that this type of dyslexia (and all types) often occur with other seemingly unrelated symptoms. These include problems with fine motor skills, short term memory, difficulty with balance and proprioception.
Treating Phonological Dyslexia
When treating phonological dyslexia it is important to not treat it in isolation. Working on auditory skills are highly beneficial but it is important to do this in conjunction with other developmental methods.
Build up auditory skills. this includes
Also, work on proprioception and bilateral coordination exercises. Even though these seem unrelated to reading their development is highly correlated to reading. In studies, dyslexic children have been shown to improve reading skills after doing bilateral coordination exercises more than a control group and even more than another group who practiced phonics. Building proprioception is the secret ingredient to building reading skills. This has been studied and observed by many professionals (including us) and a large amount of evidence supports it.
Multi-sensory activities are also highly beneficial. Incorporating auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning skills activate different parts of the brain and makes these different parts more available for learning. We all use different memory and learning strategies and this helps the student devise more efficient learning and reading strategies.
Don't forget confidence building strategies. A dyslexic student has almost always taken a hit to their confidence. Low confidence causes emotional issues and one cannot learn under stress.
The Learning Success System is a complete system which covers all of these strategies.
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