The latest researchWe know that dyslexia is a language-based learning disability with a neurological component. And, although it is a language-based disability, most dyslexics do not have problems with oral language in general.

Their difficulty lies in the phonological (sound) aspect of language: in the ability to hear the sounds in words. For example, they have difficulty performing such tasks as “say the individual sounds in cat (k-a-t)” or say “cup without the ‘kuh’ (tasks of analysis); or “what word do these sounds make -- j-u-m-p” ( tasks of synthesis). These phonemic awareness skills underlie learning to decode words and are required if one is to become a good reader and speller. The phonological component of language also includes one’s ability to rapidly access the lexicon (word), which can contribute to a difficulty reading fluently and comprehending text. Short term memory can also be affected, which contributes to comprehension and spelling problems.

This understanding of the phonological model of dyslexia is consistent with the current neurobiological research findings. Research has identified that the dyslexic activates different parts of the brain when reading as compared to the non-dyslexic reader. They demonstrate decreased activation in the back of the brain and this persists regardless of age, indicating that dyslexia is lifelong. The good news is that with intervention which teaches specific skills and compensatory strategies, dyslexics can and do learn to read, spell, and write.