Individuals with a learning disability have difficulties in reading, decoding or recognizing words (e.g., letter/sound omissions, distinctions, substitutions, reversals) or comprehending them (e.g., recalling or knowing basic facts, main ideas, sequences, or themes). They also may lose their places while reading or reading in an uneven pace.
Another term used for reading disabilities is dyslexia. During early childhood, children with dyslexia have difficulties learning spoken language. Later they have trouble decoding and spelling words and, consequently, are likely to experience comprehension problems also. A reading disability affects every aspect of an individual's life, from the early years of school when children learn to read, to later years when children are expected to read in order to learn specific content, and into the community, home, and workplace where every person needs to acquire and understand written information.
Characteristics of the dyslexic reader:
From the large number of studies it was found that the child with reading disorder will have the following characteristics
- The dyslexic reader is more often a boy than girl. Males outnumber females approximately 4:1.
- The dyslexic reader has average or above average intelligence.
- Severe disabled readers have comprehension difficulties.
- The dyslexic reader tends to be spatially disoriented, with pronounced left right confusion.
- There may be figure ground discrimination and motor and visual-motor patterning.
- Speech disorders such as stuttering, lisping, are quite common among dyslexic reader
- There is a tendency to be hyperactive, impulsive and distracted
- The dyslexic reader functions one grade below expectancy in the primary classes and two or more grade levels below in later years
Types of Reading Problems
- Visual Dyslexia: Children having visual dyslexia feel difficulty in translating written letters into sounds. They are confused by letters with similar configuration [e.g.: h-n, I-j, v-w, n-m] and feel difficulty to differentiate between the words [e.g.: bad - bed, fan - fun]
- Auditory Dyslexia: On the other hand children having auditory dyslexia feel difficulty in grasping the meaning of sound. One of the most noteworthy characteristics of these children is auditory discrimination problem. They cannot distinguish between m & n, p & d, man & mat, car & can, beg & bag, tank & sank etc. Some children experience difficulties with certain sounds [e.g.'b', 't',’s’, sh', 'c'] while other children have problems with only initial or final consonant sounds.
- Sound Blending: Sound blending is the ability to synthesize sounds into a complete word. Children with this difficulty are unable, to blend m-a-t into word mat. The three phonemes of this word remain as separate sounds.
- Memory Skills: Children with memory disturbances feel difficulty in recalling information. Mostly it is associated with various visual or auditory processes. Auditory memory problems may affect a child's ability to remember letter sounds and also the ability to blend this sound into a word. On the other hand, a child with visual memory deficits may be unable to recognize specific letter or word. Sequential memory deficits must also be discussed as a component of the memory process. Many children have difficulty to remember the order of letters in word, the sequence of sound within a word and the sequence of words within sentence.
- Letter and Word Reversals: A widely discussed problem of children with reading disabilities is the tendency to read some letters and words backwards, rotated or inverted. Single letters such as b, d, p, q, n, u, m, and w are often read upside down and backwards. LD children are also observed reversing whole words [saw for was], parts of words [tow for two] and initial letters [big for dig].
- Critical Reading Skills: Critical reading is a type of comprehension which involves critical and value judgments based on the attitudes and experiences of the reader. Critical reading includes judging accuracy, drawing conclusions, evaluating the author's intention, etc.