Dyslexia and Reading Difficulties

Dyslexia, also known as alexia or developmental reading disorder, is characterized by difficulties learning to read and differing comprehension of language despite normal or above-average intelligence. This includes difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, language skills and verbal comprehension.

Dyslexia is the most common learning difficulty. Some see dyslexia as distinct from reading difficulties resulting from other causes, such as a non-neurological deficiency with hearing or vision, or poor reading instruction. There are three proposed cognitive subtypes of dyslexia (auditory, visual and attentional), although individual cases of dyslexia are better explained by specific underlying neuropsychological deficits (e.g. attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a visual processing disorder / visual stress) and co-occurring learning difficulties (e.g. dyscalculia and dysgraphia). Although it is considered to be a receptive (afferent) language-based learning disability, dyslexia also affects one’s expressive (efferent) language skills.

We can help with word reading speed if that dyslexic component is slowing your child down. It has been found that introducing a specific coloured overlay in front of written text can help increase word reading speed and increase confidence in these children. When it is established that overlays have a positive effect, spectacles can be supplied to take over from overlays – since writing, maths and white/black board work is hampered when attempting to use an overlay.

Some school remedial teachers and teaching assistants may attempt to be helpful in supplying an overlay of a random colour – but it has been found that a specific overlay colour is needed for each child … one colour having a negative effect on one child while having a positive effect on another.

We can carry out a computer-based clinical coloured overlay assessment for your child. The NHS in the UK do not fund assessments for coloured overlay in word reading and so the cost is borne by the parents. We recommend children having an NHS-funded sight test in order to rule out other potential ocular causes of word reading problems before setting out on a clinical overlay assessment path.