Dyslexia is mainly perceived to be a problem with literacy skills, however not only does dyslexia cause difficulties in learning to read, write and spell, it may also affect short-term memory, mathematics, concentration, personal organisation.
Dyslexia usually arises from a weakness in the processing of language-based information. Biological in origin, it tends to run in families, but environmental factors also contribute. Dyslexia can occur at any level of intellectual ability, it is not due to the individual's ability to learn and develop these skills. It is not the result of poor motivation, emotional disturbance, sensory impairment or lack of opportunities, but it may occur alongside any of these.
Dyslexia is to do with the way people process information and how that affects their ability to learn. This processing difficulty can be due to a number of reasons, but it is this which causes problems with acquiring literacy skills. Most dyslexic students have been identified to have one or more of the following deficiencies in the sub-skills that are required to acquire and use adequate literacy skills:
- A bad working or short-term memory system. This means that a dyslexic student may have problems with the amount of information that can be held and processed in the real-time (short term) conscious memory.
- Inadequate phonological processing abilities causing problems with connecting the letter patterns with the associated sounds. This is usually due to problems with the speed in which auditory information can be processed and with accessing the memory of audio sounds to relate them to the letter pattern.
- Difficulties with automaticity. This can cause problems with getting things in the right order or sequencing and may also show itself as clumsiness caused by the brain sending the wrong signals to parts of the body in the wrong order.
- A range of problems connected with visual processing to do with the speed in which visual information can be processed and with accessing the memory of visual patterns.