Dyslexia is now known to be widely dispersed throughout the human race but as English is such a complex language, we see a greater percentage of individuals with difficulties caused through the condition than in non English speaking countries. It has recently been discovered to have definite links to a specific gene, KIAA0319, which is present in 15% of the UK population.
It is also now recognised that the condition exists within a spectrum of difficulties now referred to as Specific Learning Difficulties and that within this spectrum lie dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD, ADD, mild Asperger’s and benign hyper mobility syndrome. The coexistence of these conditions is usual and so we see a wide variety of both strengths and difficulties in those with the condition. This makes it impossible to suggest one way forward to remediate problems but what we do know is that the things we suggest for individuals with SpLDs benefit everyone’s learning.
The difficulties the condition generates include:
- Weaker memory, especially working memory
- Visual disturbances
- Auditory disturbances
- Slower brain processing speed
These, in turn, can lead to difficulties with literacy, spelling, numeracy, organisation, planning, studying, focusing and achieving.
The condition may also confer strengths too of:
- Strategic thinking
- Global view
- Problem solving
Specific Support Strategies with Students in Higher and Further Education
It is essential to identify the specific problems the individual faces as these will be different from one person to another. However, from the following it should be possible to suggest coping strategies or make adjustments to the way information is presented that enables all students to be significantly more effective in their learning.
Here is a table demonstrating some of the typical difficulties for the dyslexic student encountered in the post 16 learning environment, together with some global strategies for tackling these problems – study-skills-for-dyslexic-students