Reading disorders, such as dyslexia, can be a challenge; but they don’t have to define someone’s future. By understanding the various types of reading disorders, knowing the signs and symptoms, and finding ways to overcome them, we can help those with reading disabilities achieve success in their lives.
In this article we will explore:
- what reading disorders are and how they can affect your child
- the different types of reading disorders
- how to overcome the challenges of a reading disorder.
What Are Reading Disorders?
Reading disorders are a set of difficulties related to someone’s ability to read written text.
It can lead people to struggle with key literacy skills such as memory recall, fluency and decoding words. This is why the challenges can range from slight difficulties, up to completely not understanding what they are reading. People with these disorders may often be frustrated with any activities that involve reading.
These disorders are typically diagnosed in school-age children where they also experience learning disability. If unaddressed, someone can bring these difficulties into adulthood.
There are also many other factors that can affect the way the brain processes written words and text, no matter what the age. Certain neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) may also affect reading abilities.
A well-known example of a reading disorder is dyslexia, but not all reading disorders is dyslexia. Here are some more types of reading disorders you may not have known about.
What are The Effects of Reading Disorders
Not being able to read anything is frustrating, and it is one of the common effects of a reading disorder. This frustration can turn into other negative emotions such as anxiety or depression. These can grow intense when they feel like they are falling behind.
Reading disorders can also make it challenging for anyone of any age to learn anything new. Learning difficulties can get in the way of academic achievement and professional success. It may also affect social skills since reading disorders may result in difficulty remembering information or following directions.
But remember, these disorders don’t mean that someone has low intelligence. It also doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for them. While there’s no official ‘treatment’, there are ways to overcome the very difficulties they face and help them eventually feel comfortable with reading.
But first, we need to understand more about what makes reading difficult for them.
Different Sub-Types of Reading Disorders
A child’s reading disorder may be different from another’s. Because of these individual differences, one person may struggle with memorizing words while some one else might not be able to relate sounds and sound combinations to words (also known as phonological awareness).
Others may have both, or even more. So these are the common types of reading disabilities affecting key aspects of literacy and reading fluency.
Phonological deficit is the difficulty of associating letters and letter combinations to sounds. People with this deficit have trouble even with words that sound the way they are spelled (“basket”). One kind of dyslexia called phonological dyslexia indicates this deficit, where phonological awareness is greatly involved.
Their word reading accuracy may be held back and may affect someone’s attempts to speak fluently. They may also misremember spoken instructions or telling apart syllables that sound alike.
Orthographic Processing Deficit (OPD)
People with phonological deficits have a problem with phonological awareness (i.e. turning words into sounds). Those with orthographic processing deficits (or OPD) may be the opposite.
A child with OPD may be able to sound out a word that’s spoken to them. While they may have good verbal abilities, they may have a hard time spelling words instead. This is especially so for irregular words with silent or combined letter sounds.
Due to its unique effects, it leads to slow reading, processing speed and poor spelling skills. These also contribute to learning difficulties if not resolved.
Fluency is a major struggle affected by most reading disorders. A fluent reader can read something with adequate speed, good accuracy and proper expressions. Someone with reading disorders may struggle with one, or all three.
Fluent readers read in a way that other people can understand, and they can show that they understand how words, punctuation and sentences work. While it’s possible that fluency problems are caused by reading disorders, it’s also possible for other factors to affect it, such as vision issues or trouble with focus and attention.
Struggles with comprehension includes understanding written text. People with this deficit have a hard time with word meanings. This affects the way they can put information together and generate ideas out of it.
This comprehension skill gap leads to learning disorders: resulting in poor homework/school progress. They may end up with issues with reading papers and reports at work as an adult.
This comprehension deficit may also be known as specific comprehension deficit (hyperlexia). It’s also possible to find it in children with social and learning disorders (such as ASD).
This deficit often coincides with the first two, especially because hardly being able to read can, of course, affect your understanding of the text. But there are also those that can read just fine, but not understand what they are reading.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is the most common type of reading disorder, referring to difficulty in reading individual words. It is a common reading disorder that affects an estimated 10-15% of the population.
Some of the common signs include: slow and/or inaccurate decoding of words, difficulty understanding written language, and problems with spelling. Dyslexia can coincide with learning disorders as well.
Like every reading disorder, the earlier it’s addressed, the better. Considering that reading is an essential lifetime skill, it’s definitely worth the time and investment.
What are the Warning Signs?
Now, it can be difficult to tell which reading disorder affects someone without a proper diagnosis. However, there are some common characteristics and behavior that may indicate that you need to talk to a professional soon, like:
- trouble with writing or spelling words
- not being able to sound out words (phonological processing)
- avoiding books and lengthy reading activities
- difficulty following directions
- switching attention or focus when reading
- skipping entire sentences or lines when reading
- not following story plots
- not being able to recalling information they just read
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to reach out. A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), for example, can help identify the specifics of their challenges.
How to Overcome a Reading Disorder
Reading disorders are frustrating and highly challenging. But there are ways to overcome the hurdles of reading and comprehension.
For parents of children that have these difficulties, they have an integral part to play.
They need to stay updated with their child’s struggles. That means getting in touch with teachers, school counselors and other sources of support such as pediatricians and specialists.
A speech-language pathologist is a great candidate for helping a child overcome reading difficulties. They can provide practical individualized plans that can support them the process and also help improve their progress in school.
Of course, parent and family support helps greatly too. Support and encouragement can go a long way and can last a lifetime.
Ready to start your child’s reading journey? Apply now and get in touch with us soon!