Definitions Of Dyslexia
The British Psychological Society, 1999, define Dyslexia as “evident when accurate and fluent word reading and/or spelling develops very incompletely or with great difficulty, despite appropriate learning opportunities – that is learning opportunities which are effective for the great majority of children”.
Kent County Council quotes the above BPS definition in their Dyslexia Policy 2005. They further note that “the majority of pupils with dyslexia experience underlying difficulties with language, memory and the sequencing processes of basic mathematics. A significant proportion of these pupils have phonological difficulties; that is they find it difficult to sort out the sounds within words. This means that they have problems with reading, writing and spelling”.
Glutting et al, 2000, further note that “the diagnosis of a specific learning disability is partially based on an indication of underachievement. Traditionally, underachievement is identified when academic performance falls markedly below an ‘achievement expectancy,’ which is based on an individual’s IQ. Implicit in an IQ>Achievement expectancy is the suggestion that some unusual processes may be inhibiting academic progress.”
The Rose Report by Sir Jim Rose (June 2009) identified the following working definition of dyslexia:
- Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.
- Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed.
- Dyslexia occurs across a range of intellectual abilities.
- It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points.
- Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor coordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.
A commonly accepted definition of dyslexia in further/higher education (SpLD Working Group – 2005 – DfES Guidelines, page 5) describes “A combination of abilities and difficulties where the difficulties affect the learning process in aspects of literacy and sometimes numeracy. Also that Marked and persistent weaknesses may be identified in working memory, speed of processing, sequencing skills, auditory and/or visual perception, spoken language and motor skills”.
Dyslexia can be described as being present in adults when:
a) There is difficulty in reading, spelling and writing. This includes individuals who can now read and write fairly well, but are slow in decoding and writing down ideas.
b) In addition, many people with dyslexia have difficulties in working, or short-term memory, and sound coding difficulties. These are shown to contrast markedly with general intellectual skills such as reasoning or visual processing. There is often a discrepancy between general intelligence and written language attainments.