What is dyslexia and how can it be recognised?

There are many definitions of dyslexia. Some are based on a medical model; others are concerned with educational impact and others with the possible causes of dyslexia. AccessAbility Centre staff prefer the first definition below because it fits more comfortably with a social model of disability and inclusivity. We have also included another definition for comparison.

“We would argue that dyslexia is an experience that arises out of natural human diversity on the one hand and a world on the other where the early learning of literacy, and good personal organisation and working memory is mistakenly used as a marker of ‘intelligence’. The problem here is seeing difference incorrectly as ‘deficit’.“
(Dr Ross Cooper, 2006)
Accessed 19/12/08

This definition by Cooper can be found on the BrainHE website which is an award winning site on Neurodiversity in HE developed at De Montfort University (2006) http://www.brainhe.com/ Accessed 19/12/08

“Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills. It is likely to be present at birth and to be lifelong in its effects. It is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed, and the automatic development of skills that may not match up to an individual’s other cognitive abilities. It tends to be resistant to conventional teaching methods, but its effects can be mitigated by appropriately specific intervention, including the application of information technology and supportive counselling.”   British Dyslexia Association Accessed 19/12/08

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