How does dyslexia impact on the writing process?

It is often commented that the characteristics of dyslexic students’ written work might equally be found in the work of a non-dyslexic student. The problems with composition that students with dyslexia experience may be accompanied by difficulty with spelling and handwriting.  Students may try to choose words they can spell rather than those they want to use.  Those with short-term memory problems may have difficulty transcribing a mentally composed sentence, thus much back-tracking is required which disrupts the flow of thought.  When this is coupled with reading difficulties, it is easy to see why written tasks are laborious. The techniques of editing and refining demand extra stamina and time, and need to be done in separate stages.  To be effective, this requires good pre-planning and time management.  Paradoxically these may be the very skills that students with dyslexia may find particularly challenging.


Those students who are familiar with their own problems and are used to academic study are often highly disciplined to the task and start work on assignments as soon as they receive them.  Others will need some explicit help in pacing themselves and in the understanding of the separate stages of the writing process.  It is also worth noting that many of the errors will not be picked up by a standard spell checker or in some cases, by the student’s proof reading.


In any event, it is likely that the final outcome of the work presented may not reflect the time and effort that has gone into its preparation.


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