Dyslexia is perhaps the most common, but least understood of all the learning difficulties. It can be referred to as a ‘hidden disability’ as sometimes the characteristics and symptoms are not obvious. Some young people can in fact go all the way through school without dyslexia being identified – they struggle, they become frustrated and they often underachieve. This highlights one of the key issues regarding dyslexia – that of early identification.
There have been significant advances in research in dyslexia over the last twenty years. This has aided explanations of dyslexia and supported policy and practice. The impact has been considerable, but yet there is still no clear explanation that is universally accepted of what exactly constitutes dyslexia. Identification is still riddled with controversies despite the emergence of a number of new tests to identify dyslexia, or sub-components of dyslexia. Indeed, there is still an ongoing debate on the value of dyslexia as an identifiable syndrome.
The challenge facing educators today in relation to inclusion results from conflicts arising from traditional pedagogical perspectives, social attitudes, conventions and perceptions. These challenges are encapsulated in the five signposts for inclusion shown below.
Motivation and the nature of the learning experience are important factors for all students, but particularly for students with dyslexia. These factors need to be taken into account when developing a programme of learning for students with dyslexia.
This article will comment on the practice and principles of selecting appropriate teaching approaches for use with children with dyslexia. Teaching approaches can be divided into four broad areas: individualised approaches; support approaches; assisted learning and whole-school approaches. In determining the most appropriate programmes and strategies for children with dyslexia, a number of factors must be considered, the most important of which are: