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Τρίτη, 26 Σεπτέμβριος 2017

An article by George Tsiotsis
Lexicon, Neapolis, May 2006

Dyslexia is a problem that a lot of people face in our era. It was not until fairly recently that attracted the interest of many scientists even though researches on the matter were done at the beginning of the twentieth century. The fields of neurology, psychology, psychiatry, ophthalmology, optometry and education have a great interest in this syndrome, but it is one of the less understood syndromes because there seems to be an incomplete definition of dyslexia. There are many contradictory data and theories concerning its etiology, and also a lack of accurate and equivocal methods of diagnosis. The fact that dyslexics can be found both among children and adults has perplexed the situation a bit more. The result has been a lot of subcategories of dyslexia numbering more than thirty so far.

There are a lot of definitions of the syndrome of dyslexia, all of which agree that it is a problem that affects a great percentage of the population worldwide. The word itself is of Greek origin. It is a compound one consisting of two elements: “dys-“, a prefix meaning something difficult and “lexicos”, the words of a language, which has slightly changed in the process. So dyslexia means difficulty with words and refers to written words (reading, writing and spelling). Dyslexia is a description of someone’s difficulties and not the explanation of these difficulties. A number of factors such as social and cultural environment, financial status, lack of motivation, psychological and neurological problems negatively influence the reading process. A dyslexic person may belong to any class and any financial status

There are two main kinds of dyslexia: acquired and developmental dyslexia and each one is further divided in subcategories.

It is a condition in which a person (usually an adult) has lost the ability to read after a brain damage caused by accidents, tumors, strokes, drug taking, ageing, or psychiatric disorders.

-Acquired (or traumatic dyslexia) was first identified more than a century ago and it is a condition in which a person (usually an adult) has lost the ability to read after a brain damage caused by accidents, tumors, strokes, drug taking, ageing, or psychiatric disorders.
-Surface dyslexics are the ones who have a selective impairment in the ability to read irregular words. The term ‘surface dyslexia’ was introduced for the first time by John Marshall and Freda Newcombe in their seminar paper “Patterns of paralexia: A psycholinguistic approach”, published in 1973 (Ellis: 44).
-Phonological dyslexia is another variety of acquired dyslexia where non-word reading is severely impaired but word reading is problem free (Barry & De Bastiani, 1985: 173). ‘Wise’ can be read as ‘wisdom’ and ‘camp’ as ‘cape’. There is also the tendency to add to, remove from, or change the beginning or end of a word (Doyle: 76). “Thinking’ becomes ‘think’ and vice versa.
-Deep dyslexics are those people who are unable to use phonics because they find it extremely difficult to connect what they see in written form with its corresponding sound. They look at a word and read it as a different one, which nonetheless has a related meaning. They might read the word ‘tiger’ as ‘animal, ‘city’ as ‘London’ and so forth. Words with concrete, imaginable referents, like ‘table’, ‘car’, and ‘baby’ are more easily read than abstract words like ‘justice’, ‘impatience’, and ‘truth’.
-Non-semantic reading
People with this kind of acquired dyslexia display a remarkable ability to read words aloud, showing very little evidence of understanding them. Regular, irregular and non-words can be read equally well.
-Neglect dyslexia
In neglect dyslexia the patient faces problems with reading, making no attempt to read the first few words of each line. The word ‘nun’ is misread as ‘run’, ‘glove’ as ‘love’, ‘yellow’ as ‘pillow’
-Attentional dyslexia is a problem in which patients have no difficulty in reading single letters and words. They begin to make errors when they are presented with several letters in a row or several words on the page. ‘Glove and spade’ may be read as ‘glade’ (Ellis: 42). Even when the patients are given unlimited time to read the words, they make errors.

Developmental dyslexia refers to impairment in acquiring reading abilities. Acquired dyslexia refers to damage in reading systems that were functionally normal before the brain trauma, while developmental dyslexics grow up in such a way that the system of acquisition of reading is impaired.
-Developmental phonological dyslexia shows a similar pattern with acquired phonological dyslexia. People diagnosed as developmental phonological dyslexics have impaired phonological skills and are very poor at reading unfamiliar words and non-words. A non-word like ‘gok’ might be read as ‘joke’, ‘hib’ as ‘hip’ and so on (Ellis: 97).
-Developmental surface dyslexics like acquired surface dyslexics heavily depend on phonological letter-sound conversion when they try to read aloud.
The word ‘bind’ is read as ‘binned’, ‘scene’ as ‘sken’. Visual errors appear more often than not. ‘Bouquet’ is read as ‘boutique’, ‘audience’ as ‘ordinance’ (Ellis: 101).

The most difficult part in a disease is to find its causes. After this things take their way and the problem can be faced. A considerable number of tests exist in the market. These are diagnostic tests and enable the scientist to put a person in a specific category and try to solve the problem. In spite of the fact that the condition of a person may be hereditary, it can still respond to treatment. The greatest difficulty for dyslexics is phonics and this is the area that has been given the greatest attention. Several studies have shown that when dyslexics are given systematic instruction (e.g. Andrews & Shaw, 1986; Lovett, Ransby, & Barron, 1988; Thomson, 1988) they can make great progress.
As most symptoms of dyslexia are aggravated by stress, a stress-free environment will make the life of a dyslexic child much easier. The more symptoms a child exhibits, the greater the likelihood that he or she is a dyslexic. So, a careful and deep investigation of the symptoms is more than necessary.

Barry, C. & De Bastiani, P. 1985. Phonological Dyslexia, Lexical Analogy, and Functional Models of Oral Reading: A Critique of Bradley and Thompson. Brain and Language, 26, 173-180.
Doyle, J. 1996. Dyslexia: an introductory guide. London: Whurr Publishers Ltd.
Ellis, A. 1999.Reading, Writing, and Dyslexia: A Cognitive Analysis. Lawrence: Hove.




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