Dyslexia is commonly known as a problem with decoding the written word. This means that children with dyslexia typically struggle with literacy-based activities such as reading, writing and spelling. There is a considerable body of research exploring both the biological and cognitive factors associated with dyslexia. Increasing numbers of researchers are viewing dyslexia through a neurodiversity lens, which considers diverse neurological conditions to be the result of natural human variation rather than a disorder or deficit.
Those showing dyslexic characteristics can be disadvantaged in literacy tasks. Given the importance that the education system places on acquiring literacy skills from a young age, it is of no surprise that research has shown that those with dyslexia and literacy difficulties have been found to hold lower academic self-concepts. There are particular strategies that teachers can employ to support their dyslexic learners.
The quality of research on dyslexia is improving, with growing evidence on the biological and cognitive factors related to dyslexia, as well as research on the efficacy of different interventions and approaches to support students with dyslexia. It is important to note that there still are a number of commonly held beliefs about dyslexia which are not supported by research evidence.
Dyslexia is commonly viewed for its challenges rather than its strengths, but research increasingly shows that those with dyslexic characteristics also have strengths in a number of areas. Particularly associated with dyslexia are creativity, problem solving and communication skills. Therefore, rather than viewing dyslexia in terms of the negative impact it has on a student, consider the strengths that the student shows. A focus on improving strengths alongside supporting challenges is vital for all students to reach their full potential. This can help to improve both their academic outcomes and their overall self-concept.
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