What is Dyslexia?
Halfpenny Development uses the following working definition of dyslexia developed in 2009 by the Scottish Government, Dyslexia Scotland and the Cross Party Group on Dyslexia in the Scottish Parliament.
"Dyslexia can be described as a continuum of difficulties in learning to read, write and/or spell, which persist despite the provision of appropriate learning opportunities. These difficulties often do not reflect an individual's cognitive abilities and may not be typical of performance in other areas.
The impact of dyslexia as a barrier to learning varies in degree according to the learning and teaching environment, as there are often associated difficulties such as:
- auditory and/or visual processing of language-based information
- phonological awareness
- oral language skills and reading fluency
- short-term and working memory
- sequencing and directionality
- number skills
- organisational ability
Motor skills and co-ordination may also be affected."
Definitions of dyslexia differ. The definition adopted has legal and social implications. Some definitions focus on the language base of dyslexia:
"Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. It refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words."
International Dyslexia Association (2012)
Other definitions are wider in their scope:
"Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills. It is likely to be present at birth and to be life-long 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."
The definition adopted by the BDA includes reference to wider cognitive skills, such as memory and the ability to develop skills to the point of achieving automaticity.