Estimates place the number of Americans with dyslexia—a learning difficulty that makes it hard for individuals to read, write, and spell, regardless of their intelligence or effort—between 14.5 and 43.5 million, which translates to a staggering 5-15% of the population.
Students with dyslexia face a unique set of challenges every day. While they may be smart and capable, dyslexia can make learning quite difficult. One of the most formidable obstacles for students with this condition is deciphering written language: dyslexia can impede the capacity to read quickly and accurately, thus impeding their ability to stay abreast of their peers when they are listening to a lecture or taking part in a discussion.
Another challenge for students with dyslexia is writing. The condition can make it hard to spell words correctly and to organize thoughts on paper. This can make the writing process both exhausting and frustrating.
This article delves into learning difficulties, with a focus on dyslexia, additionally exploring the challenges that students affected by it have to face in their academic lives. At the end, we’ll also provide some tips on how to make writing a little easier for dyslexic students.
If you’re ready, let’s dive in.
A learning difficulty is a condition that makes it difficult to comprehend what is seen or heard, or to link information from different regions of the brain. Additionally, it can impact memory and the brain's capacity to store and recall information.
Most Common Learning Difficulties
- Dyslexia: a common type of learning difficulty, mainly affects certain skills necessary for learning, such as the ability to read, write, and spell. Intelligence isn’t affected.
- Attention difficulties: can be identified in an individual who finds it difficult to keep a sustained attention at a developmentally appropriate level. Can be classified as either attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Dysgraphia: impairs the capability to get thoughts in order and produce written language.
- Dyscalculia: associated with difficulty in processing number-related concepts such as math calculations or reason and problem solve. Approximately 11% of kids diagnosed with ADHD can suffer from this condition.
The causes of learning difficulties remain unclear, and in some cases no cause can be determined in the first place.
Despite this, one of the contributing factors to learning difficulties may be genetic; a family history of learning issues increases the chances of a young person developing one.
Being a Student with a Learning Difficulty
Difficulty with learning can have a drastic effect on all facets of a person's life. This can include their communication skills, interactions with others, capacity for new knowledge, and their capacity to manage the struggles of everyday life.
Being a student with a learning difficulty can be extremely challenging. Not only do you have to contend with the usual academic demands, but you also have to overcome the added obstacle of your condition. However, it’s important to remember that everyone learns differently, and just because you have a learning difficulty doesn't mean you’re not smart. There are lots of things you can do to succeed in school despite your condition: talk to your teachers and parents about what accommodations you need and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. With hard work and determination, you can achieve your academic goals just like everyone else.
Now that you have acquired a better cognition of what learning difficulties are and their impact, it’s now time to delve into the main topic of our article: dyslexia.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that mainly causes problems with reading, writing and spelling. It’s a particular learning difficulty, meaning it impacts particular skills used for learning, like reading and writing.
Challenges Faced as a Student
The effects of dyslexia vary from individual to individual, depending on the severity of the condition and the efficacy of teaching or remedial help.
The main issue is the recognition of words and the ability to read fluently, spell and write. Even with excellent teaching, some students with dyslexia manage to acquire early reading and spelling, but later on their most challenging issues arise when harder language abilities are expected, for example, grammar, comprehending textbook material and authoring essays.
What Can Be Done
Creating a welcoming and encouraging educational setting is the most beneficial aid for dyslexic students. When they feel supported and valued in their educational environment, they are more likely to thrive academically and socially. In contrast, an unsupportive or negative classroom environment can exacerbate the challenges that dyslexic students face.
To make learning more meaningful and inclusive for students, offering them options for how they participate in tasks can be a great tactic. For instance, instead of writing notes during a listening task or when getting ready for a speaking task, learners might opt to draw them.
Writing Tips if You’re a Student with Dyslexia
If you’re a student with dyslexia, writing can be a challenge. But there are ways to make it easier! Here are some tips.
If you have dyslexia, you understand the importance of additional time on exams for the purpose of showcasing your knowledge of a certain subject. Don't limit yourself to just exams though; you may need more time on homework tasks as well.
Tips on how to improve your time management skills when facing exams or assignments include:
- Divide large assignments into more manageable parts. Need to submit a three-page paper in seven days? Schedule specific dates to handle the associated tasks like selecting a subject, researching and putting together a first draft.
- Outline your task before you start. Determine what materials are essential for your task and how much time is needed to report the results of a project. Consider the necessary steps and plan ahead so you are equipped with the resources and are aware of how long it will take to complete the assignment.
- Do only what’s necessary. If you only have to write a few pages about World War II, you don’t have to research every single thing on the topic.
- Prioritize your work. When you have a few assignments, it’s easy to think it’d be better to start working on multiple projects or essays to get everything done faster. But that’s not an effective approach. Organize tasks based on the order in which they are due and the amount of time that it will take to finish them.
- Give yourself time. Take your time and don't feel pressured to hurry.
Get Help from a Tutor or Teacher
Don’t hesitate to seek assistance if you find it difficult to stick to a task or need additional time for a test.
If you’re a college student who is struggling with a paper, make use of the writing center at your college. If you’re not in college, seek the assistance of your friends, instructors or guardians in order to express your ideas effectively and get them on paper.
If you have already written a draft, it’s beneficial to have someone else take a look to identify typos, spelling errors or details or concepts that aren’t fully fleshed out.
Consulting your teachers and peers can be helpful in reinforcing concepts that you’re studying. Communicate with your teachers to verify your comprehension of the material and discuss the primary points of the lectures with your friends in order to form your own opinions and understanding.
Simplicity Can Make the Difference
Sometimes, simple tools can be the most effective way to make your daily duties more efficient.
Creating flash cards can be a great way to break down and remember topics ranging from math equations to historic facts to vocabulary words. Rather than attempting to learn everything in one go, this method allows you to memorize information in more manageable chunks.
Construct visual aids and models to use as a reference. For instance, draw diagrams to capture the plot of a narrative, employ highlighters or color-coding to emphasize the crucial points in your notes, create your very own symbols, abbreviations or doodles to aid in memorizing concepts.
Last but not least, try to work in a tranquil environment. Earplugs or headphones that cancel noise can assist in blocking out noises/distractions that could draw away your focus.
Rely on Technology
You can certainly make the most of specific softwares, programs and apps.
TextCortex is an AI companion that comes with a creator suite made of over 60+ templates scattered in useful categories: you could especially find the “academic life”, “email writing” and “general” ones to be the most useful. We’ll handle both the grammar of your content and its fluency, revolutionizing your whole writing process and, hopefully, making your daily life as a student a little easier. Additionally, our new text-to-speech feature will be extra useful for when you don’t feel like reading: simply highlight any sentence or paragraph, click on the little speaker symbol on our toolbar and let us handle the rest!
Consider trying out dictation programs such as Dragon as well: as speech-recognition programs, they will facilitate your learning process and help you surf the web using voice commands.
After finishing a writing project, be it a few paragraphs or a longer piece, read it out loud and record it on your mobile phone. There are many free apps available to help with the recording part. Going over your writing several times and hearing it out loud can aid you in spotting mistakes and deciding on modifications. Furthermore, listening as you read the information can help you comprehend and remember what you have learned.
If you’re anxious about noting down all the information from class and want to invest in something to help, then a Livescribe SmartPen would be a great option. This device records all of the spoken word, and you can sync the notes and audio to your computer: you’ll be able to record everything you hear, say and write while adding your audio recordings to your notes. Additionally, you can change the audio recording speed to suit your needs and you can also play back a specific section of the recording by simply tapping on that part of your notes.