Dyslexia Learning Disorder English Language Essay

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This project is mainly aimed to study the one of the learning disorder Dyslexia and how it is affecting the people to learn mathematics. The word "dyslexia" is the combination of two different individual Greek words Dys and Lexis. And the meaning of dys is less or poor and lexis means speech or word. Dyslexia is mainly a learning disorder that occurs in several forms. So, this affects people with different forms of illness. The dyslexia mainly affects the neurological senses of human brain particularly in the reading, writing and spelling disorder. That is the reason to people with dyslexia don't remember for a long time and they easily forget the things with in the short term. This affects the people's performance badly in learning process. According to the surveys carried out the boys are more dyslexic than the girls.

Dyslexia may be caused due to the damage in the nerve cells in the human brain. Because of the deficiency in neurosensory organs in the brain the people with dyslexia cannot remember anything for a long period of time. This may also called as short time memory. The main problem which is being faced by the dyslexics is short fall of working memory and learning memory. This is to overcome these problems and help in learning mathematics with the help of multimedia.

In order to over these things we are going to design a simple application to explain the mathematics concepts with the help of multimedia technology. This application teaches how to solve a single order algebraic equation by using the multimedia. This type of applications can help the dyslexics wide in learning as those are very interested with special effects like images, animation, sounds, colours and different styles. It helps students to remember the concept for a long time and it increases the interest of the dyslexics towards learning the new things. With the help of this application the pupil can perform and remember math concepts for a long period of time.


Dyslexia is a disability in learning based on the languages. The people with this disability normally face the problems with learning the new language skills like spelling, pronouncing and writing the words. It affects a person all over the life; still its effect can change in various stages of life. So the dyslexia can give many troubles in the academicals. We can cure the dyslexia if it is found in the earlier stages. Before the dyslexia in the maths was called as mathematical dyslexia and then called as dyscalculia.

Dyscalculia is characterised as a specific learning disability with the problems of numerical skills. The people with this condition may understand critical concepts in the mathematics but they cannot formulate the formulas in the sequence.

And the multimedia a technology that the use of computer to present the combination of text, graphics, video, animation and sound. Multimedia is an upcoming technology in the education. It is providing a wide range of service in the teaching.

Aims and Objectives

The main aim is to teach the dyslexics in the field of mathematics. It's important to remember that although the dyslexia is a word but it represents a syndrome. So the different people represent with the different subsets of symptoms. And few of those people will suffer with all of these symptoms.

As any two persons in the dyslexics don't have same learning disabilities. First it is important to teacher to find out the particular disabilities of every individual in the dyslexics, then only the teacher can assist the every individual to overcome the disabilities to get more productive outcome from every individual.

The approach develops the confidence in the learners (dyslexics) to take part in the learning procedure actively.

The main aims of this approach are:

Teach the subject in the good environment.

Finding each individual learning style.

To teach the learners in their interested styles as much as possible.

Use the different images, text, fonts and sizes.

Work in keen and confidence all over the learning.

It is important to teach learners in matching learning style by taking many of the principles in to account. Some of those are:

Create the teaching style enjoyable and clear.

Make the information in to small sections as well remembered and avoid the complexity.

Make the sheets clear and attractive.

Use the multisensory approaches.

Difficulties in mathematics

As the dyslexics show the more interest on the 3-D objects and things represented by the images it is important to denote all the symbols in the form of images as playing things. And another important thing to follow in the mathematics is to follow sequence of steps in solving the problems. So the learner has to gain the knowledge of basic rules and concepts of mathematics such as numbers, symbols and arithmetic calculations.

How can multimedia help in learning mathematics

Learning mathematics is a primary fear to most of the learners and it is always a challenge to teachers to teach the problems in mathematics. Most of the students don't understand the symbols in mathematics easily and they feel very hard to understand the meaning and functionality of the different symbols. So in order to learn the mathematics perfectly the learner need to understand the different symbols deeply. They have to learn how does each symbol work and provide the clarification for their solutions. Rather than simply learn how to calculate, it is important to get the logic of that steps.

An effective mathematical solution is divided into four steps:

Understanding the problem.

Dividing the plan in to sub sections.

Performing the plan.

Revising the plan.

This method works more efficiently with the single effort. But a teacher cannot show care on every student every time. For web-based class rooms the collaborative method of learning is more efficient to improve the ability of solving mathematical problems. A whiteboard is used in the web based classrooms which make students to solve the mathematical problems easily and collaboratively. Students like play and learn environment as they are childish in their behaviour. The web based class room provides students not only the writing down the symbols in mathematics but also explains arithmetical calculations. Students try collaboratively until they got the good solution as it is easy. Using the e-white board in this approach is different from the traditional black board which we use in the normal class room.

In the present education multimedia is playing a vital role to teach mathematics. We can convert symbols to the different form of images (like JPEG and GIF) and we can save them in separated files by using currently available systems. Any way it is bit difficult to arrange all calculations in image files. And it is time consuming to download the image files and modify them. The electronic white board is another approach to provide a substitute method for symbol writing in mathematics on the internet. In the electronic white board there are some different graphic functions and a virtual pen which can help in drawing the geometrical blocks and making mathematical equations. In order to test the student whether he understood a problem in the traditional class room, the student needs to explain the step by step process of the problem. It is not sufficient to measure student math concepts and ability to solve problems completely depends on their writing. Some oral reading and explanation need to be considered from several view points. In this approach students can write down the procedures and recording the explanations while they are busy in solving the problems.


Dyslexia is a specific learning disorder which usually effects reading, writing, spelling skills and also mathematical skills.

Learning disorder

Learning disorder (learning difficulty) is a categorization including different difficulties caused by several unknown factors. These unknown factors affect the human brain's ability to retrieve and process the information. These difficulties give the troubles to the person in learning and learning disability doesn't indicate the intelligence level. But, the people with these difficulties are very slow in performing some of the tasks.

In 1980s, NJCLD (National Joint Committee of Learning Disability) has defined LD (Learning Disability) as:

"A heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning or mathematical abilities."

Learning disability doesn't exist in "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV)" and proposed to be added in DSM-V.

There is variety of learning disabilities based on deficits in any area of information processing system.

Reading Disorder (ICD-10 and DSM-IV)

This is most common learning disability which is affecting 70 to 80 percent of students by deficits in reading. The reading disability is also called by the synonym "Dyslexia". However, there are many types of reading disability and one of those is dyslexia. There are many parts in the reading process which can be affected by the reading disability i.e. word recognition, word decoding, reading comprehension etc. Before "Dyslexia" came into picture it was called ad "Word Blindness".

Writing Disorder (ICD-10 and DSM-IV)

Speech and language disorder are also called as Dysphasia.

Impairment in written language skills may include in spelling, hand writing, composition and organisation of ideas. The term "Dysgraphia" is also used to refer difficulty in hand writing by others like International Dyslexia Association.

Math Disability (ICD-10 and DSM-IV)

The math disorder is also called as Dyscalculia some times and can cause the difficulties in learning mathematical concepts such as difficulty with memorising mathematical facts, difficulty with organizing the numbers and difficulty with understanding the solution of problems on the page.

History of Dyslexia

In 1672, Thomas Willis described dyslexia in his 'De Anima Brutorum'.

In 1878, A German physician, Dr. Adolf Kussumaul recognised a man who was not able to read properly. And the man was a normal intelligent and well educated. At that time Dr. Kussumaul described him as 'reading blindness'.

In 1881, Oswald Berkhan, identified the word dyslexia which is Greek word and means word blindness.

In 1896, A British physician, W. Pringle Morgan published a description of specific learning disorder in 'Congenital Word Blindness' which described a 14-years old who hadn't learn to read.

In 1925, A neurologist, Samuel T. Orton who worked primarily on stroke victims found a boy who had similar symptoms of stroke victims and lost the reading ability. After studying his case there was a syndrome which is not related to the brain damage.

In 1970s, A conjecture came out that dyslexia was caused by the problems in phonological processing.

In 1993, Castle and Coltheart described that dyslexia as different varieties by using the subtypes of alexia, surface and phonological dyslexia.

In 2001, Temple et al suggested that dyslexia may be developed in childhood by the disturbances in the neural system of phonological process and orthographic process which play key role in reading.

2004, University of Hong Kong study says that depending on the languages they read, dyslexia affects different parts in children brain.

2007, Researches are carrying out to search connection between the genetic and neurological determinations and reading disorder.

In 2008, S Heim et al, It is one of the first reports which is not only to compare dyslexics and non dyslexics but also to compare different sub groups of non dyslexics.


How can dyslexia be defined?

Rudolf Berlin was the first person to define dyslexia in 1887.

"Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills." By British Dyslexia Association.


Some of the synonyms for dyslexia:

The term dyslexia is also called in many other forms like word blindness, reading disability, developmental dyslexia, specific developmental dyslexia, strephosymbolia, reading difficulty, learning disability, primary reading retardation, inferior reading, poor reading, and inadequate reading.

Types of dyslexia

According to Carlson (1998), it is very difficult to separate the features that would characterize particular dyslexia as an individual condition. Then he suggested that there many subtypes in dyslexia with variety of breakdowns. The major subtypes as follow:

Developmental SLD

Acquired SLD

Developmental SLD

These are usually caused by genetics in the brain at different levels before birth through childhood development. These types of dyslexics tend to stick out in the fields belong to innovative and imagination fields such as art, architecture, invention, surveying and sculpture. They face a little difficulty with numeracy and literacy. However it can be overcome by teaching in look and say method.

Acquired SLD

This particular dyslexia can be caused by brain trauma which may occur prenatally or later, brain injury, accidents or illness. Disorders are mainly divided into two peripheral and central. The ability of processing the visual forms of written words is affected by the peripheral disorder. And central disorder affects read and understand the written words.

The peripheral dyslexia is three types, those are:

Neglect dyslexia, attentional dyslexia and pure alexia.

Neglect Dyslexia

This type of dyslexia causes the negligence of letters at one side of the written words. And normally it affects the left side of the word. It causes the difficulty in reading the long words. The peoples suffering with this type of dyslexia can miss the some parts of the word that means they neglect a part of the words. That is the reason to call it as neglect dyslexia. For example if we take a compound word hyperactive can be read as active by neglecting the left part of the word.

Attentional dyslexia

The attentional dyslexia is very uncommon disorder and it affects the ability to see the individual letters in a written word. However the complete word and individual letters can be recognised.

Pure alexia

The pure alexia is also called as letter-by-letter reading and the people with this type of dyslexia cannot recognise the complete written words. But they are able to recognise individual letters in the written words. This dyslexia slows down the reading speed and long words are read slower than short words.

The central dyslexia is divided into three subtypes as deep dyslexia, phonological dyslexia and surface dyslexia.

Deep dyslexia

This dyslexia causes the poor pronunciation of novel words. And they cannot read the function words louder and they read the abstract words poorly. They read concrete words and imaginable words best. This mainly affects the pronunciation when reading loudly with semantic reading errors. For example they can pronounce view as scene. And there may be visual errors while reading like they may read thing as think.

Phonological dyslexia

The people with this type of dyslexia face the troubles in converting the letters to their sounds. They are able to read the familiar words but they face the problems while reading the novel words. They also face the troubles in reading the non-word and they misread the non- word as an existing well known words. They may also misread the words as other similar looking words. There may be visual errors but not the semantic errors.

Surface dyslexia

This type of dyslexia mainly affects the ability of pronouncing and comprehending previously known words with non regular spelling sound balances. And it affects less frequent words most for example 'pint' can be pronounced as more frequent word 'mint'.


Recognising the Dyslexia

Nowadays it is becoming very common to know the dyslexics that they are affected by dyslexia as most of the schools are aware of it. We can easily find the dyslexic students that you think they may be dyslexic. In order to whether student is affected by dyslexia or not is anything which needs training with specialist in educational psychology or a specialist in dyslexia assessment. Until and unless we have such a qualification we cannot confirm the dyslexia. But we have some major pointers in order to recognise the dyslexia in the students.

We can assess the dyslexic learner with some of these characteristics to find the dyslexia.

Poor concentration

Poor written skills such as:

Mistakes in spelling

Poor sentence and paragraph structuring skills

Bad handwriting

Different spellings for the same word and correct spellings some times

Problems in following the large set of instructions

Mismatch in spoken and written work: dyslexics may have good verbal ability but may be worse in written work

Letter confusion: they may be confused with some of the letters for example they may confusion between b and d.

However the dyslexic test takes some hours to confirm dyslexia and it has to be confirmed by a specialist. But the above points are only indications of dyslexia.


The learner

Learner with dyslexia

Learner with dyslexia

And dyscalculia

Learner with dyscalculia

May have problems with:

Short-term memory

Working memory

Literacy and language

Processing of information


Good mathematical ability in spite of dyslexic:

Can enjoy maths

Sees forms

Understands concepts

Sees all and builds connections

Needs support to:

Understand maths language

Understand and recall symbols

Deliver the work satisfactory

Develop schemes for learning

May have problems with:



Spatial awareness

Visual awareness

Processing of information

Feels maths hard irrespective of dyslexic difficulties:

Don't enjoy maths

Finds very difficult to understand the concepts

Needs support to:

Numeracy, value, size of number and relationship

Understand math symbols

Generalisation and abstraction

Building and seeing link between topics

Schemes for learning and developing

Causes of dyslexia

There are many causes to get dyslexia and many theories are defining different reasons for dyslexia. But all the theories agree that it is genetic condition which affects the human brain in dealing with the information. Most of the people agree that the reasons to get dyslexia are biological and psychological differences, and these continue in the families for next generations.


The major reason to get the dyslexia is genetics. The children acquire dyslexia from their parents which affects the development of brain of the baby. If anyone of the parents has dyslexia there is 40 to 60% of chance that their children may also have dyslexia.

The experts believe that dyslexia is developed by the genetics which have been received from their parents. The probability of getting dyslexia depends on the genes count from their parents. But the fact is no one found how the dyslexia is spreading to the generations

Acquired brain damage

It is far common that the dyslexia is cause by the brain injury in the accidents and illness.

How to support a learner with dyslexia

The report from the educational psychologist should give a number of advises to work with a learner who is having dyslexia. We should remember that the dyslexia is a word and it defines as a syndrome so the different people are affected by different symptoms of dyslexia. And very less dyslexics have all the symptoms of dyslexia. A dyslexia supporting staff in an institution should have specific duties to undertake. Usually the duties to help a dyslexic learner are:

Printing the handouts in the fonts like Arial, Papyrus (also called as sans-serif fonts), this is true for the people who lost in the whirls in sans-serif fonts. These fonts are easier to use.

Giving the handouts on a coloured paper.

Using the different fonts and text colours on handouts, chalk colour and white boards.

Changing the handouts which includes

Including more images

Giving the text in smaller blocks

Adding the glossary which includes the meanings for the list of new words used

Spending much time to explain the meaning of new words especially in case of long words and why they mean and how they are built.

Giving enough to time for assignments to complete and preparing the assignments early and give much time to students that can help the students to work under less pressure. This is not suitable all times but sometimes it shows good results. They need much time to understand a passage as they read many times to understand that.

Offering help in making the assignments. This can help them to feel free with the teacher.

Ask the students to record the lecture which can be helpful to listen the lectures later. The dyslexic learner may have problems in processing the spoken words and they may feel very hard to write down the spoken words on notes. By recording the lecture, they can go back and listen until they are happy with the words and they can listen, forward, stop, backward, make notes etc.

Give the word lists to help with the words, every subject has its technical terminology and it is important to use that specific terminology for every subject. The dyslexic supporter may not be an expert in that subject. So by giving the words they need, the learner can get more help from the supporter to improve the spellings and they can spell the words right. The supporter can work out and prepare how to help the students to spell it.


Different theories on dyslexia

There are several theories to define the dyslexia and to answer why the people are affected by dyslexia. Some of those are listed here

Phonological processing theory

This is the theory which explains how dyslexia affects the impairment in reading and writing and it is called as phonological impairment. To know better about this theory it is important to know how the written languages and the spoken languages are comprehended. The phonological processing means that the ability to assign the specific sounds to associated letters and words.

According to this theory the major cause for all the symptoms of dyslexia is the impairment in the processing the written words into their associated sounds. Major number of experts says that the phonological processing plays a key role in dyslexia. However some of them argue that it is only the symptoms of dyslexia and not a cause of dyslexia.

Cerebellum theory

The cerebellum is small section of brain which is located at the back of the brain. And this theory states that the dyslexia is caused by the physical differences in the cerebellum. The major number of experts says that the cerebellum theory plays a key role in processing language. This theory is also responsible for coordination and time management. This can answer the question why the people with dyslexia have problems in managing the time and the coordination.

Magnocellular theory

The magnocells are the large cells in the brain (neurons). These magnocells are responsible in controlling the eyes in order to view the correct words at correct time. So according to the magnocellular theory the dyslexia is caused due to the impairment in the magnocells. As we have seen the major cause of the dyslexia is word blindness and this word blindness is caused by looking the wrong letter at wrong time in the wrong order. This can answer why the people with dyslexia say that the words on the page look blurred and non centric.

Working memory theory

The working memory is the memory which holds the new information. When we are working on any work that information is stored in the working memory for instance and then it is moved to long-term memory. The working memory is responsible to remember and forget. Because it is able to remember when the information is moved to long-term memory from the working memory otherwise forget the information.

According to the working memory theory dyslexia is caused by the non efficient working memory which has the problems in moving the information to long-term memory.

For example a person may remember which year it is but may not remember his own vehicle's registration number. Because the year is stored in the long-term memory and phone is not stored in the long-term memory.


The effect of dyslexia on the mathematics

The dyslexia can affect the learner in many ways to learn mathematics. Some of those ways are:

Directional confusion

This directional confusion leads the pupil to write the numbers in reverse, for example E for 3. They may be confused in starting point, for example the pupil can start at right and work left in subtraction.

Sequencing problems

The problems in sequencing causes a learner can understand the concept of mathematics and what to be achieved but may not be able to sequence the steps involved in achieving the answer. They may be unable to explain the procedure even he got the right answer.

Visual perceptual

This is the confusion in mathematical symbols like a learner may be confused by x, ÷ and + or may be confused by 9 and 6.

Spatial awareness

The problems in spatial awareness affect areas like three-dimensional geometry or may not be able to distinguish Z and 2. The student may lose his/her place on the board and may not be able to relocate that point on the board. It also affects in drawing a two-dimensional drawing which represents the three-dimensional drawing.

Short-term memory or working memory

The problems in basic concepts of mathematics like multiplication tables, number bonds, arithmetic calculations etc are cause by the short-term memory (working memory). So the short-term memory has a big impact on the pupils learning mathematics.

For example in a problem to add 23 and 49 when he is trying to do this he has to calculate the sum of 3 and 9 first. So the result 12 he has to remember 2 and the carry is 1, then he has to add 2 and 4 that is 6 and he has to recall carry 1 and he has to sum result with carry and the result would be together 72. Here pupil needs a good memory in order to calculate.

Long-term memory

The poor long-term memory can affect the pupils recalling the formulae and algorithms. The many of the people load the information into their brains by memorizing that. The problems with long-term memory really discourage and frustrate the parents who are teaching their child to memorize until the perfection but the child remember that for one day he/she again forget the same thing.

Comprehension and language decoding

As every subject has its own terminology mathematics also has its own terminology. So the problems in decoding the language and poor comprehension skills affect the pupils in understanding the written problems in the mathematics.

Word skills

In order to solve a problem the pupil needs to understand the problem first. So, the pupil should be able to read the problem with accuracy and should maintain some speed while reading. The pupil with the difficulty in word skills may miss the key words which mean they understand the problem wrongly. This affects a wide range in the solving the problem.

Conceptual ability

The conceptual ability of pupils is assisted by the experience received and the range. As the dyslexic learners are very slower than non dyslexic learners they can practise less than others. A learner who fails in mathematics frequently has different experiences and less able to understand the rules and unable form the concepts.

Speed of information process

The normal class rooms maintain some speed in the lecture but the dyslexic learner has the low information processing ability. So, the dyslexic cannot reach the speed of the class. It seems to have insufficient practice. The dyslexic learner needs more time to understand the concepts.

Anxiety and self image

After covering all the above difficulties the dyslexic learner have the poor self-image and anxiety in mathematics. The self-image and anxiety is the cyclic problem like more failure, poor self-image, more failure, more anxiety, poor self-image, etc.