The Vocabulary of Dyslexia Diagnosis and Treatment

As a parent navigating dyslexia diagnosis and treatment for your child, you’ll want to become fluent in terminology school administrators and medical professionals typically use in medical reports and individualized learning plans.  Familiarizing yourself with the list of terms below is a good place to start.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on disability, including against those who are dyslexic. Learn more about how dyslexia is covered in the ADA.

Dyslexia: Dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader. It is most commonly due to a difficulty in phonological processing (the appreciation of the individual sounds of spoken language), which affects an individual’s ability to speak, read, spell, and often, learn a second language. Dyslexia is highly prevalent, affecting 20% of population. Dyslexia represents 80-90 percent of all learning disabilities and differs from the others in its specificity and scientific validation. While those with dyslexia are slow readers, they also, paradoxically, often are very fast and creative thinkers with excellent reasoning skills.

Evidence-based interventions are interventions that have been examined in actual clinical trials, the most rigorous being a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial comparing one intervention to a different intervention or to a current intervention. Such a clinical trial provides proof or “evidence” of the effectiveness of an intervention, hence, an evidence-based intervention.

Research-based interventions have theoretic support and often serve as the basis for generating hypotheses that are then tested by clinical trials to determine if the specific treatment is, indeed, effective.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): The IDEA is a federal law that sets specific standards for the education of those with learning disabilities, including dyslexia.

Individualized Education Program (IEP): An IEP (part of the IDEA) is a document that is developed for each public school child who needs special education, usually by a team consisting of the child’s parents, teachers and school administrators.

Phoneme: Phonemes are the units of sound that distinguish one word from another. Phonemes are critical to reading and understanding language, but dyslexics often have trouble recognizing and differentiating between them, which can make it difficult to learn to read.

Phonemic awareness: Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate individual sounds or phonemes in spoken words. Before children are able read print, they must be aware of how the sounds in words work. Dyslexics often struggle to develop phonemic awareness.

Phonological awareness: Phonological awareness, a more general term than phonemic awareness, refers to the brain activity that allows one to understand, distinguish and recall sounds at the sentence, word, syllable and including phoneme, level.

Reading Fluency: Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, rapidly and with expression (prosody). Fluency allows readers to progress from mere word recognition to full reading comprehension. When readers are fluent, they can recognize words automatically and group words quickly for comprehension.

Scroll to Top