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About Dyslexia and Learning Difficulties

The key symptoms of dyslexia are problems with decoding or single word reading and/or poor reading fluency and poor spelling. Phonological weaknesses, specific language-based learning difficulties or difficulties with Rapid Automatic Naming, are typically the underlying cause of the literacy problems associated with dyslexia.

Students with Dyslexia may present with other co-occurring conditions (such as a language disorder, ADHD or anxiety). However even in the absence of a co-occuring diagnosis, students with dyslexia typically read less than average readers and as a result are at risk of difficulties with comprehension, vocabulary, spelling and writing which become more severe over time as academic demands if school increase.

The problems associated with dyslexia are language-based, not visual and not related to cognitive skills or intelligence. Phonological processing problems are the principal cause of dyslexia. Phonological processing refers to the ability to analyse speech or spoken language, from identifying individual words, to word parts or syllables, and then into the smallest parts called phonemes or speech sounds. Some children may experience difficulty with Rapid Automatic Naming that can compound the challenge of learning to read.

Assessment and Support for Dyslexia in Children

When students continue to struggle with literacy skills despite the provision of additional high-quality, expert instruction using Response to Intervention (RTI)/Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS), a formal clinical evaluation is needed to determine if they have dyslexia.

In Australia, this assessment and diagnosis is typically completed by a registered Psychologist and the diagnosis will use the latest terminology according to Diagnostic Statistical Manual 5th Edition (DSM 5) which refers to Dyslexia as a Specific Learning Disorder in Reading.

Kathryn is highly experience helping students, classrooms, school leaders, teachers speech pathologists with dyslexia teaching strategies. She has learning techniques and methods which can assist with the learning difficulties associated with dyslexia. Kathryn also has extensive experience in the application process for HSC Disability Provisions and has supported many students to successfully obtain their required support for their final year examinations.

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