Dyslexia has been defined as, “a disorder in children who, despite conventional classroom experience, fail to attain the language skills of reading, writing and spelling, commensurate with their intellectual abilities.” – World Federation of Neurology.
More recently, the British Dyslexia Association expanded upon this definition and described as:
“A complex neurological condition, which is constitutional in origin. The symptoms may affect various areas of learning and function and may be described as a specific difficulty in reading, spelling and written language. One or more of these areas may be affected: numeracy, notational skills (music), motor function and organisational skills. However, it is particularly related to mastering written language, although oral language may be affected to some degree.” – British Dyslexia Association
Research into dyslexia has been ongoing since the symptoms of ‘word blindness’ and problems of visual memory were first identified by Ophthalmologist Dr James Hinshelwood in the 1890s. During the last thirty years, research has converged on four main areas of difficulty, of which one or several may be present:
In 1996, researchers at the University of Sheffield concluded that:
“Children with dyslexia have deficits in phonological skills, speed of processing and motor skills. These deficits are characterised as problems in skill automisation, which are normally masked by the process of conscious compensation.” – Fawcett, Nicolson and Dean
When two or more of these symptoms are present, Neuro-Developmental Delay can be an underlying factor.
All academic learning is connected in some way to the functioning of the motor system. Reading is not a purely cognitive task; it requires eye movements. Writing involves hand-eye coordination with the automatic support of the postural system. Posture develops as a child gains control over balance and balance is dependent on a mature reflex system. Immaturity in the development of primitive and postural reflexes can therefore have a direct impact upon motor dependent skills and any academic learning that involves motor skills.
INPP cannot give a diagnosis of dyslexia
Whilst it cannot be said that all children who have been diagnosed as having dyslexia have NDD, NDD is sometimes an underlying factor in children who fail to respond to normal remedial invention (see Research page).
A diagnosis of dyslexia should only be given following a detailed assessment by a Chartered Educational Psychologist or one of the recognised dyslexia organisations. However, INPP specialises in the detection of NDD as an underlying factor in some cases of dyslexia, and the supervision of appropriate reflex stimulation and inhibition programmes, designed to correct the underlying dysfunctions.