Glossary of Dyslexia Terms
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a national law that protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability. In the educational setting this means that schools must allow certain accommodations based on a diagnosed condition that meets these qualifications. A 504 plan is part of regular education, not special education. For more information we recommend the Wrights Law website for a more detailed description.
This term applies to Orton-Gillingham instruction. It is different from tutoring.
Techniques and materials that allow individuals with LD to complete school or work tasks with greater ease and effectiveness. Examples include spellcheckers, tape recorders, and expanded time for completing assignments.
The ability to translate a word from print to speech, usually by employing knowledge of sound-symbol correspondences. It is also the act of deciphering a new word by sounding it out.
Dysgraphia is a difficulty in automatically remembering the sequence of muscle motor movements needed when writing. It is neurologically based and can range from mild to moderate. Dysgraphia typically is diagnosed with other symptoms of learning difficulties in written language. Symptoms include difficulty making letters and numbers, almost seeming to draw them, written work is sloppy and may show signs of erasures and uncertainties, and the quality of written work is well below the student’s verbal expression.
A language-based disability that affects both oral and written language. It may also be referred to as reading disability, reading difference, or reading disorder.
The ability to organize cognitive processes. This includes the ability to plan ahead, prioritize, stop and start activities, shift from one activity to another activity, and to monitor one’s own behavior.
The ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with proper expression and comprehension. Because fluent readers do not have to concentrate on decoding words, they can focus their attention on what the text means.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities. It addresses the educational needs of children with disabilities from birth to age 18 or 21. The latest revision of IDEA was in 2004.
An IEP is an Individualized Education Plan which is usually developed after a psycho-educational assessment is given which determines a learning disability. The IEP should give information to those providing instruction about how the student learns best, what accommodations should be provided and how progress should be determined. An IEP is required for qualifying students by IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act).
An evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner, who is not employed by the school district.
Providing direct, explicit instruction to students who are not making adequate progress in reading.
A disorder that affects people’s ability to either interpret what they see and hear or to link information from different parts of the brain. It may also be referred to as a learning disorder or a learning difference.
An educational approach that uses visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile cues simultaneously to enhance memory and learning. Links are consistently made between the visual (what we see), auditory (what we hear), and kinesthetic-tactile (what we feel) pathways in learning to read and spell. See Therapy page
This approach to language instruction dates back to Dr. Orton in the 1920s. Along with Anna Gillingham, an educator and psychologist, he developed a system of instruction which is language based (learning the “rules” of the English language and when to apply them), multisensory (uses auditory, visual, kinesthetic and tactile modalities), structured, sequential and cumulative (sound-symbol associations and linguistic rules are taught in a logical order with review of materials previously learned). Explicit instruction is emphasized. This approach has been validated to work for all children, but is needed for students with dyslexia.
The smallest unit of speech that serves to distinguish one sound from another.
The ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words. An example of how beginning readers show us they have phonemic awareness is combining or blending the separate sounds of a word to say the word (/c/ /a/ /t/ – cat.)
Phonics is a form of instruction to cultivate the understanding and use of the alphabetic principle. It emphasizes the predictable relationship between phonemes (the sounds in spoken language) and graphemes (the letters that represent those sounds in written language) and shows how this information can be used to read or decode words.
This type of assessment examines a person’s intellectual potential, developmental history, processing abilities and academic achievement to determine if they have a learning disability. This type of testing may be used to provide a “discrepancy model” identification of learning disabilities (intellectual potential is well above academic achievement) or a “differential diagnosis (looking for patterns of strength and weakness within the person’s testing profile and determining cause. The testing battery is extensive and takes several hours to complete. This testing may be done by a team consisting of a psychologist, academic diagnostician, speech-language therapist, audiologist and other related fields. This evaluation will allow someone who qualifies for a diagnosis of dyslexia to receive that diagnosis.
RtI is identified in the 2004 reauthorization of IDEA as a method to prevent academic failure through early intervention, frequent progress measurement, and increasingly intensive research-based instructional interventions for children who continue to have difficulty. Students who do not show a response to effective interventions are likely (or, more likely than students who respond) to have biologically-based learning disabilities and to be in need of special education. IDEA 2004 allows the use of RtI to identify students with learning disabilities and not to have to rely on the discrepancy method of identification. RtI is sometimes referred to as the Tier System (increasing intensity of intervention based on progress monitoring results).
A part of a word that contains a vowel or, in spoken language, a vowel sound (e-vent, news-pa-per).
The reason for reading; understanding what is read by reading actively (making sense from text) and with purpose (for learning, understanding, or enjoyment).
Vocabulary refers to the words a reader knows. Listening vocabulary refers to the words a person knows when hearing them in oral speech. Speaking vocabulary refers to the words we use when we speak. Reading vocabulary refers to the words a person knows when seeing them in print. Writing vocabulary refers to the words we use in writing.
Word attack is an aspect of reading instruction that includes intentional strategies for learning to decode, sight read, and recognize written words.
Working memory is another term for short-term (recent) memory. Working memory is a system for temporarily storing and managing the information required to carry out complex tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehending. Working memory is involved in the selection, initiation, and termination of storing and removing data.