Difficulties R&W

Example of a visual school timetable:

horario escolar visual.png

11 August 2016

The last topic of the course is dedicated to technological aids

tech aids 1

Some accomodations are usually (or should be allowed) for dyslexic students, such as:

  • allowing more time (classwork, tests, exams…)
  • Bigger font
  • use of computer
  • giving definitions for specific vocabulary
  • usually dyslexics use only one side of the paper
  • be tolerant when evaluating regarding spelling mistakes – dictation is a nightmare for them – don’t abuse on this sort of exercises
  • read aloud each question, in every discipline, tape record, allow repetition
  • give sumaries of lessons
  • highlight correct words (for self-esteem)

As technology advances rapidly it is expected that many more apps will appear for free. Mobile technology provides already many accessibility tools and operating systems allow many accessibility configurations. Text to speech is a tool already offered in many operating systems, at least for some languages) which is very useful for dyslexic people.

Uma barra de ferramentas livre que incorpora texto-voz – ATbar.org (embora pressuponha que exista uma voz instalada)


Other free tools :

Evernote.com (annotation links)

Trello.com (Project and team management

Tools that help people to organize themselves may help dyslexics as well.

Mindmapsping tools: http://www.inspiration.com/Kidspiration (comercial with free trials)

O simples uso do computador para quem grafias muito irregulares pode ser um grande facilitador.

The use of computer can be a great facilitator for people with very irregular writing, as word predictors that may presente a set of words for choice after writing a first letter.

3 August 2016

Websites recommended on strategies for reading and writing:



23 July 2016

In the scope of dys-constellation, dyspraxia relates to motor coordination disorders which might be seen as «clumsiness», having difficulties to hold a pencil, bumpring on things, etc.

This video of the University of Oxford Brooks shows the research and lab tests to identify coordination movement problems

22 July 2016

In week 3 vídeos an intervention by Prof. Linda Siegel, canadian researcher in special needs in the Univertity of British Columbia speaks about the impacts of learning disabilities/dyslexia. Her intervention highlights the costs in justice system instead of early intervention in children who are dyslexic and become frustrated and excluded anf fall sometimes in delinquacy. She establishes a link between people incarcerated and high levels of illiteracy.

There are a few interventions in Youtube like this one:

Another interesting intervention in this week’s videos was that of Prof. John Stein stressing the positive capacity of dyslexics for visual tasks, the fact that they usually have better capacity for 3D, and he establishes a link to some professions and activities where dislexics are successful such as architecture and visual arts. I found this video in Youtube about The Gift of Dyslexia –

21 July 2016

A portuguese video animation  with basic general information on Dyslexia


20 July 2016

19 July 2016

My attempts to search instruments in portuguese to identify dyslexia:

Questionário para adultos – http://ipodine.pt/teste-rapido-de-dislexia-para-adultos/

Verbal tests – https://dislexicos.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/dislexia_-_testes_exercicios_e_jogos_verbais.pdf

Notation sheet – https://dislexicos.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/discrinacao-auditiva-2.pdf –

Check-list language observation – https://dislexicos.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/avaliacao-da-linguagem-isabel-amaral.pdf

Metalinguistic test – https://dislexicos.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/avaliacao-metalinguistica-sim-sim.pdf

Apresentação brasileira com um conjunto de testes – http://docslide.com.br/documents/atividade-dislexia.html

Visual perception test – http://www.slideshare.net/Fmbmrd/prova-percepo-visual

Phonological activities (Esc.Sup.Setúbal) – http://www.slideshare.net/inezzitah/actividades-de-emergncia-da-conscincia-fonolgica

Outros recursos:

Example of a portuguese  Individual Educational Programme for a student with dyslexia – http://www.slideshare.net/leontina/pei-exemplo-dislexia


Working sheets – http://www.slideshare.net/anapsp/dislexia-fichas-de-reeducao

Tests – http://pt.slideshare.net/dulce910/dislexia-testes-exercicios-e-jogos-verbais

Dyslexia – diagnostic criteria – http://dislexia.pt/diagnostico/

Spanish resources:

Tests – https://picasaweb.google.com/105307250028602473748/DislexiasI#

https://picasaweb.google.com/105307250028602473748/DislexiasIIIII# https://picasaweb.google.com/105307250028602473748/DislexiasIIIII#

18 July 2016

Reding Difficulties diagram

17 July 2016

A number of tests were made available in the course for assessment of the child

Regular words

Irregular words


Non-word repetition task

Rapid naming test

Eye tracking test (‘Bell’ test’)

Visual discovery: ‘f’

Tracking training: ‘f’s

‘Dotting test’

Colored-lined paper

Phonics Progression Charts

Resources to read:

16 July 2016

Identification of children with dyslexia in pre-primary:

Check the hereditary factor, if parents were identified with dyslexia or have/had any difficulties in R&W;
Difficulty to establish manual preference – ambidestrousness;
Persistent confusion between left and right on the child;
Inability to appreciate rhymes in nursery rhymes and in songs;
Difficulty to follow a rhythm and to reproduce it;
Difficulty in naming objects

Difficulty in following a sequence of instructions;
Difficulty in producing sounds in the wrong order;
Lack of organization;
Constant loss of personal items;
Difficulty with time and space.

Identification of children with dyslexia in primary:

Auditory confusion between similar phonemes for example ‘b’ is going to be perceived, is going to be processed, as ‘d’ or ‘p’, which are very similar phonemes;
Visual confusion between letters, between graphemes, which are similar. Do not forget that this confusion can be from left to right, for example, ‘b – d’, ‘p – q’, but also from top to bottom, for example, the ‘n – u’, ‘m – w’, ‘f – t’;
Inversion between letters or syllables;
Addition of letters, syllables, or affixes;
Omissions of elements of the words;
Substitution of words, guessing of words;
Contraction or de-contraction, misusing the word boundaries.

These type of mistakes should not be considered individually. Many children are guessing words at the beginning of the learning to read and write. But, again, you will see a combination, you will see a recurrence despite your correction, and you will see a persistency over time of these mistakes.

Some tests teachers can do to identify if a child is dyslexic:

GENERATION task – containing the same ending, the same final syllable, or rime as a target word. Example, with a syllable: ‘Can you give me a word starting with pie, as in pilot?’ An answer could be ‘pirate’, ‘pineapple’, would rime as you see in the film. You may tell me a word ending like in ‘blap’ or several words.

DETECTION task – Here, it is more complicated because you give three words to the child and the child has to retain the three words in memory and to find the odd one out. For example, you can say, ‘which word does not start the same way as the two others, ‘market’, ‘margin’, ‘viscount’. The answer is ‘viscount’.

BLENDING task – In this task, you ask the child to put linguistic units together.A few examples with syllable, onset-rime, and phoneme. Syllable: ‘please tell me the whole world when you join together ‘tay lay vi shion’. The answer is ‘television’.

SEGMENTATION task this game, In this situation, you provide the child with a full word and you ask the child to divide the word into syllables, onset/rimes or phonemes.

DELETION task, which is still more difficult than all the previous ones, because here the child really has to manipulate the phonemes. You asked a child to delete a linguistic unit and to say what remains in the word. For example, with a syllable, ‘please say ‘cabin’, now say it again without ‘k’. What remains?’ ‘bin’. With the phoneme: ‘please say ‘meat’, now say it again without the ‘m’. What remains?’ ‘eat’.

SUBSTITUTION task – The child is required here to substitute, one linguistic unit for another. Let me give you two examples, with the onset: ‘listen to this, ‘track’. Now what would happen to ‘track’ if I replace ‘tr’ with ‘cr’?’ The word is ‘crack’. With the phoneme: ‘listen to the following, ‘pat’. What happens to ‘pat’ if I replace ‘p’ with ‘b’?’ (It) is going to give the word ‘bat’.

15 July 2016

Definition of Dyslexia – it is a neurologically-based condition, which is often hereditary. It results in problems of (1) reaging, (2) writing, (3)spelling, and is often associated with difficulties in concentration, short-term memory and organization.

Dyslexia is not the result of stupidity, it is not caused by poor schooling, poor home background, poor motivation for learning and it does not clinically manifest with poor sight hearing or muscle control although it may occur with these conditions’.

OMS definition of Dyslexia – A disorder manifested by difficulty learning to read, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence and sociocultural opportunity. It’s dependent upon fundamental cognitive disabilities which are frequently of constitutional origin.

Resources of module 2

Dr Ken Pugh of Haskins Laboratories, USA, ‘Embracing dyslexia‘, 2014

Common patterns of mistakes and behaviors

Fluency Norms Chart – This is from the USA and may need to be adapted to your own country. If you know any trustworthy, open-source charts in your country please post the link(s) in a Discussion.

14 July 2016

A few notes from watching the videos:

Oral acquisition of a language is a natural thing that happens to the child where s/he imitates in the respective environment, while written language requires an intervention from someone else. The brain is not prepared for written language as it happens in oral language.

Models of reading:

Logographic model – the child only understand the visual sign in an initial stage, doesn’t distinguish letters (in the case of alphabetic languages)

Auditory and Visual models – Visual stimuli will give place to auditory stimuli in a later stage, relation between the letter and respective sound, identification of grapheme and phonemes. The process is a complex system of connections.



Process of «lexicalization», the repetition will lead to a memorizing into an automatism of recognition of the word, converting s/he into a fluent reader.


In dyslexic readers decoding is not automatic, which requires a lot of attention to identify the word and meaning.

With migrations and travelling bilingualism becomes mainstream rather than exception. There are, however, great differences between certain languages, such as alphabetic languages and ideographic ones like chinese.

The acquisition of a second language is notoriously difficult for a dyslexic learner, although for some the acquisition of oral language is not so difficult as written language, so the strategy for a dyslexic person to learn a second language is to learn the oral first and after its acquidition to learn the written.

Tranparent languages are normally easier to learn because their graphemes correspond regularly to the repective phonemes, that happens with italian, spanish, german, dutch- Other languages display a writing system that is opaque, the same phoneme can be spelled in many different ways – english is the most opaque alphabetic language followed by french.

In principle, dislexic people will have less difficulty acquiring a «transparent language» rather than an «opaque» one, however other factors may intervene such as the motivation to learn the language.

13 July 2016



Teaching the brain to read

Spelling and spelling reform

Article by Professor Horobin on ‘English Spelling: past, present and future

How the Brain Learns to Read, 2013, lecture by Professor Stanislas Dehaene on YouTube. (With some wonderful graphics; recommended from 0:15 – 17:00)

Dyslexia International – Language reports for the World Dyslexia Forum in 2010 about Arabic, Chinese, French, English, Spanish and Russian

The reference in the first lecture on ‘Writing Systems’ is Seymour, P. H. K., Aro, M.,& Erskine, J. M. (2003). ‘Foundation literacy acquisition in European orthographies’. British Journal of Psychology, 94(2), 143-174.

SEDL: The Cognitive Foundations of Learning to Read: A Framework

  • ‘Overview’ and ‘The Cognitive Elements of Reading’

In Module 2

We recommend this talk on YouTube by Dr Ken Pugh of Haskins Laboratories, USA, ‘Embracing dyslexia‘, 2014

Common patterns of mistakes and behaviors

Fluency Norms Chart – This is from the USA and may need to be adapted to your own country. If you know any trustworthy, open-source charts in your country please post the link(s) in a Discussion.

SEDL: The Cognitive Foundations of Learning to Read: A Framework

  • ‘Reading Assessment Techniques’

In Module 3

We recommend this blog by Professor Dorothy Bishop, University of Oxford, UK. Scroll down to ”Language impairment, dyslexia and related disorders’

‘Hearing in Noise’ – Slideshow by the team of Professor Nina Kraus, Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, Northwestern University, USA

You may be interested in the following:

Music and the Brain‘ – Slideshow by the same team

Beat synchronization and reading readiness in preschoolers‘ – commentary on a recent scientific paper by colleagues of Kraus

Music and Language: blog by Dr Victoria Williams (Jenny is mentioned!)

This PLoS open paper is about training of children to keep a beat.


For the enthusiastic:

Scientific papers (or summaries). All are open access:

Extra-large letter spacing improves reading in dyslexia – Facoetti, Ziegler and others

Action Video Games Make Dyslexic Children Read Better – Facoetti and others

A Causal Link between Visual Spatial Attention and Reading Acquisition – Facoetti and others. You may need to be an institution to access the whole paper.


Mind map – ‘Reading difficulties’

Professor Rod Nicolson – ‘Positive dyslexia’ – Lecture on YouTube

In Module 4

UNESCO: Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education

The Great Debate’ – Professor José Morais on the ‘global’ method. (You should read this better to answer one of the questions!)

The national reports on reading:

The Rose Report, UK

The National Reading Panel, US

The report from Belgium (in French)

The INSERM Report, France (in French)

SEDL: The Cognitive Foundations of Learning to Read: A Framework

  • ‘Instructional Activities’

In Module 5

Mnemonics for ‘eye’ and number names

Steve Chinn on maths

Sitting posture and pencil grip

SEDL: The Cognitive Foundations of Learning to Read: A Framework

In Module 6

Mind-mapping (Buzan)

Eric’s testimony about timetables

Some technology sites

Mind map – ‘Support’

12 July 2016

Glossary made available in the course:

Acquired dyslexia: a condition in which a person loses the ability to read and write as a result of damage to the brain.

Allophonic variation*: variations in vocal output for a phoneme which are not pertinent to the sense, e.g., the /a/ in /bar/, /kar/ and /far/ are slightly different acoustically due to co-articulation* with the preceding phoneme, but these differences are not perceived by the non-dyslexic learner.

Alphabetic principle*: principle linking spoken and written language in languages which have a written alphabetical system. The units of the written system, the graphemes, by and large represent spoken sequences corresponding roughly to phonemes.

Assessment: used in this course in the broad sense of observation not the technical sense of diagnosis.

Co-articulation*: an effect of pronunciation caused as the vocal tract re-positions itself to articulate spoken sequences of phonemes, resulting in a partial overlapping of these phonemes because the flow of air expired as we speak is continuous.

Developmental dyslexia*: a neurobiological condition, often inherited, shown by difficulties in reading, spelling and composition of text, despite a normal or superior level of intelligence.

Decoding system*: reading system allowing the identification of written sequences by segmentation into graphemes, ‘transcoding’ each grapheme into its corresponding phoneme, and concatenation or fusion of the phonemes generated. (The instructors sometimes use the single word ‘decoding’ in a broader sense simply to mean ‘word recognition’.)

Direct access system*: system allowing the identification of familiar written words by activation of their orthographic and phonological representations stored in long-term memory.

DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Referred to by Vincent in ‘Dyspraxia’. You do not need to know about this.

Dyscalculia: a neurobiological condition which affects the capacity to acquire arithmetical abilities and numeric cognitive skills.

Dysphasia or Specific Language Impairment (SLI): neurobiological condition which affects the development of oral language. It is frequently accompanied by difficulties in reading and spelling.

Dyspraxia or impairment of motor coordination: developmental condition which affects coordination, balance, fine motor skills, language, thought and perception.

GPC: short for grapheme-phoneme correspondences.

Grapheme*: symbol used in written alphabetic systems to represent phonemes. May be a single letter (e.g., ‘p’, ‘t’, ‘b’, etc.) or group of letters (e.g., ‘sh’, ‘ch’, ‘ight’, etc.).

Hyperkinaesthesia or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): neurobiological condition caused by a disturbance of the cerebral ‘higher level’ executive functions which control behavior and attention.

Ideographic writing system*: writing systems in which the correspondence between spoken and written language is made at the level of idioms (words or concepts), as for example in Chinese. Such writing systems are also sometimes referred to as logographic.

Irregular word*: word containing one or more irregular grapheme-phoneme correspondences, that is to say one or more graphemes which are not pronounced as in the majority of words and/or one or more phonemes which are not written as in the majority of words.

Lexicalization error*: type of error made when reading by offering a real word for a pseudoword. Shows that the system for direct access is being over-exploited.

Logographic writing system*: see ideographic writing system.

Matthew effect: name given by Keith Stanovich (1986) to the vicious circle by which the ‘the rich get richer and the poor poorer’, leading to a more and more serious divergence in reading development between those who read well and those who do not.

Metacognition*: self-monitoring of one’s processes used to perform, and succeed in, a task. When reading a text, metacognitive processes involve thinking about the strategies which are efficient for achieving comprehension.

Morpheme*: minimal unit of signification. A distinction is made between grammatical morphemes (e.g., ‘-s’ marks the third person of the singular of verbs) and lexical morphemes (e.g., ‘rest’ and ‘less’ in ‘restless’)

Onset*: phonological unit consisting of the consonant(s) which precede(s) the vowel in a syllable, e.g., in the word /trap/, the onset is /tr/. The onset is complementary to the rime.

Orthographic*: the way in which the language is written. The orthographic stage in reading is when the pupil has stored the word in his or her ‘orthographic lexicon’ and can access it fast and accurately.

Percentile: one of 99 values dividing a series of data into 100 similar (or nearly similar) groups, which permits an estimation for the position of an individual in relation to others in the group sampled for the test. For example, if a learner has a reading performance corresponding to the percentile 23, this means that 77 % of the learners of the same age display a higher performance than this learner in the same test.

Phoneme*: the smallest unit of speech in a language capable of altering the meaning of a word.

Phonemic awareness*: awareness that spoken words can be analysed into phonemes.

Phonological abilities*: processing skills in analysing sequences of speech into phonological units (syllables, onset/rime units and phonemes), and the ability to manipulate these units.

Phonological awareness*: awareness that spoken phrases and words can be analyzed into phonological units smaller than words.

Phonological dyslexia*: A dyslexic subtype where the decoding system appears deficient, whilst the direct access system remains intact.

Phonological units*: units into which sequences of words can be analysed. The three principal units are the syllable, onset/rime, and phoneme.

Pseudoword*: sequence of graphemes or phonemes which does not form an actual word in the language, but can be pronounced or spelled as if it were a word of the language.

Regular word*: word in which the grapheme-phoneme correspondences are not ambiguous or, more precisely they correspond exactly and reciprocally, that is to say each grapheme corresponds systematically to the same phoneme, and the other way round.

Regularization*: type of mistake in reading or spelling an irregular word as if it is a regular word. Indicates overexploitation of the decoding system.

Rhyme*: word ending with the same rime as another word, e.g., in a nursery rhyme or a song. Not to be confused with the rime (see below).

Rime*: phonological unit consisting of the vowel and any possible following consonant of a syllable, e.g., in the word /trap/, the rime is /ap/. The rime is complementary to the onset.

Sequencing ability*: ability to memorize, recall and manipulate arbitrary sequences of items (alphabet, days, months, numbers).

SES: Socio-economic Status

Standard deviation (SD): measure of the spread of a series of results around their mean.

Standardized test: test applied to a representative group of individuals of a particular age or age range, from the results of which statistical values for the mean and deviation can be derived. Allows the prediction of a performance expected of individuals of the same age(s).

Syllable*: unit of pronunciation forming a word or part of a word, consisting of a vowel and usually at least one consonant preceding or following it.

11 July 2016

Supporting Children in Reading and Writing is an online course in the scope of Dyslexia, promoted by the University of London in Coursera Platform that started in the first week of July 2016 – https://www.coursera.org/learn/dyslexia-difficulties/lecture/QNZ8z/introductory-video

The course seems to be running from other previous editions, considering the posts of the forum area dating back to more than one year ago.

Week 1 – An overview

All quizzes (tests) are obligatory for the Course Certificate.

Writing systems; models of reading acquisition (the ‘decoding’ and ‘direct’ paths); the importance of automatization; bilingualism

Week 2 – Definitions and identification of dyslexia

Causes; identification; numerous activities include simple methods of observation (not formal diagnosis)

Week 3 – ‘Co-morbidity’, and psychological and social aspects

The ‘dys’-constellation (dyspraxia, dyscalculia etc); audition; vision; loss of self-esteem; long-term effects of school drop-out and antisocial behaviour – evidence from Canada; ‘positive’ aspects of dyslexia and unusual aptitudes; discussion around pros and cons of ‘labelling’ a child

Weeks 4 and 5 – Practical teaching approaches

General principles of inclusion; structured, multisensory, phonics-based and metacognitive approaches; summaries of recent influential reports of best practice from Belgium, France, the UK and USA; applying these approaches across the curriculum; learning styles; reading, spelling, comprehension and composition; visualization and mind-mapping

Week 6 – Study skills, aids and accommodations

Attention, memory and organization; technological aids especially for reading and writing; examples of accommodations for formal assessments and examinations