GCSE Books

Spelling Problems and Their Effects on Dyslexics


Addressing the problem

It would seem to be much more important to be able to read and write than to be concerned about how words are accurately spelt? Largely this is true.

It is more important to be able to read because without the skill of reading the whole world becomes closed off. It is also good for someone to be able to quickly express themselves in words without being inhibited by the fear of spelling words incorrectly.

It is easy now for a dyslexic person to hide their problems when so much is now done with computers and other digital devices which have spell checkers. There are times, of course, when computers etc. cannot be used and information has to be put in writing. Unfortunately however, whenever an idea is put into writing we are revealing a lot about ourselves to others, and it is the reaction of others which often causes a problem.

What does poor spelling reveal about a person?

In the first instance unless it is known that a person is dyslexic, they will be judged on many levels. It will indicate that they may not have read much in their life because the more someone reads the more words are seen and stored in the memory. If someone is deemed as not being ‘well read’ this can suggest that they may not have had a very good education. A piece of work poorly spelled may imply that this person doesn’t care much about how they present themselves to the world in their written work. All these observations are negative judgements that are being made about someone.

What effect does poor spelling have on the reader?

Remember that this is a situation where a dyslexic person is being judged in ignorance of this fact. Quite typically dyslexic spellings can be very bizarre. The errors may not bear any resemblance to the actual words in question. Also, as well as having spelling weaknesses, their handwriting skills are often poor as well. So anyone reading their written work is very quickly going to lose patience and become frustrated. If this person is going to be assessing what they are reading then these negative emotions are going to result in a downgraded assessment.

Poor spelling means lower exam marks

Poor exam results are likely to have a knock on effect with regards to securing a job. Similarly if an employer is inundated with applicants when advertising a post, it is unlikely that a poorly spelled, badly written application would get very far. So once more the dyslexic person would lose out.

It does sometimes happen that spelling errors are ignored, and the person known to be dyslexic is then judged on their strengths and not their weaknesses. Sadly this doesn’t happen as often as it should.

Why are dyslexics so poor at spelling?

It is because the linguistic centres in the brain do not function as efficiently as they should. Due to their genetic makeup the biochemical pathways that form memory are impaired and this is particularly noticeable with regard to reading and spelling words. In a typical classroom situation where the teachers have lots of pupils and a very lengthy teaching schedule to accomplish in an academic year, there is not the time to focus on pupils’ dyslexia. They are not given the right form of instruction and very quickly get left behind.

Unmet needs

There will be many floundering dyslexics who will never discover what they may have been really gifted at simply because their literacy requirements have not been met in class. They require a very structured, logical and repetitive type of teaching. A method that is multi-sensory, quick and effective. Such a teaching method does exist, and it has taken illiterate pupils and enabled them to reach potentials they never thought possible. Feedback is received from parents years later saying that their child has achieved A* in English GCSE, or that they have succeeded in getting a 1st class honours degree. It is of huge importance and benefit to all concerned, and society as a whole, that such methods exist and that they can make it possible for pupils and students to attain such results.

Original article written by Christine M Blance