Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children patient with dyslexia in the classroom

What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects approximately 10 percent of children. Those diagnosed with dyslexia have trouble connecting sounds to letter symbols. This affects the way children with dyslexia learn to read and spell. Fortunately, major strides have been made in understanding the language-based disorder, many of them at Scottish Rite Hospital. Children with dyslexia can learn to read and be successful despite their learning differences. 

Our Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia & Learning Disorders is named for Dr. Lucius Waites, who in 1965 established a program at Scottish Rite Hospital to identify and treat children with learning disorders, primarily dyslexia. The World Federation of Neurology met at Scottish Rite Hospital in 1968 and formulated the first consensus definition of developmental dyslexia. Our Center for Dyslexia is now internationally recognized in the field of learning disorders.

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT DYSLEXIA

Dyslexia is a word reading problem due to differences in the brain that make learning letter sounds difficult. Without adequate letter-sound knowledge, recognizing words in print is slow and inaccurate. The root cause is weak phonological, not visual, processing. This phonological weakness is with the sounds of language.

There is no single test for dyslexia. Dyslexia is identified by gathering information about all of the factors that influence reading development and measuring reading ability. Family, medical, social-emotional and school data include questionnaires, health records, behavior ratings, grades and academic testing. Adequate general intellectual functioning, oral language, vision and hearing are determined using prior results or direct assessment. The dyslexia evaluation includes tests of the root cause (phonological processing) and reading subskills (accuracy, speed, comprehension, spelling). A clinician, or assessment team, makes the diagnosis after studying all of the relevant information.

Intervention for dyslexia directly, explicitly and systematically teaches an awareness of the sounds of language, letter-sound associations, vocabulary and strategies for understanding written language. Guided, repeated practice enables the child to apply what they have learned efficiently. Intensity (e.g., smaller group size, extended length of sessions and treatment, more individualized lessons) is what distinguishes dyslexia intervention from regular reading instruction. Take Flight: A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia is the most recent treatment developed by the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia & Learning Disorders.

Our Center for Dyslexia’s research program focuses on the causes and treatment of dyslexia. Research projects have included studies on:
  • The effectiveness of the latest version of the curriculum, Take Flight: A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia (summary or full research report)
  • The effects of the curriculum taught in public schools
  • The long-term outcome of the center’s dyslexia intervention
  • The effectiveness of the center’s Dyslexia Training Program
  • The center’s research findings have been presented at the World Congress of Dyslexia, the annual conference of the International Dyslexia Association and the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading
  • The center’s research team has worked with UT Southwestern Medical Center, The University of Texas at Dallas and The University of Texas at Arlington; these collaborations have produced publications on mathematical disabilities and the neurobiology of dyslexia treatment response.