Psycholinguistics – What is Dyslexia?


Dyslexia is originally from Greek; “dys” means lack of or difficult and “lexia or lexicon” means pertaining the words (Mississippi Department of Education, 2002: 1). According to Mississippi Law (in Mississippi Department of Education, 2002: 2) “dyslexia means a language processing disorder that may be manifested by difficulty in processing expressive or receptive, oral or written language despite adequate intelligence, educational exposure, and cultural opportunity”. Thus, it argues that dyslexia is not only about language disorder but also learning disability. Hudson, High, and Al Otaiba (2007) argue that, dyslexia is a specific learning disability in reading that often affects spelling as well. Specifically, learning disability (LD) is specific learning disability (SLD) (Wilmshurst, 2005: 209).

According to IDEA (Individual with Disability Education Act) (1999) specific learning disability (SLD) means “a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological process involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, in which the disorder may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematic calculations” (as cited in Wilmshurst, 2005: 211).

In short, dyslexia is a kind of learning disability or specific learning disability. It is caused by the corpus callosum which does not work well and then the brain forces right brain to be used more than left brain to recognize and process letters, images, symbols, and concepts. In addition, dyslexia is not only about reading disorder but also writing disorder and arithmetic disability.

Based on function impairment, dyslexia is divided into three types such as visual dyslexia, auditory dyslexia and visual-auditory dyslexia (Letchumy, 2008).


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