East Lothian Council (like may local authorities) has adopted the following definition of dyslexia (British Psychological Society 1999):
This focuses on literacy learning at the “word” level – i.e. persistent difficulty with letter sounds, blended, syllabification and rhyme – and implies that the problem is severe and persistent despite appropriate learning opportunities. It provides the basis for a staged process of assessment through teaching.
This definition logically requires that three aspects be evaluated through the assessment process:
1. that the pupil is learning/has learnt accurate and fluent word reading and or spelling very incompletely;
2. that appropriate learning opportunities have been provided;
3. that progress has been made only as a result of much additional effort and instruction and that difficulties have, nevertheless, persisted.
Points to consider
Dyslexia occurs independently of learning ability. Children with learning difficulties can have dyslexia, as can those of high ability and everything in between. Dyslexia is also independent of social, ethnic and linguistic background. Decisions on identification must be made in the light of each individual child’s circumstances.