dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, dys what? ?· ©mind moves institute, johannesburg. 2015 1...
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Mind Moves Institute, Johannesburg. 2015
Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, dys WHAT?
In todays society where everything is moving at a faster pace, knowledge is often but the mere click
of a button away and humankind is becoming more intellectually advanced, the dyss are on the
increase. But what exactly is meant by all these dyss that we are hearing increasingly more about?
The prefix dys is derived from the Greek and refers to that which is bad or impaired (Stark, 2010).
In this article, the dys that has an influence on reading and spelling, will be discussed in more
Dyslexia is described in Stark (2010:7) as a neurological-functional problem as a result of a minimal
brain dysfunction and/or differential brain dysfunction which manifests as a specific learning
disorder relating to an inadequate ability to decode, encode and apply.
The result of this is a problematic reading ability (decoding), spelling ability (encoding) and writing
Dyslexia can be viewed as a reading and spelling disorder (De Jager, 2009).
Dyscalculia is a learning disorder affecting arithmetic calculations (Stark,
Dyspraxia refers to problems that are experienced with motor co-ordination
(Muter & Likierman, 2008).
Mind Moves Institute, Johannesburg. 2015 2
Dr Griffin classified three types of dyslexia:
1. What occurs in the brain when a child reads or writes? (Adapted from: Stark,
The eye receives a visual message which is converted into a nerve impulse. The nerve impulse moves to the occipital lobe.
From here the impulse is sent to the left angular gyrus. If the word is familiar to the child, a sight-sound match is made.
Whole-word conversion then occurs (sight reading), although this depends on whether the word has already been stored in the sight vocabulary.
When it is an unfamiliar word, Wernickes area is used for the phonetical (sound) decoding of the word.
The third area that is involved is the motor cortex. In the motor cortex, memory traces for the duplicating of letter forms are embedded; these are stored and then recalled when words are written down.
Normal readers use the left temporal hemisphere of the brain to decode words phonetically. In dyslexic individuals, the left part of the brain, associated with the phonetic decoding of words, functions ineffectively. These individuals then have the propensity to rely more on the right sections of the brain.
Lateral view of the brain as adapted from ADAM
Motor speech area of Broca
Temporal lobe Longitudinal fissure
Frontal Pre-motoric area
Reading comprehension area
Wernickes speech sensory area
Mind Moves Institute, Johannesburg. 2015 3
This process can be diagrammatically explained as follows:
The term sensory-motor is used in physical development, which forms the basis
for the childs overall development. Sensory refers to the senses and motor to
the muscles. All information from the environment is taken in through our
senses touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight (De Jager & Victor, 2013). This
information is taken to the brain via the inside senses, where it is then
processed. This processed information must then travel via the inside senses to
the muscles which must then react. Whenever any label contains the prefix
dys it means that the flow of information is severely disrupted either
between the input and processing phase or between the processing and output
phase (De Jager, 2009). This then results in the child experiencing problems
What this means is that before a child can be diagnosed with dyslexia,
his/her sensory, perceptual, cognitive and motor skills must be
And this is where parents play an important role.
Take note also that a child with a dominant left eye can also display signs of
dyslexia as a result of the left eyes natural propensity to read from right to
left (De Jager, 2009).
senses are the
Mind Moves Institute, Johannesburg. 2015 4
2. What can I do as a parent?
A multi-disciplinary approach from several professions is important when
investigating reading disability or any other conditions that are prefixed with dys.
Mind Moves and other activities for conditions that begin with dys
A routine eye test is important. Optometrists can exclude any underlying pathological causes for poor visual acuity.
Make sure that the primitive reflexes have been inhibited.
Read out aloud to your child every night.
Play a lot outside. Jump on a trampoline, climb on a jungle gym, build puzzles together. PLAY.
Systematically establish first gravitational security, then spatial orientation, rhythm and timing.
Cross the midline.
Learn about rhythm and timing.
Learn the days of the week, months of the year, seasons and how to tell time.
Play games that practise sequencing - like dominoes.
Mind Moves (De Jager, 2009) is a movement programme that parents and teachers can utilise on a
daily basis to develop brain pathways which can help learners improve their reading and spelling
The following Mind Moves for reading- and spelling skills can be done daily, 3 times per day, if
Rub the indentation just below the collar bone in line with the left eye
This exercise re-establishes the electrical flow via the vagus nerve (to the speech organs
and stomach) to help relax butterflies and talk with ease.
Massage both ear lobes simultaneously from top to bottom using circular
This move develops the near senses, auditory processing, auditory perception as
well as receptive language ability.
Mind Moves Institute, Johannesburg. 2015 5
Focus on the thumb held at elbow distance from the eyes. Move the thumb
upwards, first around the left eye and then around the right eye. Repeat five
times. Swop hands and repeat the same process, always first drawing a circle
around the left eye and then around the right eye.
This move stimulates the visual, auditory and kinesthetic receptive ability, while crossing the midline to integrate the left and right parts of the brain and body. It develops eye-hand coordination and visual integration
Keep the head straight. Look at one thumb, held at elbow distance from
the eyes. Move the thumb to the left (at nose level), and then slowly to
the right, crossing the visual midline. First do this with the eyes closed,
imagining the position of the thumb. Open the eyes and check whether
the eyes and thumb are in the same position. Repeat five times. Then
repeat five times with eyes open. Repeat exercise with thumb held up
and eyes turned up into a visual position (without turning the head), first
with eyes closed and then with eyes open. Repeat the exercise with the
thumb and eyes down into a kinesthetic position, first closed and then
open. Rub the hands together briskly and place the warm palms over the
eyes to relax them.
This move stimulates easy transition between visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning. It promotes eye-hand coordination and crossing the lateral midline.
Sources De Jager, M. 2009. Mind Moves moves that mend the mind. Johannesburg: Mind Moves Instituut. De Jager, M. 2011. Braindevelopment, MILESTONES and learning. BabaGym en Mind Moves Brainboosters. Johannesburg: Mind Moves Instituut. De Jager, M. & Victor, L. 2013. Play Learn Know. A child is a work in progress. Welgemoed: Metz Press. Blythe, S.G. 2009. Attention, Balance and Coordination. The A.B.C. of learning success. UK: Wiley-Blackwell. Muter, V. & Likierman, H. 2008. Dyslexia. A parents guide to dyslexia, learning difficulties. London: Vermilion. Stark, S. 2010. Disleksie. Vereeniging: Prestige Art Press.