Dyslexia Series: Dyseidetic Dyslexia


Not all dyslexia manifests itself in the same way in individuals. It is a vastly differentiated condition that affects a wide spectrum of abilities and to various degrees, and as you will find elsewhere on this website, there are different subtypes of dyslexia that are specific to people with visual or auditory problems in particular.

Dyseidetic dyslexia (also called visual or surface dyslexia) describes a person who struggles with the decoding or spelling of words due to the great difficulty they have picturing words in their mind. This especially goes for irregular words and sight-words. Though they struggle with visual processing, working memory, and the sequencing of letters and words, people with dyseidetic dyslexia often have worthy auditory processing skills and a good understanding of phonics. Typically, these people have little to no difficulty spelling and identifying long words that are phonetically regular; instead, it is the small, irregular words that present problems—for example, what, the, talk, and does. There is also strong evidence suggesting that this type of visual dyslexia is genetic in nature.

Implications of Dyseidetic Dyslexia in the Classroom

Students with dyseidetic dyslexia often reverse words or letters when reading as well as display writing and spelling difficulties in schoolwork. Their sight vocabulary is typically very limited—few words are automatically recognized. The students usually have to sound them out arduously every time. And while reading, these students will experience trouble losing their place in the text, as they struggle to recognize what has already been read. They will omit, insert, or substitute words or letters in their reading or writing and will often get frustrated at their slow, laborious speed. As with most forms of dyslexia, students will sometimes suffer from lack of self-esteem or confidence in the classroom and will require individualized education programs that allow them the support and attention they need to succeed.

Students with dyseidetic dyslexia often struggle with

  • Whole-word recognition

  • Confusion of letters that are similar in orientation (for example, b and d, p and q)

  • Confusion of words that can be reversed (for instance, dog and god)

  • Sight vocabulary

  • Omitting, inserting, or substituting letters or words in reading or writing

  • Losing their place while reading

  • Learning irregular sight-words

  • Recall and retrieval of images of words in their minds

  • Remembering the shapes of letters while writing

Effective Strategies

Practice whole-word and sight-word recognition skills daily. Phonics-based instruction for reading and spelling is ineffective with students with dyseidetic dyslexia, because in most cases, their understanding of phonics is already quite good.

Use flash cards to drill lexical (or whole word) skills.

Allow extra time in exams or for homework.

Time their reading to help build up speed and confidence identifying sight-words.

Use sentence completion activities in which the student must choose from among multiple answers to finish the sentence.

Practice spelling words orally before transferring them onto paper for use with reading or writing.

Consider allowing students to submit alternatives to writing assignments (for example, oral presentations).

Allow students the use of audio-recorders in lieu of note-taking in class.

Helpful Resources

If your child is struggling with dyseidetic dyslexia, here are some additional resources that may be able to help:

  • The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child's Confidence and Love of Learning by Ben Foss

  • Learning and Learning Difficulties: Approaches to Teaching and Assessment by Peter Westwood

  • Dyslexia Reading Well: http://www.dyslexia-reading-well.com/surface-dyslexia.html

  • Dyslexia Online: http://dyslexia.learninginfo.org/

  • Learning Disabilities Online: www.ldonline.org/

Tennessee Dyslexia Centers is here for you and can help your struggling reader. We are equipped to work with all ages and have the ability to increase your child's reading skills drastically. Contact our office for a free consultation today! 615-236-6483 | tndyslexiac@gmail.com

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