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Dyslexia in languages other than English

Dyslexia exists in all languages and cultures; however, the degree to which the dyslexic learner may be affected is, to an extent, determined by the orthographic complexity of the language they are learning. Languages which are transparent (i.e. which have regular phoneme – grapheme correspondences) are likely to cause fewer problems for the dyslexic learner than those which are opaque (i.e. which feature irregular spellings and combinations of letters).

Children learning transparent languages, such as Italian, Spanish or German, are less likely to experience entrenched problems with decoding and encoding than those who are learning an opaque language such as English. Instead, these children may work at a slower rate than their peers but are likely to be able to achieve good levels of accuracy (Brunswick, N. ed. (2010) Reading and Dyslexia in Different Orthographies. Hove, Psychology Press).

The COST study (Seymour et al, 2003) examines the reading skills acquisition of children in 13 European languages and finds clear evidence to support the hypothesis that orthographic depth affects literacy learning.

For a report on Dyslexia and Multilingualism see : 'Dyslexia and Multilingualism: Identifying and supporting bilingual learners who might be at risk of developing SpLD/dyslexia'.

International organisations such as the International Dyslexia Association , Dyslexia International, and the European Dyslexia Association may be useful starting points for finding out more about support for dyslexic learners in countries other than the UK.

The following links provide further information about dyslexia and language:-

The myths and truths of dyslexia

Dyslexia across languages and writing systems

theguardian.com 'Dyslexia has a language barrier'