There is a good number of such assessment strategies now available to the classroom teacher in the detection of children's learning difficulties, especially dyslexia.
Dyslexia is sometimes defined as an impaired word and non-word reading ability, which problem is often inherited or genetic in origin (Grigorenko, 2001). In these cases, the problems of dyslexia on lack of phonological awareness, balance and automaticity are perceptible at an early age, such that failure to attend to children predisposed to dyslexia is inexcusable. The relevant literature says early palliative measures are most beneficial to society by teaching at-risk children early phonological awareness, motor skills, memory strategies and visualization techniques through games. If dyslexia cannot be prevented, these measures should at least minimize the damage of this learning difficulty on human motivation and self-esteem, whose effects could be permanent (Crombie).
The puzzle that drew the scientific and academic community into the study of dyslexia is the "unexplained" reading failure in children. For the most part, the puzzle remains unexplained insofar as scientific certitude and unanimity is concerned. As a result, the education sector is still unsure of how to detect and address dyslexia in a more efficient manner. One of the major difficulties is that children present inconsistent and contradictory profiles, such that there is no single test for dyslexia with a complete measure of certainty and reliability. What is being done is to build up innumerable bits of data until the picture becomes clear (Turner, 1997). With this method, assessment approaches have been developed to help teachers identify dyslexic children. This paper examines each of the available assessment packages to help classroom teachers detect dyslexia with more accuracy and confidence.
2. Learning Difficulties
A child is said to be a candidate for dyslexia when he performs poorly in phonetic reading, the most common sign of word reading difficulties in dyslexic children. Most hypotheses on phonological deficit attribute poor reading to an impaired phonological segmentation skill, which is also called phonological awareness deficit. This is because a phonological awareness deficit may affect different aspects of phonological processing. Thus, difficulty with the output and input phonology is apt to delay the acquisition of letter-sound corresponding rules or impair phoneme blending. This accounts for the persistent occurrence of non-word reading deficit in dyslexic children (Rack, et al., 1979). The ability of children to read nonsensical words is more indicative of the ability to read regular than irregular words. This suggests that at certain stages in reading development, a phonological recording strategy may be used to let the child read regular words as well as non-words.
When a child's phonological awareness is deficient, his phonological recording process is also likely to be flawed. Phonology refers to the sounds