Approaching Dyslexia and Multiple Languages

Dr. Gilda Palti

Dyslexia involves these accumulation and interaction of multiple cognitive risks. Bilingualism has been considered to be an additional risk factor for dyslexic pupils.

Research has shown that the same cognitive inefficiencies count for, or help identify; dyslexia in the first and other languages. Among these are deficiencies in phonological awareness and processing, fluency and retrieval speeds, and short term and working memory skills.

Given that similar cognitive processes apply across languages, the provision for supporting dyslexic pupils in the main language could also be applied to the other languages, as knowledge is transferable between the languages.

Some specific cognitive and linguistic advantages that are found in bilingual or multi-lingual pupils could be used to facilitate support for dyslexic pupils, in other languages. These include: cognitive control and supervisory attentional system, problem solving and creative thinking, metalinguistic awareness, and conceptual transfer (Bialystok, 2001).

The environmental experience of using multiple languages provides significant practice in the attention and inhibition centres and promote their development. These cognitive skills can facilitate the learning process for dyslexic pupils in other languages.



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