What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia presents with different degrees of severity and is often accompanied by unique strengths and talents.

The diagnosis is clinical.
The treatment is educational.
The understanding is scientific.

Margaret Byrd Rawson



Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Annals of Dyslexia, 2003 (53)


  • Sometimes confuses letters, sounds and words: b/d, p/q, was/saw, on/no
  • Difficulty learning that letters make sounds and that those sounds are sequenced into words
  • Difficulty blending sounds into words
  • Inefficient decoding of sounds and words leading to difficulty in reading comprehension
Writing and Spelling
  • Difficulty hearing syllables within words and phonemes (sounds) within syllables
  • Difficulty visualizing the correct spelling of words
  • Does not seem to understand spelling rules or sentence structure
  • May have had difficulty learning to talk
  • May have had difficulty listening and following directions
  • May have difficulty remembering words
  • May have difficulty rhyming
  • May have difficulty sequencing: saying the alphabet, the days of the week, months of the year, counting or understanding concepts such as left/right

(Ten in Every Hundred, The International Dyslexia Association, 2005)

Neil is a different boy from a year ago, not only because his reading is starting to come along, but because he is enjoying school and, once again, believes he can learn and succeed. Honestly, the Claremont School has been a god-send for Neil.

— Gail Armstrong, Toronto, ON

Our mission is to teach students with dyslexia, so that they may fulfill their considerable potential and gain the skills and self-confidence needed for academic success.

— Evelyn Reiss

A warm and exceptional teacher, Evelyn provided a wonderful overview of the Orton-Gillingham approach in her Associate Level course. I consider it a privilege to have been her student.

— Avital (Tali) Kellerstein, Speech-Language Pathologist, Toronto, ON

Claremont has given my child the best possible learning environment. His learning is tailored to his strengths and he feels positive about himself and his capabilities. The learning at Claremont is structured but also flexible, allowing for my child to succeed.

— Sarah Knox

My grade 4 daughter is finally being taught in a way that she can learn. The school has been a gift for us all. The daily routines, the structured approach to reading and writing learning, and the positive environment with other kids like her have all been wonderfully helpful. It is a world of difference for us this year from her prior public school that just (tragically) did not have the adequate supports for her kind of learning.

— Sarah Richardson