Another example of these variations can be found in Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia has a system of train-
ing special education teachers to work in all schools across the
country, but few resources for those teachers to use with chil-
dren with dyslexia, whereas Kuwait is developing resources,
but has few teachers trained to use them. Egypt could be con-
sidered similar to Kuwait in that tools are being developed and
there is a growing awareness of dyslexia and related learning
difficulties—indicated by the large number of meetings and
private organizations in Egypt focused on learning disabilities.
However, again, formal training of teachers is scarce or nonex-
istent. This can be contrasted with other countries across North
Africa where dyslexia, if recognized at all by governments or
the population, is typically covered along with more medical
disabilities or handicaps. Despite some variations, in the main,
the primary source of dyslexia-related resources is outside of
mainstream education—either in relatively rare special schools
or the private sector.
The Way Ahead
Clearly raising dyslexia awareness is vital if it is to be seen
as an important part of education. This needs to be done
through formal education, government policy, advocacy groups,
and professional organizations. Appropriate methods of assess-
ing and teaching the monolingual dyslexic Arabic child, which
address different learning strategies and techniques, need to be
developed. Some attempts at developing specific dyslexia-
friendly education tools and procedures, such as multisensory
approaches to teaching, are being undertaken across the Arab
world. There are also strategies to develop tools designed spe-
cifically for Arabic dyslexia assessment procedures, which in
the main focus on literacy and phonological processing (given
current evidence), but also take account of the features of the
Arabic language and its orthography. There is also an increase
in pan-Arabic work being undertaken, with groups from one
country supporting and benefiting from the efforts of another.
However, governments across the region will need to consider
adopting new laws and policies to support individuals with
specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, and there is
clearly a need for more funding in the field of dyslexia research
that informs practice. Overall, then, there is much work still to
be done, but there is a momentum that is encouraging to expe-
rience and which, if continued, should provide great advances
in the provisions available for the Arabic speaking dyslexic.
Abu-Rabia, S. (2007). The role of morphology and short vowelization in reading
Arabic among normal and dyslexic readers in grades 3, 6, 9, and 12. Journal of
Psycholinguistic Research, 36, 89–106.
Abu-Rabia, S., Share, D., & Mansour, M. S. (2003). Word recognition and basic cog-
nitive processes among reading-disabled and normal readers in Arabic. Reading
and Writing, 16, 423–442.
Abu-Rabia, S., & Siegel, L. S. (1995). Different orthographies different context
effects: The effects of Arabic sentence context in skilled and poor readers.
Reading Psychology 16, 1–19.
Al-Mannai, H., & Everatt, J. (2005). Phonological processing skills as predictors
of literacy amongst Arabic speaking Bahraini school children. Dyslexia, 11,
Elbeheri, G. (2004). Dyslexia in Egypt. In I. Smythe, J. Everatt, & R. Salter (Eds.),
The international book of dyslexia, 2nd edition. London: Wiley & Sons.
Elbeheri, G., & Everatt, J. (2007). Literacy ability and phonological processing skills
amongst dyslexic and non-dyslexic speakers of Arabic. Reading and Writing, 20,
Elbeheri, G., Everatt, J., Reid, G., & Al Mannai, H. (2006). Dyslexia Assessment in
Arabic. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 6, 143–152.
Goswami, U. (2000). Phonological representations, reading development and dys-
lexia: Towards a cross-linguistic theoretical framework. Dyslexia, 6, 133–151.
Ibrahim, R., Eviatar, Z., & Aharon-Peretz, J. (2002). The characteristics of Arabic
orthography slow its processing. Neuropsychology, 16, 322–326.
Mahfoudhi, A., Elbeheri, G., & Everatt, J. (in press). Reading and dyslexia in Arabic.
In G. Reid, G. Elbeheri, D. Knight, J. Wearmouth, & J. Everatt (Eds.), Dyslexia: A
handbook for research and practice. London: Routledge.
Saiegh-Haddad, E. (2005). Correlates of reading fluency in Arabic: Diaglossic and
orthographic factors. Reading and Writing, 18, 559–582.
Seymour, P. H. K., Aro, M., & Erskine, J. M. (2003). Foundation literacy acquisition
in European orthographies. British Journal of Psychology, 94, 143–174.
Smythe, I., Everatt, J., Al-Menaye, N., He, X., Capellini, S., Gyarmathy, E., et al. (in
press). Predictors of word level literacy amongst Grade 3 children in five diverse
languages. Dyslexia, 14, 170–187.
Gad Elbeheri, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Centre for
Child Evaluation and Teaching, Kuwait. Dr. Elbeheri obtained
his Ph.D. from the U.K. where he studied the manifestations
of dyslexia in Arabic. His research interests include cross-
linguistic studies of developmental dyslexia and other spe-
cific literacy related learning disabilities as well as predictors
of literacy ability among Arabic speaking individuals.
Abdessatar Mahfoudhi, Ph.D., is a Consultant to the Center
for Child Evaluation and Teaching, Kuwait. His research
focuses on literacy development and dyslexia in Arabic.
Prior to coming to Kuwait, he lectured at King Saud
University, Saudi Arabia; Ottawa University, Canada; and
Kairawan University, Tunisia.
John Everatt, Ph.D., is Professor of Education at the
University of Canterbury, New Zealand. His research focus-
es on literacy learning and learning difficulties, particularly
dyslexia. Before moving to New Zealand, he lectured in
areas related to psychology and education at the University
of Surrey and before that the University of Wales, Bangor.
A major part of his published works and presentations cover
dyslexia assessment in different languages.
Correspondence may be sent to Dr. Gad Elbeheri, Center
for Child Evaluation and Teaching, Kuwait.
12 Perspectives on Language and Literacy Winter 2009 The International Dyslexia Association
Perspectives from the Arab World continued from page 11