Dyslexia: Things you need to know

Dyslexia is a learning disability that impairs the ability of a person to read and write.

Dyslexia includes the manner in which the brain processes graphical images and word sounds. This also affects word recognition, pronunciation, and the ability to match sound letters.

Although it is a neurological condition, there is no connection between dyslexia and intelligence.

Dyslexia is prevalent. Many experts believe that it is 5-10% of population, while others say that it is 17% of people.

Receiving a diagnosis, advice, and early-age support that help to reduce the condition’s impact.

This article will take a close look at the causes, effects, and treatment of dyslexia in adults and children.

What is dyslexia?

A man reading
A person with dyslexia may have trouble reading aloud

Dyslexia affects the way the brain processes written materials, making the word recognition, spelling and decoding more difficult.

The signs of dyslexia differ from individual to individual. People with the condition typically have trouble reading and communicating correctly, without making mistakes. We may have trouble understanding what they are hearing, too.

Neurological condition is dyslexia, and it can run in families. It is not the result of poor coaching, teaching or schooling.

While it can be difficult, if they obtain the right guidance, almost everyone with dyslexia can learn to read.

In the United States, 33 legislative bills related to dyslexia were introduced throughout the early 2018 period. This reflects the fact that the need for early intervention to support children with dyslexia is recognized by government organizations.

Diagnosis

People with dyslexia are most likely to be diagnosed as children or young adults.

Adults obtaining this diagnosis usually had their entire lives in the disease. Nonetheless, due to a brain injury, a person can develop dyslexia.

When a parent, guardian, or teacher feels there is dyslexia in a young person, they can ask for a clinical assessment. The school could be improving. More likely an early diagnosis will lead to better management.

Receiving a diagnosis of dyslexia could open the door for the child or adolescent to get more help. For colleges and universities, students may become eligible for special education services, support programs, and services.

The medical tests also cover the following areas according to the International Dyslexia Association:

  • background information, including family history and early development
  • intelligence
  • oral language skills
  • word recognition
  • fluency skills
  • reading comprehension
  • vocabulary knowledge
  • decoding, or the ability to read new words using letter-sound knowledge
  • phonological processing, or how the brain processes the sounds of words

The examiner should seek to rule out other conditions that may show similar symptoms during the evaluation. Types include vision problems, hearing impairment, lack of education, and economic and social influences.

Symptoms

People can show symptoms of dyslexia at any age, but they tend to appear during childhood.

Dyslexia can cause challenges that involve:

Reaching development milestones

Children with dyslexia may learn to crawl, walk, talk, and ride a bicycle later than their peers.

Learning to speak

It may take an child with dyslexia longer to learn to speak. Children may also mispronounce words, consider hard rhyming, and do not seem to distinguish between different word sounds.

Learning to read

This difficulty can present as early as in preschool. A child can find it difficult to connect letters to sounds, and they may have trouble recognizing the sounds in words.

Dyslexia symptoms can also occur as young people start learning more advanced skills. For example, the condition can cause difficulty with:

  • grammar
  • reading comprehension
  • reading fluency
  • sentence structure
  • in-depth writing

Caregivers and teachers may notice that a child is reluctant to read — they may avoid situations that require it.

Learning to write

On paper, a person with dyslexia may reverse numbers and letters without realizing it.

Also, some children with dyslexia do not follow expected patterns of learning progression. For example, they may learn to spell a word and completely forget the next day.

Processing sounds

If a word has more than two syllables, processing the sounds can become much more challenging. For example, in the word “unfortunately,” a person with dyslexia may be able to process the sounds “un” and “ly,” but not those in between.

Sets of data

Children with dyslexia may take longer to learn the letters of the alphabet and how to pronounce them. They may also have trouble remembering the days of the week, months of the year, colors, and some arithmetic tables.

Coordination

A person with dyslexia may be less coordinated than their peers. For example, catching a ball may be difficult, and they may confuse left and right.

Reduced hand-eye coordination can also be a symptom of other, similar neurological conditions, including dyspraxia.

Concentration

People with dyslexia often find it hard to concentrate. This may be because, after a few minutes of struggling to read or write, they feel mentally exhausted.

Also, compared with the general population, a higher number of children with dyslexia also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

According to some estimates, 30% of those with dyslexia also have ADHD, compared with 3–5% of the general school population experiencing both conditions.

The sequence of ideas

A person with dyslexia may express ideas in a sequence that, to their peers, seems illogical or unconnected.

Autoimmune conditions

People with dyslexia are more likely to develop autoimmune conditions, such as seasonal allergies, asthma, and eczema.

Managing dyslexia

There is no cure for dyslexia, but a range of approaches can help make daily tasks much easier.

Dyslexia affects each person differently, and most people find ways to accommodate their learning differences and thrive.

Receiving a diagnosis and support early in life can have long-term benefits. Managing dyslexia in children may involve:

  • An evaluation of individual needs: This helps teachers develop a targeted program for the child.
  • Adapted learning tools: Children with dyslexia may benefit from learning tools that tap into their senses, such as touch, vision, and hearing.
  • Guidance and support: Counseling can help minimize any effects on self-esteem. Other forms of support may involve, for example, granting extra time on exams.
  • Ongoing evaluation: Adults with dyslexia may benefit from help with developing evolving coping strategies and identifying areas in which they would benefit from more support.

It can also help to adapt any working or learning space. Find some homework station ideas here.

The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity offers tips for studying with dyslexia. They include:

  • employing time management strategies such as breaking up projects into smaller pieces and drafting an outline before starting a task
  • using tools such as flash cards and text-to-voice technology
  • organizing notes visually, using highlighters or a color-coding system
  • working in a quiet, clear space — with earplugs or noise-canceling headphones if necessary — and keeping distractions to a minimum
  • An evaluation of individual needs: This helps teachers develop a targeted program for the child.
  • Adapted learning tools: Children with dyslexia may benefit from learning tools that tap into their senses, such as touch, vision, and hearing.
  • Guidance and support: Counseling can help minimize any effects on self-esteem. Other forms of support may involve, for example, granting extra time on exams.
  • Ongoing evaluation: Adults with dyslexia may benefit from help with developing evolving coping strategies and identifying areas in which they would benefit from more support.

It can also help to adapt any working or learning space. Find some homework station ideas here.

The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity offers tips for studying with dyslexia. They include:

  • employing time management strategies such as breaking up projects into smaller pieces and drafting an outline before starting a task
  • using tools such as flash cards and text-to-voice technology
  • organizing notes visually, using highlighters or a color-coding system
  • working in a quiet, clear space — with earplugs or noise-canceling headphones if necessary — and keeping distractions to a minimum

Causes

Researchers are unsure why some people develop dyslexia.

There appears to be a genetic link, because dyslexia runs in families. Some researchers have associated changes in the DCDC2 gene with reading problems and dyslexia.

While the vast majority of people with dyslexia have it from birth, it is possible to acquire it, usually due to a brain injury or stroke.

A person’s native language can influence their experience of the condition. It may, for example, be easier for a person with mild-to-moderate dyslexia to learn a language with clear connections between the written form and its sounds and with consistent grammar rules — such as Italian or Spanish.

Languages with words that have unclear connections between the written forms and their sounds — such as “cough” and “dough” in English — can be more challenging for a person with dyslexia.

Adults and children

The symptoms of dyslexia change with age. Below, learn how the condition presents at different stages of life.

Before children enter school, they may show:

  • delayed speech and vocabulary development
  • difficulties in forming and choosing words, for example, by mixing up words with similar sounds
  • problems retaining information, such as numbers, the alphabet, and the names of colors

When children are school-aged, they may:

  • have a low reading level for their age group
  • have difficulties processing information and remembering sequences
  • have trouble processing the sounds of unfamiliar words
  • take longer with reading and writing
  • avoid tasks that involve reading

Teens and adults may:

  • have difficulty reading aloud
  • take longer to read and write
  • have trouble with spelling
  • mispronounce words
  • have trouble recalling words for particular objects or topics
  • have difficulties learning another language, memorizing text, and doing math
  • find it hard to summarize a story

Types

There are currently no official diagnostic “types” of dyslexia, though researchers are looking into the groups of symptoms that some people experience.

Overall, identifying an individual’s specific challenges can help them get the right support. Some people experience:

  • Phonological dyslexia: Also known as dysphonetic or auditory dyslexia, this involves having difficulty breaking down words into smaller units, making it hard to match sounds with their written form.
  • Surface dyslexia:Also called dyseidetic or visual dyslexia, this involves having trouble recognizing words by sight, making words hard to learn and remember.
  • Rapid naming deficit: This involves having trouble naming a letter or number when the person sees it.
  • Double deficit dyslexia: This involves having difficulty isolating the sounds to name letters and numbers.

Users also sometimes refer to “directional dyslexia,” meaning they have difficulty telling left from right. This is a common conditional function.

Basically the medical term for this dyscalculia if a person has problems with numbers and math. This happens sometimes with or independently of a dyslexia.

Summary

Dyslexia is a difference in learning which creates difficulties in reading and writing.

Although there is no cure for dyslexia, there are many strategies and resources that may help facilitate daily activities.

Everyone with dyslexia experiences the disorder differently but people with the condition will succeed like people without it with the right support. Read some personal success stories about Dyslexia and Creativity at The Yale Center here.

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