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Definition of dyslexia
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dyslexia.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
earlier, "impairment in the ability to read due to a brain injury," borrowed from French & German; French dyslexie, borrowed from German Dyslexie, from dys- dys- + -lexie (in Alexie alexia )
Note: German Dyslexie was introduced by the ophthalmologist Rudolf Berlin (1833-97), apparently first in print in Medicinisches Correspondenzblatt des Württembergischen Ärztlichen Landesvereins, vol. 53 (1883), p. 209. Berlin gave an oral presentation on dyslexia at a professional meeting in June, 1883 ("VIII. Wandersammlung der Südwestdeutschen Neurologen und Irrenärtze in Baden", published in Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten, Band 15 , pp. 276-78) in which he explained the coinage as follows: "Die mehr oder weniger deutlich ausgesprochene Plötzlichkeit, mit welcher die Krankheit auftritt und die begleitenden, resp. im Verlaufe sich entwickelnden cerebrale Symptome machen es höchst wahrscheinlich dass die pathologisch-anatomische Ursache der Lesestörung ebenfalls eine cerebrale ist. Redner bezeichnete die letzere deshalb, um diese Auffassung zu markiren, nach Analogie des gebräuchlichen Ausdruckes Alexie als 'Dyslexie.' Dabei macht er auf die etymologischen Bedenken aufmerksam, welche diese Bezeichnung entgegenstehen, die Aufstellung eines physiologisch weniger anfechtbaren Ausdruckes anheimgebend." ("The more or less clearly pronounced suddenness with which the disorder appears, and the cerebral symptoms that accompany it or develop in its course, make it highly probable that the pathological and anatomical cause of the disturbance in reading is likewise a cerebral one. To make this conception clear, the speaker [i.e., Berlin] therefore designates the disturbance, by analogy with the customary expression alexia, as 'dyslexia.' At the same time while he draws attention to the etymological reservations that might oppose this designation, he yields to the establishment of an expression less contestable physiologically.")
circa 1888, in the meaning defined above
Dictionary Entries Near dyslexia
Cite this entry.
“Dyslexia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dyslexia. Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.
Kids definition of dyslexia, medical definition, medical definition of dyslexia, more from merriam-webster on dyslexia.
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dyslexia
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Signs of Dyslexia
The signs of dyslexia can appear as early as preschool. Whether you’re a parent or teacher— or think you might have dyslexia yourself—here’s what to look for, starting in the earliest years through adulthood.
The Preschool Years | Kindergarten & First Grade | Second Grade through High School | Young Adults & Adults
The Preschool Years
- Trouble learning common nursery rhymes, such as “Jack and Jill”
- Difficulty learning (and remembering) the names of letters in the alphabet
- Seems unable to recognize letters in his/her own name
- Mispronounces familiar words; persistent “baby talk”
- Doesn’t recognize rhyming patterns like cat , bat , rat
- A family history of reading and/or spelling difficulties (dyslexia often runs in families)
© Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia , p. 122
Kindergarten & First Grade
- Reading errors that show no connection to the sounds of the letters on the page—will say “puppy” instead of the written word “dog” on an illustrated page with a picture of a dog
- Does not understand that words come apart
- Complains about how hard reading is; “disappears” when it is time to read
- A history of reading problems in parents or siblings
- Cannot sound out even simple words like cat , map , nap
- Does not associate letters with sounds, such as the letter b with the “b” sound
- Great imagination
- Ability to figure things out; gets the gist of things
- Eager embrace of new ideas
- A good understanding of new concepts
- Surprising maturity
- A larger vocabulary than typical for age group
- Enjoys solving puzzles
- Talent for building models
- Excellent comprehension of stories read or told to him
© Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia , pp. 122 – 123
Second Grade through High School
- Very slow in acquiring reading skills. Reading is slow and awkward
- Trouble reading unfamiliar words, often making wild guesses because he cannot sound out the word
- Doesn’t seem to have a strategy for reading new words
- Avoids reading out loud
- Searches for a specific word and ends up using vague language, such as “stuff” or “thing,” without naming the object
- Pauses, hesitates, and/or uses lots of “um’s” when speaking
- Confuses words that sound alike, such as saying “tornado” for “volcano,” substituting “lotion” for “ocean”
- Mispronunciation of long, unfamiliar or complicated words
- Seems to need extra time to respond to questions
School and Life
- Trouble remembering dates, names, telephone numbers, random lists
- Struggles to finish tests on time
- Extreme difficulty learning a foreign language
- Poor spelling
- Messy handwriting
- Low self-esteem that may not be immediately visible
- Excellent thinking skills: conceptualization, reasoning, imagination, abstraction
- Learning that is accomplished best through meaning rather than rote memorization
- Ability to get the “big picture”
- A high level of understanding of what is read to him
- The ability to read and to understand at a high level overlearned (or highly practiced) words in a special area of interest; for example, if he or she loves cooking they may be able to read food magazines and cookbooks
- Improvement as an area of interest becomes more specialized and focused—and a miniature vocabulary is developed that allows for reading in that subject area
- A surprisingly sophisticated listening vocabulary
- Excels in areas not dependent on reading, such as math, computers and visual arts, or in more conceptual (versus fact-driven) subjects, including philosophy, biology, social studies, neuroscience and creative writing
© Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia , pp. 123–125
Young Adults & Adults
- A childhood history of reading and spelling difficulties
- While reading skills have developed over time, reading still requires great effort and is done at a slow pace
- Rarely reads for pleasure
- Slow reading of most materials—books, manuals, subtitles in films
- Avoids reading aloud
- Earlier oral language difficulties persist, including a lack of fluency and glibness; frequent use of “um’s” and imprecise language; and general anxiety when speaking
- Often pronounces the names of people and places incorrectly; trips over parts of words
- Difficulty remembering names of people and places; confuses names that sound alike
- Struggles to retrieve words; frequently has “It was on the tip of my tongue” moments
- Rarely has a fast response in conversations; struggles when put on the spot
- Spoken vocabulary is smaller than listening vocabulary
- Avoids saying words that might be mispronounced
School & Life
- Despite good grades, often says he’s dumb or is concerned that peers think he’s dumb
- Penalized by multiple-choice tests
- Frequently sacrifices social life for studying
- Suffers extreme fatigue when reading
- Performs rote clerical tasks poorly
- Maintains strengths noted during the school-age years
- Has a high capacity to learn
- Shows noticeable improvement when given additional time on multiple-choice examinations
- Demonstrates excellence when focused on a highly specialized area, such as medicine, law, public policy, finance, architecture or basic science
- Excellent writing skills if the focus is on content, not spelling
- Highly articulate when expressing ideas and feelings
- Exceptional empathy and warmth
- Successful in areas not dependent on rote memory
- A talent for high-level conceptualization and the ability to come up with original insights
- Inclination to think outside of the box and see the big picture
- Noticeably resilient and able to adapt
© Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia , pp. 125- 127
Because differences are our greatest strength
Possible causes of dyslexia
By The Understood Team
At a glance
Researchers are looking into a number of potential causes of dyslexia.
They’ve found several genes that are linked to reading and language processing issues.
There are brain differences between people who have dyslexia and those who don’t.
Dyslexia is the most common learning difference. It affects about 5 to 12 percent of kids. So what causes this lifelong condition? There’s no clear answer yet. But researchers are looking at a number of factors, including the role of genes and the brain.
Learn more about the potential causes of dyslexia.
Dyslexia, genes, and heredity
Dyslexia runs in families. As many as 49 percent of parents of kids with dyslexia also have it. And about 40 percent of siblings will also struggle with reading.
Researchers have been looking at specific genes. So far, they’ve found several genes that are linked to reading and language processing issues.
These genes likely play slightly different roles. Some are thought to impact brain development. Others are thought to impact how the brain communicates. So your child’s reading difficulties probably aren’t due to just one gene.
If you have dyslexia in your family, there’s an increased chance that your child will have dyslexia, too. So it’s important to be vigilant and communicate any concerns to your child’s teachers. See a list of signs of dyslexia at different ages .
Dyslexia and differences in the brain
A lot of dyslexia research uses a type of brain scan called MRI . Scans are used for different purposes. Some look at brain structure. Others look at brain function associated with a task (like reading). And some measure the brain’s chemistry.
Dyslexia and the Brain video
In all of these areas, researchers have seen differences between people who have dyslexia and those who don’t.
For example, the parts of the brain involved in reading don’t function the same in people with dyslexia as they do in others. Functional MRI (fMRI) scans show that some areas are less active. That can make it hard for kids with dyslexia to learn to read.
But fMRI studies also show that the brain can change. This concept is known as neuroplasticity . Researchers have looked at scans taken before and after people with dyslexia had effective reading instruction. The images show a different pattern of brain activity. (See a graphic that shows how reading changes the brain .)
That doesn’t mean dyslexia goes away. But it does mean that with good instruction and practice , kids with dyslexia can make lasting improvements in reading.
Keep in mind that these research tools aren’t used to diagnose dyslexia. For that, your child has to be evaluated by a professional. See what happens in a dyslexia evaluation .
The connection to other learning and thinking differences
Many kids with dyslexia have other learning and thinking differences as well. It’s common for kids to have both dyslexia and ADHD , for instance. Anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of kids with ADHD also have dyslexia. There’s been little research into the connection, but experts think genes may play a role. Watch as an expert explains the overlap between ADHD and dyslexia .
Kids with dyslexia often also have dyscalculia . Research suggests that there may be a genetic link between difficulty with reading and difficulty with math. Learn more about dyslexia, dyscalculia, and genetics .
Knowing the causes of dyslexia can help you better understand your child’s challenges. It can also help you get the support your child needs. Find out what to do if you think your child has dyslexia or if your child was recently diagnosed . And learn about dyslexia treatments and strategies you can try at home .
Dyslexia runs in families.
The parts of the brain involved in reading work differently in people with dyslexia than they do in others.
Dyslexia doesn’t go away. But with good instruction and practice, kids with dyslexia can improve at reading.
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What Is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia (pronounced: dis-LEK-see-uh) is a type of learning disability . A person with a learning disability has trouble processing words or numbers. There are several kinds of learning disabilities — dyslexia is the term used when people have trouble learning to read, even though they are smart and are motivated to learn.
What Causes Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is not a disease. It's a condition a person is born with, and it often runs in families. People with dyslexia are not stupid or lazy. Most have average or above-average intelligence, and they work very hard to overcome their reading problems.
Dyslexia happens because of a difference in the way the brain processes information. Pictures of the brain show that when people with dyslexia read, they use different parts of the brain than people without dyslexia. These pictures also show that the brains of people with dyslexia don't work efficiently during reading. So that's why reading seems like such slow, hard work.
What Happens in Dyslexia?
Most people think that dyslexia causes people to reverse letters and numbers and see words backwards. But reversals happen as a normal part of development, and are seen in many kids until first or second grade.
The main problem in dyslexia is trouble recognizing phonemes (pronounced: FO-neems). These are the basic sounds of speech (the "b" sound in "bat" is a phoneme, for example). So it's a struggle to make the connection between the sound and the letter symbol for that sound, and to blend sounds into words.
This makes it hard to recognize short, familiar words or to sound out longer words. It takes a lot of time for a person with dyslexia to sound out a word. Because word reading takes more time and focus, the meaning of the word often is lost, and reading comprehension is poor.
It's not surprising that people with dyslexia have trouble spelling. They also might have trouble expressing themselves in writing and even speaking. Dyslexia is a language processing disorder , so it can affect all forms of language, spoken or written.
Some people have milder forms of dyslexia, so they may have less trouble in these other areas of spoken and written language. Some people work around their dyslexia, but it takes a lot of effort and extra work. Dyslexia isn't something that goes away on its own or that a person outgrows. Fortunately, with proper help, most people with dyslexia learn to read. They often find different ways to learn and use those strategies all their lives.
What's It Like to Have Dyslexia?
If you have dyslexia, you might have trouble reading even simple words you've seen many times. You probably will read slowly and feel that you have to work extra hard when reading. You might mix up the letters in a word — for example, reading the word "now" as "won" or "left" as "felt." Words may also blend together and spaces are lost.
You might have trouble remembering what you've read. You may remember more easily when the same information is read to you or you hear it. Word problems in math may be especially hard, even if you've mastered the basics of arithmetic. If you're doing a presentation in front of the class, you might have trouble finding the right words or names for various objects. Spelling and writing usually are very hard for people with dyslexia.
How Is Dyslexia Diagnosed?
People with dyslexia often find ways to work around their disability, so no one will know they're having trouble. This may save some embarrassment, but getting help could make school and reading easier. Most people are diagnosed as kids, but it's not unusual for teens or even adults to be diagnosed.
A teen's parents or teachers might suspect dyslexia if they notice many of these problems:
- poor reading skills, despite having normal intelligence
- poor spelling and writing skills
- trouble finishing assignments and tests within time limits
- difficulty remembering the right names for things
- trouble memorizing written lists and phone numbers
- problems with directions (telling right from left or up from down) or reading maps
- trouble getting through foreign language classes
Having one of these problems doesn't mean a person has dyslexia. But someone who shows a few of these signs should be tested for the condition.
Dyslexia can only be formally diagnosed through a comprehensive evaluation by a reading specialist or psychologist, either at school or in the community.
Most students with dyslexia work with a specially trained teacher, tutor, or reading specialist to learn how to read, spell, and manage the condition. Some might work with an academic therapist — also called an education therapist or an academic language therapist — who is trained to work with students with dyslexia.
In the United States, federal laws entitle kids and teens with reading and other language-based learning differences — collectively known as "specific learning disabilities" — to special help in public schools, such as specialized instruction, extra time for tests or homework, or help with taking notes. States vary in how these laws are implemented. Ask your parent, teacher, or learning disability services coordinator how to get these services if you need them.
Emotional support is very important. People with dyslexia often get frustrated because no matter how hard they try, they can't seem to keep up with other students. They might feel that they're not as smart as their peers, and may cover up their problems by acting up in class or being the class clown. They may try to get other students to do their work for them. They may pretend that they don't care about their grades or that they think school is dumb.
Family and friends can help people with dyslexia by understanding that they aren't stupid or lazy, and that they are trying as hard as they can. It's important to recognize and appreciate each person's strengths, whether they're in sports, drama, art, creative problem solving, or something else.
People with dyslexia shouldn't feel limited in their academic or career choices. Most colleges make special accommodations for students with dyslexia, offering them trained tutors, learning aids, computer software, recorded reading assignments, and special arrangements for exams.
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Share this: `, what is dyslexia.
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services.
What causes dyslexia?
The exact causes of dyslexia are still not completely clear, but anatomical and brain imagery studies show differences in the way the brain of a person with dyslexia develops and functions. Moreover, most people with dyslexia have been found to have problems with identifying the separate speech sounds within a word and/or learning how letters represent those sounds, a key factor in their reading difficulties. Dyslexia is not due to either lack of intelligence or desire to learn; with appropriate teaching methods, students with dyslexia can learn successfully.
How widespread is dyslexia?
About 13–14% of the school population nationwide has a handicapping condition that qualifies them for special education. Current studies indicate that one half of all the students who qualify for special education are classified as having a learning disability (LD) (6–7%). About 85% of those students have a primary learning disability in reading and language processing. Nevertheless, many more people— perhaps as many as 15–20% of the population as a whole—have some of the symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing, or mixing up similar words. Not all of these will qualify for special education, but they are likely to struggle with many aspects of academic learning and are likely to benefit from systematic, explicit, instruction in reading, writing, and language.
Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels. People with dyslexia can be very bright. They are often capable or even gifted in areas such as art, computer science, design, drama, electronics, math, mechanics, music, physics, sales, and sports.
In addition, dyslexia runs in families; parents with dyslexia are very likely to have children with dyslexia. For some people, their dyslexia is identified early in their lives, but for others, their dyslexia goes unidentified until they get older.
What are the effects of dyslexia?
The impact that dyslexia has is different for each person and depends on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of instruction or remediation. The core difficulty is with word recognition and reading fluency, spelling, and writing. Some individuals with dyslexia manage to learn early reading and spelling tasks, especially with excellent instruction, but later experience their most debilitating problems when more complex language skills are required, such as grammar, understanding textbook material, and writing essays.
People with dyslexia can also have problems with spoken language, even after they have been exposed to good language models in their homes and good language instruction in school. They may find it difficult to express themselves clearly, or to fully comprehend what others mean when they speak. Such language problems are often difficult to recognize, but they can lead to major problems in school, in the workplace, and in relating to other people. The effects of dyslexia reach well beyond the classroom.
Dyslexia can also affect a person’s self-image. Students with dyslexia often end up feeling “dumb” and less capable than they actually are. After experiencing a great deal of stress due to academic problems, a student may become discouraged about continuing in school.
How is dyslexia diagnosed?
Before referring a student for a comprehensive evaluation, a school or district may choose to track a student’s progress with a brief screening test and identify whether the student is progressing at a “benchmark” level that predicts success in reading. If a student is below that benchmark (which is equivalent to about the 40th percentile nationally), the school may immediately deliver intensive and individualized supplemental reading instruction before determining whether the student needs a comprehensive evaluation that would lead to a designation of special education eligibility. Some students simply need more structured and systematic instruction to get back on track; they do not have learning disabilities. For those students and even for those with dyslexia, putting the emphasis on preventive or early intervention makes sense. There is no benefit to the child if special instruction is delayed for months while waiting for an involved testing process to occur. These practices of teaching first, and then determining who needs diagnostic testing based on response to instruction, are encouraged by federal policies known as Response to Intervention (RTI). Parents should know, however, that at any point they have the right to request a comprehensive evaluation under the IDEA law, whether or not the student is receiving instruction under an RTI model.
A comprehensive evaluation typically includes intellectual and academic achievement testing, as well as an assessment of the critical underlying language skills that are closely linked to dyslexia. These include receptive (listening) and expressive language skills, phonological skills including phonemic awareness, and also a student’s ability to rapidly name letters and numbers. A student’s ability to read lists of words in isolation, as well as words in context, should also be assessed. If a profile emerges that is characteristic of readers with dyslexia, an individualized intervention plan should be developed, which should include appropriate accommodations, such as extended time. The testing can be conducted by trained school or outside specialists. (See the Dyslexia Assessment Fact Sheet for more information.)
What are the signs of dyslexia?
The problems displayed by individuals with dyslexia involve difficulties in acquiring and using written language. It is a myth that individuals with dyslexia “read backwards,” although spelling can look quite jumbled at times because students have trouble remembering letter symbols for sounds and forming memories for words. Other problems experienced by people with dyslexia include the following:
- Learning to speak
- Learning letters and their sounds
- Organizing written and spoken language
- Memorizing number facts
- Reading quickly enough to comprehend
- Persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments
- Learning a foreign language
- Correctly doing math operations
Not all students who have difficulties with these skills have dyslexia. Formal testing of reading, language, and writing skills is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.
How is dyslexia treated?
Dyslexia is a lifelong condition. With proper help, many people with dyslexia can learn to read and write well. Early identification and treatment is the key to helping individuals with dyslexia achieve in school and in life. Most people with dyslexia need help from a teacher, tutor, or therapist specially trained in using a multisensory, structured language approach. It is important for these individuals to be taught by a systematic and explicit method that involves several senses (hearing, seeing, touching) at the same time. Many individuals with dyslexia need one-on-one help so that they can move forward at their own pace. In addition, students with dyslexia often need a great deal of structured practice and immediate, corrective feedback to develop automatic word recognition skills. For students with dyslexia, it is helpful if their outside academic therapists work closely with classroom teachers.
Schools can implement academic accommodations and modifications to help students with dyslexia succeed. For example, a student with dyslexia can be given extra time to complete tasks, help with taking notes, and work assignments that are modified appropriately. Teachers can give recorded tests or allow students with dyslexia to use alternative means of assessment.
Students can benefit from listening to audiobooks and using text reading and word processing computer programs. Students may also need help with emotional issues that sometimes arise as a consequence of difficulties in school. Mental health specialists can help students cope with their struggles.
What are the rights of a person with dyslexia?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) define the rights of students with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities. These individuals are legally entitled to special services to help them overcome and accommodate their learning problems. Such services include education programs designed to meet the needs of these students. The Acts also protect people with dyslexia against unfair and illegal discrimination.
Moats, L. C., & Dakin, K. E. (2008). Basic facts about dyslexia and other reading problems. Baltimore: The International Dyslexia Association.
Shaywitz, S. (2003). Overcoming dyslexia: A new and complete science-based program for reading problems at any level. New York: Knopf.
The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) thanks Louisa C. Moats, Ed.D., and Karen E. Dakin, M.Ed., for their assistance in the preparation of this fact sheet.
The International Dyslexia Association (IDA). IDA encourages the reproduction and distribution of this fact sheet.
If portions of the text are cited, appropriate reference must be made. Fact sheets may not be reprinted for the purpose of resale.
© Copyright 2020. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA). For copyright information, please click here .
A DYSLEXIA TYPEFACE
Reading with dyslexia? That can be quite a challenge. Dyslexie font offers people with dyslexia a unique typeface to make reading, learning, and working easier - always, everywhere, and on every device.
A special typeface, a unique design
Each letter has a clear baseline, which creates a visual center of gravity and prevents letters from being turned upside down.
The shape of each letter is adjusted subtly. This way the chance of turning, mirroring and swapping is minimized as there is less uniformity.
Some Dyslexie font letters have longer sticks, which helps to decrease switching and swapping letters while reading.
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DYSLEXIE FONT PRODUCTS
Dyslexie Font offers dyslectics various tools and products to make it easier to read, learn and work. From super secure Cloud-hosted Office programs and storage, and the Chrome Extension.
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In the media & and on stage
The innovative Dyslexie Font hasn’t gone unnoticed. Christian has been asked to discuss Dyslexie Font in multiple (TEDx) presentations and was featured in various media. Christian Boer has even received several international awards.
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What Is Dyslexia?
Wendy Wisner is a health and parenting writer, lactation consultant (IBCLC), and mom to two awesome sons.
Dr. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and a professor at Yeshiva University’s clinical psychology doctoral program.
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Dyslexia is a learning disability commonly characterized by reading struggles. People who have dyslexia find it difficult to connect the letters they see on the page with the sounds that the letters make. As such, they often have difficulty blending letter sounds to form words, and may have trouble with learning to read, spelling, and reading fluency.
However, there are other features of dyslexia aside from reading difficulty. Dyslexia can make it difficult for someone to speak about the same topic for a sustained period of time, understand and follow directions, and repeat words in the proper order. It can also make it challenging for someone to express ideas in an organized way.
People with dyslexia may struggle to understand, learn, and use new words. The symptoms of dyslexia can lead to trouble with building self-esteem as well as difficulty reading or speaking with confidence.
Importantly, people with dyslexia do not have below-average intelligence—it’s just that they have trouble with reading. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, affecting 20% of the population.
Most people are diagnosed with dyslexia as children; with early detection and proper support, most treatment can be effective. Still, dyslexia is a lifelong learning disability that requires management and support.
Signs of Dyslexia
Everybody experiences dyslexia a little differently, but the main signs of dyslexia have to do with difficulty processing letters and their sounds, sounding out words on the page, and reading with ease and fluidity. People with dyslexia may also have trouble with writing and speaking, or any kind of language processing.
The way dyslexia presents also varies according to how old you are. Let’s take a look at common dyslexia signs, by age group.
- Trouble learning the letters of the alphabet
- Trouble remembering and recognizing rhymes, such as in nursery rhymes
- Doesn’t recognize the letters in their name
Kindergarten and First Grade
- Has trouble sounding out simple words like “sat” and “tap”
- Has difficulty recognizing sight words
- Struggles to connect letters with their sounds
- May show resistance when reading time comes up at school
Second Grade Through High School
- Has a lower than average reading level, despite having a normal intelligence level
- Reads with difficulty and tries to avoid reading
- Doesn’t feel comfortable reading out loud
- Has trouble sounding out unfamiliar words
- Can read, but with more effort than most people
- Reading is a slow, tedious process
- Doesn’t enjoy reading for pleasure
Diagnosis of Dyslexia
You can get diagnosed and treated for dyslexia at any time in life. However, the earlier you are diagnosed, the easier it may be to treat. Typically, children who are struggling with reading in elementary school are evaluated for dyslexia. Often, their parents or teachers notice symptoms that may indicate dyslexia.
Diagnosis of dyslexia is usually done by a licensed educational psychologist. There are no blood tests or medical evaluations needed to diagnose dyslexia. Instead, evaluative tests are used. These tests look at a person’s ability to decode words, read fluently, spell, and recognize words. Writing and speaking skills may also be evaluated.
Examples of tests used to diagnose dyslexia include:
- Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)
- AIMSweb screening assessments
- Predictive Assessment of Reading (PAR)
- Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI)
Causes of Dyslexia
Researchers aren’t sure what causes dyslexia. But many people who have dyslexia also have family members with it, and experts believe certain genes may be involved in the development of dyslexia. Studies have found that people with dyslexia have brain differences that may affect their ability to process letters, words, and language.
Treatment for Dyslexia
There is no medication that can treat dyslexia. Instead, people with dyslexia may benefit by working with a learning specialist who can offer them strategies for managing their condition.
Children who attend school will likely need to get an IEP (individualized educational plan) that will ensure they get the proper services in school. Parents will often have to work alongside school officials and school staff to get this plan in place.
Once your child has an IEP, your child will be entitled by law to receive special services at school. These may include extra time on exams and homework and instruction from a reading and dyslexia specialist. It’s important to be an advocate for your child’s needs and to work in coordination with your child’s school so that what is taught at school is also implemented and reinforced at home.
Coping With Dyslexia
Noticing that your child is struggling with reading can come as an emotional gut punch, and you might feel stressed about your child’s future if you find out that they have dyslexia.
It’s important to keep in mind that having dyslexia doesn’t mean that your child lacks intelligence; it’s simply that their brain processes letters and decodes words with more difficulty than others.
Getting your child a diagnosis is an important first step: it means that they will now begin to get the help they need so reading is less of a struggle.
Supporting your child emotionally is just as important as getting them the services they need to manage their disability . Many children with dyslexia struggle with self-esteem issues. They may compare themselves to other children, and find it frustrating and humiliating that they can’t keep up with their peers.
Presenting your child with the idea that dyslexia is not their fault, and has no bearing on their intelligence or ability to succeed in life, can be empowering. It can also be helpful to build up your child’s confidence by finding other activities that they excel at, such as sports, art, or technology.
If you are just learning that you have dyslexia as an adult, you may feel many emotions at first, including guilt or shame . But the truth is that you have likely struggled all your life with reading, and may have thought you were simply not motivated enough to do better.
Understanding that your challenges were caused by a disability can be freeing and can put your academic struggles in perspective.
If you have further questions or concerns about dyslexia, or need extra support, please contact your healthcare provider, a learning specialist, or an educational psychologist who specializes in learning disabilities.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Dyslexia .
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Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. Signs of Dyslexia .
Cleveland Clinic. Dyslexia .
International Dyslexia Association. Testing and Evaluation .
International Dyslexia Association. Frequently Asked Questions .
Neef NE, Müller B, Liebig J, et al. Dyslexia risk gene relates to representation of sound in the auditory brainstem . Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. 2017;24:63-71. doi:10.1016/j.dcn.2017.01.008
Skeide MA, Kraft I, Müller B, et al. NRSN1 associated grey matter volume of the visual word form area reveals dyslexia before school . Brain. 2016;139(10):2792-2803. doi: 10.1093/brain/aww153
By Wendy Wisner Wendy Wisner is a health and parenting writer, lactation consultant (IBCLC), and mom to two awesome sons.
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Annals of Dyslexia
An Interdisciplinary Journal of the International Dyslexia Association
Annals of Dyslexia is dedicated to the scientific study of dyslexia, its co-morbid conditions, and other language-learning disorders, especially those affecting literacy acquisition.
Annals of Dyslexia publishes original studies, significant reviews, and well-documented reports of evidence-based instructional practices to remediate and prevent reading difficulties.
- Dedicated to the scientific study of dyslexia, its co-morbid conditions, and other language-learning disorders, especially those affecting literacy acquisition.
- Features coverage of the comorbid conditions of dyslexia; and theory-based practices on remediation, and intervention of dyslexia and related areas of written language disorders, including spelling, composing and mathematics.
- Publishes original studies, significant reviews, and well-documented reports of evidence-based instructional practices to remediate and prevent reading difficulties.
- Explores theory-based practices, with an emphasis on interventions and the role of teacher knowledge and training.
- Tim Odegard
- Michal Shany,
- Laura Barquero
Issue 2, July 2023
Impact of text-to-speech features on the reading comprehension of children with reading and language difficulties, authors (first, second and last of 5).
- Jennifer L. Keelor
- Nancy A. Creaghead
- Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus
- Content type: OriginalPaper
- Published: 29 April 2023
Reading and writing difficulties in bilingual learners
- Qiuying Wang
- Content type: EditorialNotes
- Published: 18 April 2023
- Pages: 1 - 5
Impacts of cognitive flexibility on central word identification: evidence from poor comprehenders’ discourse comprehension of first graders with ADHD
Authors (first, second and last of 6).
- Jianhong Mo
- Published: 09 March 2023
- Pages: 314 - 335
Writing proficiency in English as L2 in Spanish children with dyslexia
- Marta Álvarez-Cañizo
- Olivia Afonso
- Paz Suárez-Coalla
- Open Access
- Published: 27 January 2023
- Pages: 130 - 147
Examining fidelity reporting within studies of foundational reading interventions for elementary students with or at risk for dyslexia
- Katlynn Dahl-Leonard
- William J. Therrien
- Published: 26 January 2023
- Pages: 288 - 313
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Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder, subcategorized in diagnostic guides as a learning disorder with impairment in reading (ICD-11 prefixes "developmental" to "learning disorder"; DSM-5 uses "specific").    Dyslexia is not a problem with intelligence.
What Causes Dyslexia? Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects your ability to read, spell, write, and speak. Kids who have it are often smart and hardworking, but they have trouble connecting ...
Dyslexie font is a typeface – specially designed for people with dyslexia – which enhances the ease of reading and comprehension. Want to discover it for yourself? Get started immediately after registration.
dyslexia. noun. dys· lex· ia dis-ˈlek-sē-ə. : a variable often familial learning disability that involves difficulties in acquiring and processing language and that is typically manifested by a lack of proficiency in reading, spelling, and writing.
dyslexia, an inability or pronounced difficulty to learn to read or spell, despite otherwise normal intellectual functions. Dyslexia is a chronic neurological disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to recognize and process graphic symbols, particularly those pertaining to language. Primary symptoms include extremely poor reading skills owing to no apparent cause, a tendency to read and ...
Earlier oral language difficulties persist, including a lack of fluency and glibness; frequent use of “um’s” and imprecise language; and general anxiety when speaking. Often pronounces the names of people and places incorrectly; trips over parts of words. Difficulty remembering names of people and places; confuses names that sound alike.
Researchers are looking into a number of potential causes of dyslexia. They’ve found several genes that are linked to reading and language processing issues. There are brain differences between people who have dyslexia and those who don’t. Dyslexia is the most common learning difference. It affects about 5 to 12 percent of kids.
Dyslexia (pronounced: dis-LEK-see-uh) is a type of learning disability. A person with a learning disability has trouble processing words or numbers. There are several kinds of learning disabilities — dyslexia is the term used when people have trouble learning to read, even though they are smart and are motivated to learn.
Dyslexie is a font that aims to overcome some of the problems that people with dyslexia can have when reading.
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words.
Reading with dyslexia? That can be quite a challenge. Dyslexie font offers people with dyslexia a unique typeface to make reading, learning, and working easier - always, everywhere, and on every device. GET STARTED
The symptoms of dyslexia can lead to trouble with building self-esteem as well as difficulty reading or speaking with confidence. Importantly, people with dyslexia do not have below-average intelligence—it’s just that they have trouble with reading. 1 Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, affecting 20% of the population. 3.
Annals of Dyslexia is dedicated to the scientific study of dyslexia, its co-morbid conditions, and other language-learning disorders, especially those affecting literacy acquisition. Annals of Dyslexia publishes original studies, significant reviews, and well-documented reports of evidence-based instructional practices to remediate and prevent ...