What is Dyslexia?
A general term for disorders that involve difficulty in writing and learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence. It is the most common learning disabilities and about 4% of people over the world suffer from it
There are several types of dyslexia that can affect the child’s ability to spell as well as read.
“Trauma dyslexia” usually occurs after some form of brain trauma or injury to the area of the brain that controls reading and writing. It is rarely seen in today’s school-age population.
A second type of dyslexia is referred to as “primary dyslexia.” This type of dyslexia is a dysfunction of, rather than damage to, the left side of the brain (cerebral cortex) and does not change with age. Individuals with this type are rarely able to read above a fourth-grade level and may struggle with reading, spelling, and writing as adults. Primary dyslexia is passed in family lines through their genes (hereditary). It is found more often in boys than in girls.
A third type of dyslexia is referred to as “secondary” or “developmental dyslexia” and is felt to be caused by hormonal development during the early stages of fetal development. Developmental dyslexia diminishes as the child matures. It is also more common in boys.
Dyslexia may affect several different functions. Visual dyslexia is characterized by number and letter reversals and the inability to write symbols in the correct sequence. Auditory dyslexia involves difficulty with sounds of letters or groups of letters. The sounds are perceived as jumbled or not heard correctly. “Dysgraphia” refers to the child’s difficulty holding and controlling a pencil so that the correct markings can be made on the paper.
Signs and symptoms that a young child may be at risk of dyslexia include:
- Late talking
- Learning new words slowly
- Difficulty rhyming
Once your child is in school, dyslexia signs and symptoms may become more apparent, including:
- Reading at a level well below the expected level for the age of your child
- Problems processing and understanding what he or she hears
- Difficulty comprehending rapid instructions
- Trouble following more than one command at a time
- Problems remembering the sequence of things
- Difficulty seeing (and occasionally hearing) similarities and differences in letters and words
- An inability to sound out the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word
- Seeing letters or words in reverse (“b” for “d” or “saw” for “was,” for example) — this is common in young children, but may be more pronounced in children with dyslexia
- Difficulty spelling
- Trouble learning a foreign language
Teens and adults
Dyslexia symptoms in teens and adults are similar to those in children. Though early intervention is beneficial for dyslexia treatment, it’s never too late to seek help for dyslexia. Some common dyslexia symptoms in teens and adults include:
- Difficulty reading
- Trouble understanding jokes or idioms
- Reading aloud
- Difficulty with time management
- Difficulty summarizing a story
- Difficulty learning a foreign language
- Difficulty memorizing