By: Kaitlynn Akers

What is it?

Dyslexia also sometimes known as a developmental reading disorder, is characterized by difficulty with learning to read and with differing comprehension of language despite normal or above-average intelligence. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability.There are three proposed cognitive subtypes of dyslexia (auditory, visual and attentional), although individual cases of dyslexia are better explained by specific underlying neuropsychological deficits and co-occurring learning difficulties. Although it is considered to be a receptive language-based learning disability, dyslexia also affects one's expressive language skills. Internationally, dyslexia is designated as a cognitive disorder related to reading and speech.


In early childhood, symptoms that correlate with a later diagnosis of dyslexia include delays in speech, letter reversal or mirror writing, difficulty knowing left from right and directions, and being easily distracted by background noise. This pattern of early distractibility is sometimes partially explained by the co-occurrence of dyslexia and ADHD. Although this disorder occurs in approximately 5% of children, 25–40% of children with either dyslexia or ADHD meet criteria for the other disorder.Dyslexic children of school age may exhibit signs such as difficulty identifying or generating rhyming words, or counting syllables in words, difficulty segmenting words into individual sounds or blending sounds to make words, difficulty with word retrieval or naming problems. Problems persist into adolescence and adulthood and may be accompanied by trouble with summarizing a story, memorizing, reading aloud, and learning a foreign language. Adult dyslexics can read with good comprehension, although they tend to read more slowly than non-dyslexics and perform more poorly at spelling and nonsense word reading, a measure of phonological awareness.

How they see it...

A common misconception about dyslexia assumes that dyslexic readers all write words backwards or move letters around when reading. In fact this only occurs in half the population of dyslexic readers.

Is it manageable?

Through compensation strategies and therapy, dyslexic individuals can learn to read and write with educational support. There are techniques and technical aids that can manage or even conceal symptoms of the disorder. Removing stress and anxiety alone can sometimes improve written comprehension.

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