What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is the most common learning disorder seen in children and one that lasts a lifetime. It is neurobiological in its nature and can cause people to have difficulty identifying how speech sounds, letters, and words relate to one another. Researchers believe that the cause of this condition is hereditary and have identified which genes may be affected. Those with dyslexia usually have normal intelligence levels, but they can struggle to spell and read—and in some cases, they have trouble with math, writing, or music.

The three types of dyslexia are primary, secondary, and trauma. Primary is the most common and is caused by structural differences in the left hemisphere of the brain. Secondary dyslexia is often caused during fetal development and can lessen as a child ages. Trauma dyslexia can occur after some type of accident that causes brain damage and is a rarer form. Dyslexia can sometimes be confused with related learning disabilities, like dysgraphia, or the inability to hold a writing utensil and making correct marks.

What are the Symptoms of Dyslexia?

Babies who are late talkers or who have difficulty with rhyming words could have dyslexia. However, dyslexia typically becomes more apparent when a child hits school age.

Symptoms include

He or she may have trouble following directions in the classroom, reading at the expected level, seeing letter differences, or hearing word differences. In rare cases, dyslexia isn’t identified until the teenage years or adulthood. Symptoms can be similar to children but include difficulty reading, difficulty memorizing things, difficulty solving math problems, difficulty with idioms, and difficulty managing time. Both children and adults can experience depression and/or fear social situations or the prospect of reading aloud.

How is Dyslexia Treated?

While there is no cure for dyslexia, children and even adults can be quite successful if they meet with a tutor who is familiar with dyslexia. Parents of dyslexic children should read aloud to their child every day and encourage their child to practice. Teens and adults should also seek out a doctor’s evaluation and a tutor. Accommodations from employers and schools can also be made for this disorder.

Last Reviewed:
September 13, 2016
Last Updated:
September 06, 2017