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.

Dyslexia Causes

Dyslexia tends to run in families which means it is hereditary. The disorder seems to interfere with the genes responsible for brain processes related to reading and language. Nonetheless, it possesses some risk factors:

Families with dyslexia and other learning problems – scientists have published extensive pieces or research that show the increased risk of dyslexia in people from dyslexic families. However, the risk also increases depending on other teaching effects and the effect of other related genes.

Having low birth weight or premature birth – these can cause developmental dyslexia where the risks manifest at birth and can have long lasting effects. Normal individuals who can read and spell may lose this ability as a result of an injury, illness, or aging. It is responsible for acquired dyslexia.

Pregnant women who develop infections or use drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products may give birth to babies with altered brain functions who were affected as fetuses.

Personalized differences in the brain area that is responsible for reading can also lead to dyslexia.

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.

Dyslexia Prevention

There’s little one can do to prevent the condition, especially if it’s hereditary. However, early diagnosis and treatment interventions can reduce the possibilities of developing further problems. Some other ways of preventing further problems while minimizing effects of dyslexia include:

Understanding dyslexia – parents can notice the early signs of dyslexia such as a difficulty in reading and spelling, difficulty in learning new words, and difficulty in understanding quick instructions, among others. Although a doctor can provide a comprehensive diagnosis, a parent’s observation is equally essential.

Proper nutrition is not only important for a child’s development from birth but can also prevent any learning impairment conditions.

Get expert advice – an expert can talk with the parent about the available intervention options as well as the psychological preparedness to this kind of disability.

Last Reviewed:
September 13, 2016
Last Updated:
December 18, 2017