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The most common learning disability, dyslexia can affect reading fluency, reading comprehension, recall, writing, spelling and sometimes speech. Dyslexia can range from mild to severe. It is a brain-based condition resulting from developmental differences in brain structure. Dyslexia can’t be cured, but with treatment and support, individuals with dyslexia can learn to compensate in their everyday activities.

3 Important Facts

  • Approximately 20 percent of Americans have dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia often runs in families and may be genetic.
  • Mozart, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and many other successful people had dyslexia.

Signs to look for

  • Slow and difficult reading
  • Difficulty with reading comprehension
  • Difficulty recalling known words
  • Trouble with spelling or handwriting
  • Difficulty learning foreign languages
  • Trouble with associating letters with sounds

Next steps

Undiagnosed dyslexia can result in frustration, low performance at school, low motivation, low self-esteem, depression and other effects of the learning disability. However, with treatment, someone with dyslexia can learn strategies inside the classroom and out to help her effectively manage her language challenges.

Working with a special education teacher, school psychologist or therapist may be necessary to help teens and their parents implement strategies for coping with the dyslexia. For example, using books on tape or books with large print may be useful. Other strategies include using oral exams in place of written exams.

Many researchers have noted high levels of creativity and innovative thinking in those who have struggled successfully to manage their dyslexia. The theory is that dyslexia and many other learning differences may force sufferers to find new, unconventional ways to solve problems. This ability to approach old tasks in new ways often leads to fresh, innovative thinking. In a creative environment, dyslexics often excel because of rather than despite their learning difference.

If your child has dyslexia, keep the following three concepts in mind in order to help them navigate the emotions associated with learning differences:

  1. Reaffirm your love and care for the individual
  2. Validate their subjective experience with their particular learning challenge
  3. Work with them to explore and adopt new skills for navigating social situations and expressing emotions. This will go a long way in helping them feel
    supported as they through their learning difficulties.

Common Q and A

Do dyslexics have lower intelligence than their peers?

Not at all! In fact, research has shown quite the opposite. Dyslexics are often highly intelligent. They are also often more curious, creative and intuitive than the general population.

Does dyslexia affect boys more than girls?

No. This is a myth. Dyslexia affects boys and girls pretty equally. However, sometimes boys are diagnosed sooner as they are referred for evaluations by teachers more often than girls.

How is dyslexia diagnosed?

Diagnosing dyslexia usually requires specialized tests, such as reading tests and other types of assessments. Usually a medical exam is performed to rule out other causes of the difficulty (such as brain injury).

Can dyslexics improve their language and reading skills?

Yes. With hard work, dyslexics can and do improve their reading and language skills. Researchers have found techniques that can rewire the brain and help dyslexics learn to read.