All About Dyslexia
Updated: Aug 23
Dyslexia: What is dyslexia? How common is dyslexia? How to you assess dyslexia? This article will answer these questions and provide additional information about this very common diagnosis.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a term used pretty frequently in everyday conversation, but oftentimes it’s not used correctly or is misinterpreted. This article will give you a basic introduction to dyslexia, help you understand the signs and symptoms of dyslexia, and answer the question “What is dyslexia?”
What are symptoms of Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is the most common type of learning disorder - up to 20% of the population may meet diagnostic criteria. In other words, one in five people you know probably has it (though it might not be diagnosed). Dyslexia is a learning disability related to reading, though there are different ways it can be expressed. Signs of dyslexia include difficulty reading (and reading aloud), problems spelling or pronouncing words, and challenges with writing. People with untreated or undiagnosed dyslexia spend much of their time avoiding situations where they have to do a lot of reading or writing, as these take them significantly longer than people who don’t have dyslexia.
“I didn’t succeed despite my dyslexia, but because of it. It wasn’t my deficit, but my advantage. Although there are neurological trade-offs that require that I work creatively [and] smarter in reading, writing and speaking, I would never wish to be any other way than my awesome self. I love being me, regardless of the early challenges I had faced.” - Scott Sonnon
What causes Dyslexia?
Research shows that like many other disorders in the DSM-5, dyslexia has a genetic component and that it runs in families. In fact if you as a parent have dyslexia, there is a 50% chance your child will have it as well.
Dyslexia and ADHD
One of the most common disorders that is co-occurring with dyslexia is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, formerly known as ADD). Because of the challenges people with ADHD face regarding sustaining attention and focusing, this can make dyslexia treatment more difficult, and make the dyslexia more severe.
Is Dyslexia Treatable?
“Can Dyslexia be treated?” is a question I hear often. The answer is yes and no. It is a permanent disorder BUT with intervention the impact of it can be reduced. And the earlier the intervention occurs, the increased likelihood of a better outcome. That’s why dyslexia assessment is so critical- if you can identify dyslexia while a child is still in school the child can become eligible for an IEP (Individualized Education Program) and receives additional attention and treatment (at no cost) from the school.
A great starting resource to learn more about dyslexia and intervention is the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. They have information about dyslexia-related advocacy, research, and parenting tips.