What is Dyslexia?

Updated at: Dec 21, 2012
What is Dyslexia?

Understand Dyslexia - Dyeslxia is a disability in which the ability to read and write is impaired. Know more about the disorder in this article.

Dr Poonam Sachdev
Other DiseasesWritten by: Dr Poonam SachdevPublished at: Sep 20, 2011

Dyslexia is a common type of learning disability that impairs a person's ability to read and write. The U.S. National Institutes of Health considers that dyslexia is a learning disability which affects a person's ability to read, write, spell, and sometimes speak.

There is no cure for this disorder and it persists throughout one’s lifetime. The severity of dyslexia can range from mild to severe and the symptoms can vary considerably from one person to other. Early diagnosis and treatment improves outcome. However, it is never too late to start treatment. Even adults can improve their reading and language skills with appropriate intervention.

Dyslexia is caused due to a defect in the brain's ability to interpret information received from the eyes (images) or ears (sounds) into understandable language. People with dyslexia have no problem with vision, hearing or mental ability. They have at least average intelligence and there is no brain damage. And despite having at least average intelligence and an optimal opportunity to learn they have difficulty in learning to read and write.

Many children with dyslexia are not diagnosed in the early stages of schooling. The child, parents and the teacher can become frustrated by the difficulty in learning to read and write. Difficulty in learning and frustration can give rise to other problems such as depression, low self-esteem and behaviour problems and all these can further camouflage dyslexia. Children with dyslexia often have behavioural problems at home and school. Poor performance in studies may make the child feel unmotivated and develop a dislike for school. Failure to diagnose and treat may further jeopardise the child's success in school.

A child with dyslexia may have other learning disabilities as well. However, it is not known if these disabilities have the same neurological causes as dyslexia. Some other disabilities that may be present in a child with dyslexia are:

  • Dysgraphia: In this disorder the person has difficulty in writing or typing.
  • Dyscalculia: There is problem with basic number sense and difficulty in remembering basic math functions in this disorder.
  • Cluttering: This disorder affects speech fluency  and both the rate and rhythm of speech are affected. Hence, cluttering is associated with impairment in speech intelligibility.

These are some of the disorders that can occur in a child with dyslexia. It is not a comprehensive list, nor does it mean that a child with dyslexia will definitely have one of these disabilities.


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