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Dyslexia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Dyslexia, a common learning difficulty affecting a significant portion of the population, presents unique challenges in reading, writing, and language processing. This article delves into the intricacies of Dyslexia, aiming to shed light on its various types, the symptoms it manifests across different age groups, and its underlying causes. Whether you are directly impacted, supporting someone who is, or simply seeking to understand more about this condition, our comprehensive overview offers valuable insights and practical advice.

 

  1. What is Dyslexia?

  2. Types of Dyslexia

  3. Dyslexia Symptoms

  4. Signs of Dyslexia in Different Age Groups

  5. Cause of Dyslexia

  6. Dyslexia Treatment Options

  7. Free Dyslexia Resources: Exceptional Needs Today

What is Dyslexia?

What is Dyslexia?

 

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that impacts word recognition, phonemic awareness, spelling, and decoding abilities. The struggle to decode words can also affect reading comprehension and a desire to grow in reading. 


 

Dyslexia Medical Term

 

Dyslexia is a reading disability brought on due to differences in the area of our brains that process language. Dyslexia is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder and is listed in the DSM-5 as a Specific Learning Disability.

 

Being Dyslexic

 

Being dyslexic does not mean a person cannot read, but rather that their brains absorb and process language differently than their peers. Most people with dyslexia have average to above-average intelligence and benefit from a multi-sensory approach to learning language. 

 

Types of Dyslexia

 

Dyslexia is a term commonly associated with reading difficulties. However, there are other types of dyslexia, sometimes categorized as learning disabilities or as a subset of dyslexia due to the affected part of the brain. 

 

Phonological Dyslexia

 

Phonological dyslexia is a term used for a person who struggles to sound out words. A person with phonological dyslexia will have difficulty with the basis of language and individual letter sounds and how they work together. Pulling apart a word or sounding it out is extremely difficult for them.

 

Surface Dyslexia

 

Surface dyslexia will affect a person’s ability for whole-word recognition. A person who struggles with surface dyslexia may be able to sound out different syllables but will struggle to recognize sight words.

 

Rapid Automatic Naming Dyslexia

 

Rapid automatic naming dyslexia refers to the inability or difficulty retrieving words or information the speaker should understand. A person may struggle to say a specific word and try to describe it instead or use substitute words like “whatchamacallit.” A person might find it hard to recall such things as colors or letters, even if they know them well. 

 

Double Deficit Dyslexia

 

Double deficit dyslexia is when a person is affected by both Phonological dyslexia and rapid naming dyslexia or surface dyslexia. Children who struggle with double-deficit dyslexia may have even more difficulty advancing their reading skills. 

 

Dyscalculia (Mathematical Dyslexia)

 

Dyscalculia is often separately categorized and is listed as a specific learning disability under the DSM-5 term for specific learning disabilities as separate from dyslexia. However, it impacts the way a person learns and understands mathematics in much the same way dyslexia affects someone’s ability to read. A person with dyscalculia will most likely have average to above-average intelligence with a specific learning disability in mathematics. Some everyday struggles include difficulty with basic mathematical operations, reading analog clocks, remembering mathematic formulas, difficulty with mental math, and counting out change.

 

Dysgraphia

 

Dysgraphia is a term used to describe a specific learning disability that affects a person’s ability to express themselves through written communication. Someone with dysgraphia might struggle with letter spacing, letter formulation, spelling, and copying of textual material. 


 

Dyslexia Symptoms

 

Some early symptoms of dyslexia include difficulty learning nursery rhymes or new words, reversing sounds in words, and difficulty remembering or recalling common words. Someone with dyslexia may struggle to process what is heard, and it commonly takes a long time to write or copy text. An adult with dyslexia will have a hard time with spelling, mispronouncing words, and trouble summarizing.

 

Learning Difficulties with Dyslexia

 

Dyslexia affects how a person processes information and can also affect their organizational skills. Someone with dyslexia might not only take longer to learn new words but also take longer to finish written and reading assignments. Challenges with spelling and word recognition will also slow down learning. 

 

A person with dyscalculia will need more time to process and recall simple mathematical operations and formulas and find word problems challenging to process. A person with Dysgraphia will struggle to hand in writing assignments on time and will have issues putting their thoughts on paper. A person with dysgraphia will take longer than most to copy something. 

 

People who struggle with all forms of this specific learning disability need to understand that they are not doing anything wrong and that just because their brain processes information in a different way does not mean that they are not able to do all things well. It just requires a different and more multi-sensory approach to learning. 


 

Signs of Dyslexia in Different Age Groups

 

There are different signs and indicators for dyslexia according to age. Here are some signs you can look for:

 

Dyslexia in Children

 

Dyslexia in young children might manifest in an inability to recite nursery rhymes, say the alphabet, follow directions, and a child may not recognize the letters in their name. As children get older, they may struggle to tell stories. A child with dyslexia commonly mixes up sounds and shapes of different letters. Elementary children may also have difficulty with spelling and memory retention and telling their left from their right. Older children often experience many of these things, but the consistent struggle might negatively impact their self-esteem. They may also dislike reading and try their best to avoid it.

 

Dyslexia in Teens

 

Teens with dyslexia may have difficulty in foreign language classes. They may think of themselves as unintelligent, even if they get good grades, and they might also have trouble with word recollection.


 

Dyslexia in Adults

 

Adults commonly have working or short-term memory issues and may also have difficulty remembering people’s names, lists, and phone numbers. An adult with dyslexia may be seen relying on sounds like “um” and “er” while trying to regain their train of thought. An adult with dyslexia will often have difficulty organizing any written work assignments.

 

Cause of Dyslexia

 

The exact cause of dyslexia is not fully understood. However, dyslexia appears to run in families and is linked to specific genes relating to brain areas that process language. A family history of dyslexia or other developmental delays may play a role.


 

Dyslexia Treatment Options

 

There is no medical treatment for dyslexia. However, early interventions are the most effective way to increase the success of someone with dyslexia. Specific learning techniques have been developed, as well as specially designed instruction for those who struggle with dyslexia. In school-age children, having your child evaluated for learning disabilities in reading or math can help the school develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that can support your child in their academic career. Using multisensory learning strategies and reading early on to your child can be very beneficial. Adults might make use of assistive technology and different apps that are used for speech conversion and list management.


 

Free Dyslexia Resources: Exceptional Needs Today

 

For free resources on managing diagnoses, mobility, and accessibility support, self-advocacy, personal rights, educational rights, occupational therapy, mental health support, schools and camps, transitioning to adulthood, job opportunities, financial planning, supporting the family/caretakers, subscribe to Exceptional Needs Today. Subscribing to our award-winning e-magazine is free, and it enables us to connect with more readers, helping us support the special needs community more effectively. We publish a new issue every quarter - delivered straight to your email.

Exceptional Needs Today magazine is an award-winning different abilities publication that supports working together to promote awareness, acceptance, and inclusiveness for ALL. Visit our other articles for useful information about

  1. Autism

  2. ADHD

  3. Down Syndrome

  4. Intellectual Disability

  5. Speech Delay

  6. Developmental Delay

  7. Early Intervention

  8. Individualized Education Program (IEP)

  9. ABA Therapy

Dyslexia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Katie Foley is an advocate for The Arc of Northeastern Pennsylvania (TheArcNEPA.org), where she runs Sibshop, creates and presents content and trainings focused on assisting others in advocating for themselves or their loved ones and assists in individual advocacy in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Her education is in communications with a focus on theater, and she has a secondary degree in elementary education. She also enjoys teaching an Acting class for Adults of all abilities that focuses on socialization and emotional understanding through Acting techniques.

Types of Dyslexia
Dyslexia Symptoms
Signs of Dyslexia in Different Age Groups
Cause of Dyslexia
Dyslexia Treatment Options
Free Dyslexia Resources: Exceptional Needs Today
Phonological Dyslexia
Surface Dyslexia
Rapid Automatic Naming Dyslexia
Double Deficit Dyslexia
Dyscalculia (Mathematical Dyslexia)
Dysgraphia

She has written You May Never Be French, a children's book that looks at autism through a cultural lens. Katie has also written and contributed to other children's books and has been a contributing author for Autism Parenting Magazine and a guest blogger for other nonprofits.

She is on the Family Advisory Board for Community Cares Behavioral Health in Pennsylvania and a founding board member of The Art's Alliance in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. Katie also enjoys volunteering for Equestrian Special Olympics; however, she is most grateful for her role as a parent of exceptional children who teach her new things about herself and life daily.

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