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Understanding Dyslexia


Leonardo Rocker

Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. It refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. People with dyslexia may also experience difficulties in other language skills such as spelling, writing and speaking. Dyslexia is referred to as a learning disability because it can make it very difficult for a person to succeed academically in the typical school environment.

During our visit to New York in the USA we visited The International Dyslexia Association stand to complement our skills and knowledge about Dyslexia. Since then we also attended to the SPELD conference featuring experts in learning difficulties, including Dyslexia. Please find more information below.

What causes Dyslexia?

The exact causes of Dyslexia are still unknown. However, anatomical and brain functioning studies have shown differences in the way a person with dyslexia's brain develops and functions. It is also known that dyslexia is not due to either lack of intelligence or motivation to learn.

Who can have dyslexia?

Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels. It has also been found that dyslexia runs in families, and so dyslexic parents are very likely to have children with dyslexia. People who are very bright can also be dyslexic. They are often gifted in areas that do not require strong language skills, such as art, computer science, dance, drama, design, maths and science.

What are the effects of dyslexia?

The impact that dyslexia has is different for each person and depends on the severity of the condition. The most common effects are problems with reading, spelling, and writing. Some people with dyslexia do not have difficulties with early reading and spelling tasks, but experience difficulties when more complex language skills are required such as grammar, comprehension and written expression.

People with dyslexia can also have problems with spoken language. They may find it difficult to express themselves clearly or to comprehend what others are saying as they speak. Such language problems are often difficult to recognise, but they can lead to major problems in school, the workplace, and in relating to other people. The effects of dyslexia reach well beyond the classroom.

Dyslexia can also affect a person's self-image and self-esteem. Students with dyslexia often end up feeling "dumb" and less capable of tasks than they actually are.

What are the signs of dyslexia?

The problems displayed by individuals with dyslexia involve difficulties in acquiring and using language. Reading and writing letters in the wrong order is just one manifestation of dyslexia and does not occur in all cases.

Other problems experienced by people with dyslexia include:

  • learning to speak
  • organizing written and spoken language
  • learning letters and their sounds
  • memorizing number facts
  • spelling
  • reading
  • learning a foreign language
  • correctly doing math operations

What can be done about it?

Dyslexia is a life-long condition. With proper help, people with dyslexia can learn to read and write well, and early identification is the key. If you believe your child may have dyslexia, please contact us to arrange a dyslexia assessment.


Further Reading


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View article references

  • Information for this article was gathered from The International Dyslexia Association, from The Children, Youth and Women's Health Service and Professor Maggie Snowling during our participation at the SPELD Conference 2009.

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