Dyslexia - Topic Overview
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a
learning disability that makes it hard to read, write,
and spell. It occurs because the brain jumbles or mixes up letters and words.
Children with dyslexia often have a poor memory of spoken and written
Having dyslexia does not mean that your or your child's
ability to learn is below average. In fact, many people with dyslexia are very
bright. But not being able to read well can make many areas of learning difficult.
Dyslexia is also called specific reading disability,
reading disorder, and reading disability.
What causes dyslexia?
Experts don't know for sure
what causes dyslexia. But it often runs in families. So it may be passed from
parents to children
(genetic disorder). Also, some studies have found
problems with how the brain links letters and words with the sounds they make.
Dyslexia is not caused by poor vision, and people with dyslexia
do not see letters and words backward.
What are the symptoms?
Signs of dyslexia in
children who are too young for school include:
- Talking later than expected.
Being slow to learn new words.
- Problems rhyming.
Problems following directions that have many steps.
After a child begins school, the signs of dyslexia
- Problems reading single words, such as a word
on a flash card.
- Problems linking letters with
- Confusing small words, such as "at" and "to."
Reversing the shapes of written letters such as "d" for "b." For example, the
child may write "dat" instead of "bat."
- Writing words backward,
such as "tip" for "pit."
If your child has one of these signs, it does not mean
that he or she has dyslexia. Many children reverse letters before age 7. But if
your child has several signs and reading problems, or if you have a family
history of dyslexia, you may want to have your child checked for the
How is dyslexia diagnosed?
A doctor or a school professional (such as a reading specialist) will ask you what signs of dyslexia you and your child's teachers
have seen. He or she will ask your child questions too. Your child may be offered to take
reading and skill tests. Tests may include those that look at your child's
personality and how he or she learns, solves problems, and uses words. Your
child may also have an IQ test.
These tests can help
find out if your child has dyslexia or another learning problem.