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What is Dyslexia?

I am often asked,” So what is it that you do?" I mention dyslexia and Dyslexia Pros. Nine times out of ten I hear in response, "Oh, so your kids see words backwards?" I kindly and ever so politely respond in a way to educate the person I'm speaking with about what dyslexia really is.

So the big question is: What is dyslexia?

Our personal definition of dyslexia is that it is an attribute that is often identified by an unexpected difficulty with written and spoken language.

Many organizations and people have their own definition for what dyslexia is. Here are a couple of those:

The International Dyslexia Association states, " Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words.

Ben Foss, dyslexic and author of The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan (a must read!), has his own definition: “Dyslexia is a genetic, brain-based characteristic that results in difficulty connecting the sounds of spoken language to written words. It can result in errors in reading or spelling as well as a number of areas not considered major lift activities, such as determining right and left. Individuals who are dyslexic can be highly independent and intelligent. Dyslexia is also characterized by a set of strengths that typically come with this profile in one of more of the following areas: verbal, social, narrative, spatial, kinesthetic, visual mathematical, or musical skills. Overall, it is characterized by an increased ability to perceive broad patterns and a reduced ability to perceive fine detail in systems.”

The National Institute of Health states, “Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. In individuals with adult onset of dyslexia, it usually occurs as a result of brain injury or in the context of dementia; this contrasts with individuals with dyslexia who simply were never identified as children or adolescents. Dyslexia can be inherited in some families, and recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia. “

Here’s the shocking part for many people: dyslexia is NOT rare. In fact, it affects nearly 20% of our population, which is every 1 in 5 people.

Now that you’ve read those definitions and know that dyslexia is in fact not rare, you may be asking yourself: “Is my child or loved one dyslexic?” Look at the warning signs below to see if any apply.

Warning Signs of Dyslexia in Pre-School

  • Late in learning to talk

  • Chronic ear infections

  • Mixing up sounds and syllables in long words

  • Constant confusion of left versus right

  • Trouble learning to tie shoes

  • Trouble rhyming words

  • Trouble remembering the alphabet

Warning Signs of Dyslexia in School

  • Slow, choppy, inaccurate reading

  • Messy handwriting

  • Terrible spelling

  • Poor memory for words

  • Letter or number reversals that continue past first grade

  • Difficulty telling time on a clock with hands

  • Difficulty memorizing math facts and/or multiplication tables

  • Poor written expression despite good oral skills

  • Disorganized and messy bedroom, backpack, desk

  • Dreads school—may complain of stomach aches or headaches

  • Often can’t remember sight words (they, were, does) or homonyms (their, they’re, and there)

Click here to download official list of warning signs from Bright Solutions for Dyslexia's website. If you see any of these warning signs in your child, friend, or loved one, please give us a call. We would love to give you and your family the answers you might desperately be craving.


Laura Busby

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