Harper Jefcoat
Harper Jefcoat

What is Dyslexia - Symptoms, Types, and Treatment

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  • What is Dyslexia?
  • What Does Dyslexia Look Like - Pattern the Dyslexics See
  • Dyslexia Diagnosis - What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia?
  • Types of Dyslexia - Different Kinds of Dyslexia
  • Dyslexia Causes - What are the Main Causes of Dyslexia?
  • Working with Dyslexia - How to Help a Person with Dyslexia?
  • Dyslexia and ESAs - Do they Work for People with Dyslexia

Dyslexia is one of the most common conditions and disabilities in kids. The condition is categorized with learning disabilities and involves difficulties in reading, identification of sounds in words, word recognition, and relating them to form speech.

Do you know that Dyslexia is not a disorder? Though many people consider it a mental disorder, it is not the case. Mental illnesses are different and people suffering from them could not go on with their daily routine without help.

Dyslexic people do not have any such difficulties.

Learn more about this rare condition in this blog.

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disability that influences a person’s ability to read, identify different words and sounds and integrate them to form speech. This does not mean that dyslexic people have difficulties to speak but this means that they have a hard time learning to read and write.

Dyslexic kids and adults have normal vision but they process words and speech differently than others. The kids usually are late learners and they take longer to learn than the kids of their age. They also have difficulties in school because they learn slower than other kids and this causes difficulties for them.

Though a significant number of Americans suffer from the condition, unfortunately, there is no dedicated or specialized education system to help these people. This is why many of them have to deal with it on their own.

The condition is quite common and nearly 5 to 15 % of Americans are suffering from it. Many people think that people having the condition are dunce and have a below-average IQ or intelligence.

Surprisingly, this is far from true, and, generally, these dyslexic people have average intelligence and many of them may be extremely intelligent.

Many well-known personalities like Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, Stephen Hawking, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and JFK achieved great success despite being dyslexic.

But, you can gain more information about the condition on the official International Dyslexia Association website. It is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to spread awareness about Dyslexia and help people.

When was Dyslexia Discovered?

Dyslexia has been around for quite a lot of time and is not something new. It was identified for the first time in 1877 and the concept, ‘word-blindness’ was developed by a German Physician Adolph Kussmaul. The term ‘dyslexia’ was later developed and recognized by Rudolf Berlin, in 1887.

Rudolph Berlin was a German ophthalmologist who observed how some of his patients find it difficult to read the words while there was nothing wrong with their vision.

At first, it was considered a mental illness as there was very little research. However, now, Dyslexia is believed to be a ‘gift’ by many, and entirely different from what we call a disease.

What Does Dyslexia Look Like - Pattern the Dyslexics See

How does a dyslexic person see and read a text? We all know that dyslexics see the printed words differently from us. However, there is no single or certain pattern through which they see the words.

Below are some common problems that a dyslexic person may face.

  • Seeing some letters as backwards or upside down
  • The words seem to jump around the page
  • Difficulties in identifying the difference between similar-looking alphabets like o, e, and c
  • Difficulties in identifying the difference between the words having the same shape as b, p, q, d
  • The letters seem jumbled and out of order
  • The words may seem all bunched up
  • Some words may have backward alphabets, for example, ‘letter’ may look like ‘rettel’
  • Feeling sick every time the person tries to read
  • Identify the words but may not be able to sound or voice out the words
  • Can understand the connection between words and sounds but not able to remember the recognized words
  • Can read the words but cannot understand or remember what he read

A dyslexic can have any of these difficulties and, sometimes, none of them. Sometimes, the difficulty lies in writing and spelling. This condition is also known as ‘dysgraphia’.

Dyslexia Diagnosis - What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia?

How to know if your kid or anyone you know has Dyslexia? There are some sure signs and symptoms of Dyslexia through which you could identify it. However, it may be difficult to identify at its early stages or when the kid is too young.

Below are some common signs of Dyslexia among toddlers, school-going kids, teens, and adults.

AgeSigns and Symptoms
Toddler or Before School Age
  • Late or delayed talking
  • Slow learning of new words
  • Forming the words wrongly or confusing the words that sound the same
  • Difficulties in identifying and remembering alphabets, numbers, colors, etc.
  • Difficulties in learning nursery rhymes
School-Going Age
  • Reading difficulties
  • Difficulties in understanding the words or speech
  • Difficulties in finding the right word or forming the correct answers
  • Difficulties in remembering sequence
  • Problems in identifying and remembering the differences between words
  • Lacking to pronounce new words
  • Inability to understand and remember spellings
  • Completing the reading and writing tasks with difficulty
Teenage and Adulthood
  • Difficulties in reading aloud
  • Slower pace in writing and reading tasks
  • Having problems with spellings
  • Mispronounce or stutter the words
  • Difficulties in understanding idioms
  • Problems in learning a new language
  • Inability to memorize anything
  • Having issues with maths

The symptoms differ for different age groups and these signs help in diagnosing Dyslexia. Unlike other diseases that could be identified through a blood test or brain scan, Dyslexia’s diagnosis largely depends on the signs an individual exhibits.

These signs are different for different kinds and age groups and if you notice any of these signs in your kid then it is better to get medical advice before the condition worsens.

What Should the Parents and Teachers do to Help a Dyslexic Kid?

Though the condition could be difficult to identify, careful analysis of the early signs could lead to early diagnosis and you will be able to manage it in a better manner. What are some things that parents can and should do to help their kid?

The very first thing that they could do is to consult a pediatrician to talk about the child’s condition.

Some schools also have a team that meets regularly in case any child is having difficulties. These teams are known as Child Study Teams and the Student Support Teams. The team consists of a school psychologist, a speech therapist, a reading specialist, a nurse, and other professionals.

Ideally, the parents of the child should also be part of this team. The parents can also request the teacher to test the child for any possible or specific learning disability. In case the kid is attending a school that does not offer the testing facility, the child should be referred to another school that has this facility.

The team creates an assessment plan that may be different for different kids. Generally, the plan includes the 5 core areas for which the child is tested. These include:

  • Academic performance
  • Health and physical and mental development
  • Communication skills
  • Cognitive skills
  • Sensory and motor skills

The results will determine whether the child is dyslexic or not.

What Standard Tests are Available for Testing Dyslexia?

Below are some standard Dyslexia tests that are used for diagnosing the conditions.

  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Third Edition (WISC-III)
  • Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC)
  • Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale
  • Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery
  • Peabody Individual Achievement Tests-Revised (PIAT)
  • Wechsler Individual Achievement Tests (WIAT)
  • Kaufman Tests of Educational Achievement (KTEA)
  • Bender Gestalt Test of Visual-Motor Perception
  • Beery Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration
  • Motor-Free Visual Perception Test
  • Visual Aural Digit Span Test (VADS)
  • Test of Auditory Perception (TAPS)
  • Test of Visual Perception (TVPS)
  • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised
  • Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test
  • Test for Auditory Comprehension of Language

All of these tests are used for diagnostic purposes only and help psychologists and teachers to help children with Dyslexia effectively.

Types of Dyslexia - Different Kinds of Dyslexia

There are no officially recognized kinds of Dyslexia but there are 6 known main types of this condition. All of them differ from each other in a number of ways and they have different signs and symptoms.

Six of the main kinds of Dyslexia are given below.

Sr. #Type of DyslexiaCharacteristics
1.Phonological Dyslexia
  • Difficulty in breaking down speech
  • Difficulty in understanding the breakup of sound into letters
2.Surface Dyslexia
  • Difficulty in processing the language
  • Reading and comprehension problems
3.Visual Dyslexia
  • Problem in seeing the whole picture
  • Inability to form and remember the correct letter sequence and spellings
4.Primary Dyslexia
  • Genetically transferred
  • Inability to process sounds, numbers, and letters
  • Poor spelling, math, and reading skills
5.Secondary Dyslexia (Developmental Dyslexia)
  • Caused due to poor prenatal health
  • Improper brain development
  • Curable and responds well to treatment
6.Trauma Dyslexia (Acquired Dyslexia)
  • Caused due to a disease or brain injury

These six are the recognized kinds of Dyslexia while there are a number of others as well. Two of the most famous among them are Auditory Dyslexia and Dysgraphia.

The former affects the way a person responds to sounds and processes speech. The latter refers to a kid’s or a person’s inability to hold and control a pencil to write properly. Besides, Dyslexia is also known to be one of the conditions that may cause other disabilities also.

According to some research, more than 60% of schizophrenic patients are also diagnosed with acquired dyslexia. However, we cannot say that both of them are the same.

With research, you can know more about Schizophrenia, its types, symptoms, and medication and help someone that may exhibit any of such symptoms.

Dyslexia Causes - What are the Main Causes of Dyslexia?

Kids and people having Dyslexia find it difficult to learn to read and write. These people have average, and sometimes above average, intelligence and the condition is not a result of any visual or hearing disability.

It is caused because the brain sees and perceives images and words differently. Unlike the common belief, Dyslexia is not a mental disorder or mental retardation. It is not a disease either but a condition in which a person’s brain processes things differently.

There could be a number of reasons that may cause this condition with genetics being the number one reason. Dyslexia runs in families and a child is more likely to get it if any of the parents have it. Besides, genetics, different kinds of Dyslexia could be caused due to different reasons like trauma and head injury.

What are the Risk Factors of Dyslexia?

Some of the key risk factors of the condition include;

  • Family history or genes
  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Exposure to substances like drugs, alcohol, and nicotine
  • Infections or diseases during the pregnancy

Moreover, kids having Dyslexia are also at a higher risk of getting ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and the kids having ADHD are also at a greater risk of acquiring Dyslexia.

What other Learning Disabilities are there besides Dyslexia?

Besides Dyslexia, there are a number of other learning disabilities. Nearly all of these conditions are interconnected and having Dyslexia or any of the others puts the person at a higher risk of others also.

Some of these conditions or learning disabilities are given below.

Condition/Learning DisabilityCharacteristics
  • Poor and slow handwriting
  • Poor motor skills
  • Confusion between left and right-handedness
  • Poor counting
  • Poor maths memorizing skills
  • Poor calculation
  • Difficulty in understanding math vocabulary and concepts
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Poor focus
  • Impulsiveness
  • Easily distracted
  • Poor concentration
  • Attention skills
  • Poor coordination between body movements
  • Problems in using facial muscles to produce sounds
Rapid Automatized Naming
  • Difficulties in naming and remembering names, letters, and objects
  • Difficulties in reading maps
  • Confusion about directions, and spatial orientation
Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Difficulty in comprehending the listened words or processing the auditory information
  • Poor auditory memory and sequencing
Developmental Coordination Disorder
  • Difficulties in carrying out everyday or routine tasks that involve motor skills, usage of sound for speech, organization, and poor short-term memory

Other than these, there are a number of other learning disabilities that may occur collaterally. However, the ones mentioned above are those that are more likely to associate with Dyslexia.

Why is Dyslexia Considered to be a Spectrum Condition?

There are a lot of things that we still do not know about Dyslexia. Still, as per the research and observations, it is not a standalone condition. It is associated with a lot of other learning disabilities and people having this condition often have other kinds of disabilities also.

For example, Dyslexia is associated with difficulties in reading, writing, and spelling but besides these, people having it may also have poor and slow handwriting and difficulties with maths. Hence, the condition may result in other disabilities also.

Are Dyslexia and Autism Linked?

Yes and no. Both of these conditions have common traits in a way that in both conditions, the brain processes, stores, and uses information differently. Due to this, it is quite possible that a person having autism is also diagnosed with dyslexia.

However, this does not mean that both of the conditions are the same or a person suffering from any one of them will have the other one also. There is a possibility but no one can say this for sure. Both conditions differ from each other in a lot of ways.

Autism is somewhat severe than Dyslexia. People with high-functioning-autism have excellent skills like spellings, pronunciation, and hearing. People with low-functioning autism have low-intelligence and need help with everyday activities. Others may also have epilepsy, sleep disorders, and facial twitching.

Dyslexia has different and less severe symptoms. The people having this condition usually have normal to high intelligence but poor performance at school. These kids are usually depressed and suffering from anxiety and self-esteem issues.

Dyslexia is also one of the reasons for depression. To know more about depression could affect these people, read more about depression, its causes, and treatment. This will help you understand it better and help a friend in need.

Working with Dyslexia - How to Help a Person with Dyslexia?

Working with a person who has Dyslexia has its own challenges and demands. However, having a Dyslexic person on your team may have multiple advantages. Since their brain works differently, these people have an out-of-the-box kind of thinking and could offer better and more creative solutions.

However, working with them will need some extra preparation and adjustments.

  • Make your communication more comprehensible for them
  • Adjust the workplace a bit to make it easier for them
  • Communication with the team about the adjustments to increase acceptance
  • Focus on his strengths and provide him with the needed tools to work effectively. Encourage him to use to-do- lists, wall planners, fact sheets, and electronic appointment diary to schedule and manage everything
  • Give proper feedback and explain the deadlines and work expectations clearly to help him work easily

Besides, you can also make other needed adjustments to help your team members feel confident and comfortable to work.

How to Help a Student with Dyslexia?

Since Dyslexia is a birth condition, these people have to suffer a lot during their school years also. How to help a kid with this condition? Luckily, there are some easy-to-follow and implement ways to help these kids learn better.

  • Do not criticize but praise the work
  • Do not ask them to read out loud in front of the entire class
  • Do not punish them for being forgetful since Dyslexia affects their memory
  • Do not call them ‘lazy’ or any less hardworking than the other students, these kids have to work harder than others to produce even a small amount of work
  • Do not overburden them with written work and homework
  • Give them printouts of the homework with clear instructions
  • Do not tell or expect them to copy from the board or book like other kids
  • Ask them to submit their homework prepared on the computer because this will be easier for them
  • Discuss every activity to help them understand better
  • Allow them to answer the questions orally

Remember that these kids are extremely sensitive and conscious of their condition. This is why any harsh behavior could hurt them. The best way of teaching them is to give proper and elaborate instructions about everything and allow them to absorb and understand them.

Dyslexia and ESAs - Do they Work for People with Dyslexia

Yes, an emotional support animal is a perfect way of helping your kid or person with Dyslexia. Unlike pets, a person must qualify to get an ESA. Do dyslexics qualify? Since this is a learning disability, a dyslexic person definitely qualifies for an ESA.

While the choice of the animal depends on the person’s preferences, dogs prove to be extremely helpful in this case. Kids and individuals having the learning disability reported feeling better and less anxious in the presence of a loving canine.

Though Dyslexia is not a disorder, its effect is regarded as a disability. Some of the dogs that will make excellent ESA for your kid or friend with Dyslexia are listed below.

  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Beagle
  • Saint Bernard
  • Newfoundland

Besides, there are a number of other dog breeds also that make excellent ESAs for people with learning disabilities and help them cope with their condition effectively.

To acquire any of the breeds as an ESA, you will need to fulfil ESA Letter requirements. These letters help the people live and travel with their animal for free but you will have to qualify for it first

Fill our online questionnaire and if qualified, get your letter in 24 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does a person with dyslexia see?

FAQ Icon

Though dyslexic people could learn to read and write very well, it is quite challenging for them. Often, they see reversed and mixed-up letters and words, which makes it difficult for them to read and understand the written text comfortably.

What are the causes of dyslexia?

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Dyslexia is a birth condition and not caused by any form of mental or brain disorder. It is believed to be caused when the brain is unable to process phonemes, the tiny speech units that help in forming speech and differentiating between different words.

Unlike popular belief, it is not caused by vision or hearing impairment.

Is there any cure for dyslexia?

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Unfortunately no. It is a lifelong condition that is caused due to the impairment of the brain. However, this does not mean dyslexic people are retards or have a low IQ. It is a learning disability and it affects the child’s ability to read and write.

Moreover, dyslexic people also have difficulties processing sounds and forming speech.

Do dyslexic children need more sleep?

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No, but these kids may have sleep disorders. Kids with developmental dyslexia often have sleep-related issues as they could not initiate and maintain their sleep normally.

Does dyslexia get worse with age?

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This is yet to be confirmed. However, people having dyslexia may experience changes in their symptoms as they age. In many people, the said condition is diagnosed in their adulthood.

Harper Jefcoat


Harper Jefcoat

Harper Jefcoat is a dedicated pet enthusiast and expert author at the RealESALetter.com. With a deep-seated passion for animals, Harper brings a wealth of knowledge and personal experience to his writings. Specializing in canine behavior and wellness, he aims to help pet owners understand and care for their furry friends better.

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