Dyslexia is a learning disorder that specifically affects the ability to read. Something in the brain makes it difficult for a person with dyslexia to recognize words, spell words or interpret their meaning in order to read. People with dyslexia sometimes have trouble with writing and speaking as well.
Dyslexia is not a disorder that comes from poor teaching. Rather, it’s a fairly common neurological problem that involves the brain processing information differently. It's considered genetic in many instances, but when it develops in an adult, the condition may be the result of a brain injury or a symptom of dementia.
The severity and symptoms of dyslexia can vary widely. Some children struggle early on in their initial attempts to read, write or spell. They also may have trouble determining the difference between left and right. Others may have no trouble with early reading skills, but as they progress into more advanced reading comprehension, grammar and writing, the problems of dyslexia arise.
The prognosis for dyslexia is generally quite good, and most people with dyslexia can become good readers and writers. To overcome their limitations, they may need special tutoring, classes and devices to help them work harder at reading and writing. Parents of a child with dyslexia may want to speak with teachers and school administrators about getting the child extra help or extra time to work on assignments.
Because dyslexia can also be emotionally challenging for children, it’s important to address these issues, too. Some form of counseling may help children understand and accept their condition.
SOURCES: U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; National Center for Learning Disabilities