Dyslexia: Symptoms, treatment, and types

Dyslexia is a condition that makes it hard to learn to read and learn. It happens when there is a problem with the way the brain processes graphic symbols.

The problem in dyslexia is a linguistic one, not a visual one. Dyslexia in no way stems from any lack of intelligence. People with severe dyslexia can be brilliant.

Although it is a neurological condition, dyslexia is not linked to intelligence. The effects of dyslexia vary from person to person. The only shared trait among people with dyslexia is that they read at levels lower than typical for people of their age.

Fast facts on dyslexia

People with dyslexia often have difficulty learning to read and write.

Dyslexia is not related to intelligence.

Early diagnosis, guidance, and support can help reduce the impact of dyslexia.

People with dyslexia are more likely to develop immunological problems.

What is dyslexia?

In a person with dyslexia, the brain processes written material differently. This makes it hard to recognize, spell, and decode words.

People with dyslexia have problems understanding what they read. Dyslexia is a neurological and often genetic condition, and not the result of poor teaching, instruction, or upbringing.

Between 5 and 15 percent of people in the United States have dyslexia.


If a parent, guardian, or teacher suspects a child may have dyslexia, they should ask the child’s school about a professional evaluation. Early diagnosis is more likely to lead to effective intervention.

Test results may also open the door to more support for the child.

They may become eligible for special education services, support programs, and services in colleges and universities.

Diagnostic tests often cover the following areas:

background information


oral language skills

word recognition

decoding, or the ability to read new words by using letter-sound knowledge

phonological processing

automaticity and fluency skills

reading comprehension

vocabulary knowledge

family history and early development

During the assessment process, the examiner needs to be able to rule out other conditions or problems that may show similar symptoms. Examples include vision problems, hearing impairment, lack of instruction, and social and economic factors.

Dyslexia spelled out in letters.
Dyslexia commonly causes difficulties in word recognition, spelling, and decoding.

Dyslexia is different from delayed reading development, which may reflect mental disability or cultural deprivation.

The most common signs and symptoms associated with dyslexia can be displayed at any age, but they normally present in childhood.

Childhood symptoms of dyslexia include:

Difficulty in learning to read

Many children with dyslexia have normal intelligence and receive proper teaching and parental support, but they have difficulty learning to read.

Milestones reached later

Children with dyslexia may learn to crawl, walk, talk, and ride a bicycle later than the majority of others.

Delayed speech development

A child with dyslexia may take longer to learn to speak, and they may mispronounce words, find rhyming challenging, and appear not to distinguish between different word sounds.

Slow at learning sets of data

At school, children with dyslexia may take longer to learn the letters of the alphabet and how they are pronounced. There may be problems remembering the days of the week, months of the year, colors, and some arithmetic tables.


The child may seem clumsier than their peers. Catching a ball may be difficult. Poorer eye-hand coordination may be a symptom of other similar neurological conditions, including dyspraxia.

Left and right

The child may confuse “left” and “right.”


They may reverse numbers and letters without realizing.


Some children with dyslexia might not follow a pattern of progression seen in other children. They may learn how to spell a word and completely forget the next day.

Speech problems

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