What is Dyslexia?

Learn about Dyslexia, the most prevalent type of learning disability.
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Updated on: January 4, 1998
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Introduction

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia, the most prevalent type of learning disability, affects an individual's ability to acquire skills related to reading. The National Institutes of Health report that 60 to 80 percent of people with learning disabilities have problems with reading and language skills.

Dyslexia

  • The most common characteristic of individuals with dyslexia is difficulty with oral language processing related to phonological awareness (the ability to manipulate sounds in words). This underlying phonological processing disorder leads to problems in developing word-attack abilities.
  • Difficulties with other aspects of respective and expressive oral language involving vocabulary and grammar may also be present.
  • Problems with automatic retrieval of words and memory for non-meaningful symbols such as letters is also common.
  • Individuals with dyslexia may also experience difficulties with spelling and writing, usually referred to as dysgraphia. Although dyslexia and dysgraphia often occur together, problems with spelling and writing can occur when reading skills are good.
  • Dyslexia is a lifelong disorder that often occurs in families.
  • The prognosis depends on the severity of the disorder, the specific pattern of strengths and weaknesses within the individual, and the appropriateness of intervention.
  • With appropriate intervention, individuals with dyslexia can compensate well and become efficient readers, although perhaps somewhat slower than average. Other, more severely disabled students may continue to struggle with reading. Difficulties with spelling may persist.
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