What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia has been around for many years, but it is not a well understood disorder. When people hear that someone has Dyslexia, they often associate the term with reading difficulties. The symptoms of Dyslexia are not restricted to a difficulty in learning to read. Other symptoms may include difficulty copying, disorganized writing, difficulty remembering a favorite song or story, inability to learn left from right, and difficulty moving to the rhythm of music. There are various types of Dyslexia: primary, developmental, and traumatic.

The primary form of the disorder is considered a dysfunction of the left side of the brain. The affected person’s brain does not interpret images and sounds received from the eyes and ears into a comprehensible language. This type of Dyslexia is usually genetic and does not appear to improve with age. The secondary form of Dyslexia is developmental. It is believed to be caused by hormonal development in the beginning stages of fetal growth. Both types are most commonly found in boys. The third type, traumatic Dyslexia, is caused by an injury to the brain. However, it is rarely seen these days.

People with the disorder can experience a variety of learning difficulties in the areas of auditory, visual, and/or dysgraphia. Some people may suffer from only one area while others may have difficulties in many areas. Auditory Dyslexia affects the way a person hears the sounds of letters or groups of letters. This causes difficulty in not only understanding what is being heard, but it causes difficulty in remembering what is heard. Additionally, remembering a sequence can be difficult. When speaking to people with auditory Dyslexia you need to give instructions one at a time instead of several instructions at once. Visual Dyslexia is commonly characterized by letter and number reversals and a lack of ability to write letters and numbers in the correct order. Dysgraphia affects a person’s ability to hold and/or control a pencil as they write.

The U. S. National Institutes of Health deems the disorder a learning disability that inhibits a person’s ability to read, write, and spell. Children with Dyslexia often struggle in school, frequently falling behind their peers. It is often hard to diagnose Dyslexia. The most recognized symptom is number and letter reversals which are common in children through age seven. Therefore, many teachers and parents do not begin to explore the possibility of Dyslexia until a child reaches age eight. It is possible for people afflicted with the disorder to compensate for their disabilities. However, it is known that the amount of progress in learning compensation techniques is most successful with early intervention.

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