Dyslexia Facts

What is Dyslexia?

“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impeded the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”

That’s the official definition, but it might be easier to think of it like this:

Dyslexia is characterized by a surprising level of difficulty when reading words on the page. Why is it surprising? It is surprising because dyslexic children (and adults) generally love listening to stories and learning. They are bright, with average to above average intelligence. And, they have significant difficulty remembering the sounds that “go with” the letters. When you think about those sounds – that code, which some children seem to learn so effortlessly – it actually has no internal logic. Why does an “s” sounds like /s/? Good question? Neuroscientists are beginning to understand the wiring inside the brain that makes this decoding task easy for some and very difficult for others. But while brain experts wrestle with the science, families and teachers – the front lines – must deal with these capable learners, who have such a hard time recognizing and spelling these words. They must devise alternate routes to comprehending the ideas in text, developing background knowledge and encouraging the growth of a robust vocabulary.

For additional resources on identifying and treating dyslexia, check out the fact sheets below.

Dyslexia Basics

Dyslexia and the Brain

Effective Reading Instruction

Understanding Dysgraphia

The Dyslexia-Stress-Anxiety Connection

Gifted and Dyslexic

ADHD and Dyslexia


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