What is Dyslexia?


International Dyslexia Association

The IDA states that it is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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 the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

International Dyslexia Association, 2004

Does my child have dyslexia?

 Individuals with dyslexia have trouble with reading, writing, spelling and/or math even though they have the ability and have had opportunities to learn. Individuals with dyslexia can learn, but they often need specialized instruction to overcome the problem. Often these individuals, who have talented and productive minds, are said to have a language learning difference.  Most of us have one or two of these characteristics. That does not mean that everyone has dyslexia.  A person with dyslexia usually has several of these characteristics that persist  and interfere with functioning over time. 

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National Institutes of Health


Dyslexia is one of several distinct learning disabilities.  It is a specific, language-gased disorder of constitutional origin characterized by difficulties in single word decoding, usually reflecting insufficient phonological processing abilities.  These difficulties in single word decoding are often unexpected in relation to age and other cognitive and academic abilities; they are not the result of generalized developmental disability or sensory impairment.  Dyslexia is manifested by variable difficulty with different forms of language, often including, in addition to problems reading, a conspicuous problem with acquiring proficiency in writing and spelling.

G. Reid Lyon
"Toward a Definition of Dyslexia
Annals of Dyslexia, Volume XLV, 1995

Reading Deficits

  •  Difficulty learning to read
  • Difficulty identifying or generating rhyming words, or counting syllables in words (phonological awareness)
  • Difficulty with hearing and manipulating sounds in words  (phonemic awareness)
  • Difficulty distinguishing different sounds in words  (phonological processing)
  • Difficulty in learning the sounds of letters (phonics)
  • Difficulty remembering names and shapes of letters
  • Transposing the order of letters and/or numbers
  • Misreading or omitting common short words
  • “Stumbles” through longer words
  • Poor reading comprehension during oral or silent  reading, often because words are not accurately read

Oral Language Deficits

  • Late learning to talk
  • Difficulty pronouncing words
  • Difficulty acquiring vocabulary and grammar
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Confusion with before/after, right/left, today/tomorrow
  • Difficulty learning the alphabet, nursery rhymes, or songs
  • Difficulty with word retrieval or naming problems

Written Language Deficits


  • Difficulty putting ideas on paper
  • Many spelling mistakes 
  • Unsure of handedness
  • Poor or slow handwriting
  • Messy and unorganized papers
  • Difficulty copying or proofreading
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • May do well on weekly spelling tests, but may have many errors in daily work
  • Difficulty proofreading  

Other Common Symptoms


Dyslexia is hereditary

Relatives may have similar problems. Teacher says, “If only she would try harder." Child may have difficulty naming colors, objects, and letters rapidly, in a  sequence. Others in family have weak memory for lists, directions, or facts.  Some may need to see or hear concepts many times to learn them. Often, dyslexia is accompanied by ADHD.

Dyslexia can affect math

  •  Difficulty counting accurately
  • May misread numbers
  • Difficulty memorizing and retrieving math facts
  • Difficulty copying math problems and organizing writing
  • Many calculation errors
  • Difficulty retaining math vocabulary and concepts 

This can be referred to as dyscalculia.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Dyslexia and ADHD can occur together, or separately.  Often, one can mask the other.  ADHD can be primarily inattentive, primarily hyperactive, or a combined type. This neurological difference is caused by chemical imbalance in the processing centers of the brain. Symptoms include: 


  • Inattention, Variable attention, Distractibility
  • Impulsivity, Hyperactivity
  • Dyspraxia (Motor skills)
  • Difficulty planning and coordinating body movements
  • Executive Function/Organization
  • Loses papers, forgets homework, messy desk
  • Poor sense of time, works slowly
  • Overwhelmed by too much input

Comprehensive Evaluations


What do I do if I suspect dyslexia?


If you suspect that you or your child might have a problem with reading, then get an evaluation by a professional that specializes in the identification of dyslexia. There is not a single test that will identify this specific type of reading problem. The person will need to be tested in the areas of decoding words, encoding words, reading comprehension, phonemic awareness and achievement. The most important thing is, DO NOT WAIT. Research has proven that the sooner we find dyslexia and begin intervention, the better the success.

We can help!

If your child is having difficulties learning to read and you have noted several of these characteristics in your child, he or she may need to be evaluated for dyslexia or a related disorder.  We provide quality evaluation of children to identify underlying causes of academic difficulties. We place special emphasis on early identification of the learning disability of Dyslexia.


The Comprehensive Psycho-Educational Evaluation consists of standardized, norm-referenced assessment tools administered by licensed practitioners and generally includes four components:

·         Cognitive skills assessment which measures the student’s core ability to learn and can pinpoint the root causes of persistent learning problems.

·         Achievement assessment which measures proficiency in specific subjects and can alert parents to holes in their children’s education.

·         Verbal Language assessmentwhich measures expressive and receptive communication skills necessary for academic achievement.  Undiagnosed language disorders are often the underlying cause of difficulty with learning.

·         Reading assessment which focuses on the skills and underlying systems necessary for fluent, efficient reading. The information gained by such testing is specific and can be critical as you help your child overcome problems and succeed in school.


Comprehensive Evaluations on Saturday Mornings

Don't miss work or school.  Schedule testing for Saturday morning when students are available and not burdened with academic work.  Follow up reporting session scheduled for after work.  We work with you to make the process painless and affordable.  


Comprehensive evaluations typically require 4-6 hours of individual testing time and may be conducted over several sessions, depending on the tolerance of the child.  A post-evaluation conference will be scheduled to review the findings and answer any questions.  Results are presented to the parents and a complete written report will be provided following the conference.  Once testing has been completed, estimated time to conference is 3-6 weeks with variations due to scheduling and response to requests for additional information.

Our diagnosticians are licensed through the Mississippi Department of Education.

Adina Griffith, Ed.S, CALT

·         Licensed Psychometrist

·         Licensed Dyslexia Therapist

·         Certified Academic Language Therapist

For more information or assistance with scheduling an evaluation, please contact:


Adina Griffith, Evaluations Coordinator


or call the office to schedule your appointment


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