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

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

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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Oral Language Deficits

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

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 when reading or spelling
  • 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

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
  • Difficulty coordinating facial muscles to produce sounds
  • Executive Function/Organization
  • Loses papers
  • Poor sense of time
  • Forgets homework
  • Messy desk
  • Overwhelmed by too much input
  • Works slowly

Comprehensive Evaluations


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.  


Now partnering with Shine! Pediatric Psychology Services, PLLC

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.

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