What is Dyslexia?
Reading is complex. It requires our brains to connect letters to sounds, put those sounds in the right order, and pull the words together into sentences and paragraphs we can read and comprehend.
People with dyslexia have trouble matching the letters they see on the page with the sounds those letters and combinations of letters make. And when they have trouble with that step, all the other steps are harder.
Dyslexic children and adults struggle to read fluently, spell words correctly and learn a second language, among other challenges. But these difficulties have no connection to their overall intelligence. In fact, dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty in reading in an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader. While people with dyslexia are slow readers, they often, paradoxically, are very fast and creative thinkers with strong reasoning abilities.
Can Dyslexia Be Cured?
Dyslexia is also very common, affecting 20 percent of the population and representing 80– 90 percent of all those with learning disabilities. Scientific research shows differences in brain connectivity between dyslexic and typical reading children, providing a neurological basis for why reading fluently is a struggle for those with dyslexia.
Dyslexia can’t be “cured” – it is lifelong. But with the right supports, dyslexic individuals can become highly successful students and adults.
Can Smart People Be Dyslexic?
Some of the brightest children struggle to read. Dyslexia occurs at all levels of intelligence—average, above average and highly gifted. Many gifted people at the top of their fields are dyslexic. While people with dyslexia are slow readers, they often are very fast and creative thinkers.
Isn’t Dyslexia Just a visual Problem where People see and write letters backwards?
This is unfortunately a myth that seems to have nine lives. Many young children reverse letters when learning to write, regardless of whether or not they have dyslexia. In fact, most children with dyslexia do not reverse letters. Click here to learn the signs of dyslexia.
At its core, dyslexia is a problem accessing the sound of spoken language. It is not a visual disorder. Early screening, early diagnosis, early evidence-based reading intervention and appropriate accommodations are what is needed to help dyslexic individuals.
Can students with dyslexia perform well in school?
Many dyslexic students perform very well in school. These students are usually highly motivated and work extremely hard. In many cases they have been identified early and have received evidence-based interventions and accommodations, such as extra time on tests, which allows them to demonstrate their knowledge. Dyslexic students have completed rigorous programs at highly selective colleges, graduate and professional schools.