Published December 09, 2011
Developmental reading disorder, or dyslexia, is a learning disability that impacts language skills. People with dyslexia often find it difficult to read, and they have trouble with other language skills like writing, spelling and word recognition. It does not interfere with a person’s intelligence level. Dyslexia has nothing to do with someone’s vision and may not be diagnosed until adulthood. For example, Whoopi Goldberg and Charles Schwab are both dyslexic but didn’t realize it until they were adults.
It is normal for children to confuse letters, such as “b” and “d” when learning to read and write, but you should investigate if the habit continues — especially if dyslexia runs in your family. Look for symptoms in your children at an early age. According to the International Dyslexia Association, early identification helps someone with dyslexia get the most out of his or her education.
Symptoms are often most noticeable when a child learns to read, but there may be earlier clues. Here are some signs that show a young child may have dyslexia: difficulty with rhymes, learning to talk later than normal and trouble pronouncing new words. Once the child enters school, he or she may have trouble organizing written and spoken language in his or her head because the letters get jumbled. Perhaps the child cannot remember the association between the letter and its sound. Memorizing facts or reading simple sentences may also prove difficult. As a person with dyslexia gets older, he or she may have a hard time solving math problems, reading aloud or learning a foreign language.
A doctor may run vision, hearing and neurological tests as well as questionnaires and tests to determine if someone has dyslexia. School may also screen for dyslexia, but there is not a single definitive test.
There is no magic pill to get rid of dyslexia. It is a life-long condition, but people with dyslexia can still learn to read, write well and succeed in other areas. There are different treatment strategies, and individuals need a combination of help from teachers, tutors and specialists. Symptoms should be identified as soon as possible, and intervention must be taken. Extra learning assistance, private tutoring and special classes while in school can help. People with dyslexia need structured practice and immediate feedback. They may also be allowed extra time to take a test or complete an assignment. Positive reinforcement helps the child build a good self image, and psychological counseling can help them cope with emotional issues and struggles.
If left untreated, dyslexia can lead to behavioral problems in school, especially if the child cannot keep up with the rest of the class. Dyslexia can hurt an individual’s self esteem and cause anxiety or aggression. Reading problems can impact someone’s future in terms of employment and education. People can benefit from a solid support system to help them overcome their difficulties.