In this blog, we’ll discuss the commonly asked questions concerning dyslexia and how you can overcome some of the difficulties of learning as a person with dyslexia.
- What causes dyslexia?
- How common is dyslexia?
- Is dyslexia a form of autism?
- What are the symptoms of dyslexia?
- How do you test for dyslexia?
- How does dyslexia affect learning?
- Strategies for managing dyslexia in the classroom and workplace
What Causes Dyslexia?
While there’s no definite cause, there are possible risk factors for dyslexia, including:
- Family history of dyslexia
- Premature birth or low birth weight
- Alcohol or drug exposure during pregnancy
- An infection during pregnancy impacting fetal brain development
How Common is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a common disorder, affecting an estimated 10-20 percent of the population (1 out of 10 to 15 people). Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, making up 80 to 90 percent of individuals with learning disabilities. In the U.S., more than 40 million adults have a dyslexia diagnosis, with 60% being male and 40% women.
Is Dyslexia a Form of Autism?
No, dyslexia and autism are two different conditions. That said, individuals may have both as co-occurring disorders. Autism is a developmental disorder affecting communication and social interaction. On the other hand, dyslexia is a learning disorder affecting an individual’s reading and spelling abilities.
What are the Symptoms of Dyslexia?
Typical symptoms and signs of dyslexia include difficulty with the following skills:
- recognizing words
- sounding out words
- understanding the meaning of words
- letter formation and word spacing
- phonological awareness, the ability to hear and manipulate the speech sounds in words
- breaking down words into individual sounds
- reading at a regular or quick pace (reading fluency)
- blending words and sentences together
- comprehending the meaning of what is read
- understanding and using vocabulary effectively
Remember: How dyslexia manifests itself will differ from person to person; An individual may exhibit all or only some of the above symptoms.
How Do You Test for Dyslexia?
The most common way to test for dyslexia is a comprehensive evaluation done by a professional psychologist.
The test typically includes the following:
- Gathering information about the individual’s medical history and physical and cognitive development
- Examining an individual’s educational background by observing their classroom performance, reading and writing, and work samples
- Standardized testing to assess reading and language processing and any present learning difficulties in these areas
How Does Dyslexia Affect Learning?
Adults and children with dyslexia have different learning styles from neurotypical individuals due to their reading, spelling, and writing difficulties. Because of this, they may need an individualized approach as they learn to read and write.
Dyslexia makes it difficult for individuals with the disorder to recognize or sound out words and comprehend their meanings. Likewise, spelling, writing, and vocabulary are often a challenge.
Along with reading and writing, sometimes people with dyslexia have trouble with math concepts like number recognition or counting.
Strategies for Managing Dyslexia in the Classroom and Workplace
Despite the difficulties that come with learning and dyslexia, many strategies and tools are available to help individuals learn and develop reading and writing skills.
- In the classroom, accommodations to aid learning can include extra time for tests, alternative material formats (e.g., audio, e-books, etc.), and assistive technology (e.g., text-to-speech software, spell checker, etc.).
- In the workplace, employers can accommodate their employees with dyslexia by providing more flexible working hours, new approaches to tasks, and assistive technology.
Collaboration and Outside Support
Reaching out to teachers, parents, and professionals for extra support can go a long way. This can expand different strategies and ideas for an individual’s learning development and keep their progress more closely monitored.
This form of teaching uses different tools to interact with the senses and help individuals process information. These can be visual, auditory, or kinesthetic tools such as pictures, noises, and objects.
Structured Literacy Instruction
This is a teaching method for reading that focuses on the relationship between sounds and letters. The technique breaks down words into smaller pieces to better combine sounds to form words.