Dyslexia: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

crying child

What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning problem that involves issues reading due to difficulties identifying unique speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. It is a neurological condition that can be associated with hereditary factors that have an effect on brain development. Dyslexia affects the manner in which the brain processes written materials, which makes it difficult for sufferers to identify, spell and rewrite words. Dyslexia is seen as the most common learning disability in children, and it continues throughout their life. It can both be mild or severe, and vary from one person to the other. It can also go undetected for years and will not be recognized until adulthood.

Although there is no cure for dyslexia, people with dyslexia can survive with the right tutoring and emotional support.

Causes of Dyslexia

Although researchers are not certain why some people develop dyslexia, here
are some known causes of dyslexia.

  • Premature birth
  • Family history of dyslexia or other learning disabilities
  • Exposure to harmful drugs or infection that can affect brain development in the fetus
  • Individual differences in the parts of the brain that enable reading

Types of Dyslexia

Primary Dyslexia

This is the most common type of dyslexia. It is the dysfunction of the left side of the brain, which is the cerebral cortex, and it does not change with age. It can cause difficulties processing sounds, letters, and numbers, which in turn negatively affect the child’s abilities to spell, read and solve math. This type of dyslexia is hereditary. It is also found more often in boys than in girls.

Secondary or Developmental Dyslexia

The secondary or developmental type of dyslexia is caused by problems with brain
development. Some babies may experience brain development issues before birth, which can cause neurological impairment resulting in dyslexia.

Trauma Dyslexia

Trauma dyslexia, also referred to as acquired dyslexia, is the type of dyslexia that occurs when an adult or child has a brain injury from trauma or disease. Due to this, they can sometimes develop difficulty with language processing, resulting in dyslexia.

Visual Dyslexia

This is a type of dyslexia that usually occurs when one has trouble reading and remembering what they had seen on a page. It affects visual processing, as the brain does not receive the full picture of what the person sees. The child or adult will have difficulty learning to form letters and also mastering spelling.

Phonological Dyslexia

This type of dyslexia occurs when one has difficulty with phonemic awareness, which
is the ability to recognize individual letter sounds and blend those sounds into words.

Symptoms of Dyslexia

teenagerSome of the symptoms of dyslexia can be difficult to detect at the early stage of one’s life, especially before a child enters school, but once the child reaches school age, the teachers are the first to notice the problem.

Symptoms of Dyslexia Before School

Here are some of the signs that a young child may be at risk of dyslexia.

  • Late talking
  • Learning new words slowly
  • Difficulty remembering or naming letters, numbers, and colors
  • Difficulty forming new words correctly
  • Problem learning nursery rhymes or playing rhyming games

School Age Dyslexia

When the child reaches school age, the symptoms of dyslexia become more obvious.

  • Difficulty spelling
  • Issues copying from the board or a book
  • Problem pronouncing unfamiliar words
  • Inability to process or understand what he or she hears
  • Spending long hours completing tasks that involve reading and writing
  • Difficulty finding the right words or finding answers to questions: they may know what they want to say but have trouble finding the actual words to express their thoughts.
  • Avoiding activities that involve reading
  • Difficulty seeing differences and similarities in letters and words
  • Inability to remember the sequence of things

Symptoms of Dyslexia in Teens and Adults

The symptoms of dyslexia in teens and adults are also similar to those in children.

  • Mispronouncing names or words
  • Problem summarizing a story
  • Difficulty learning a foreign or new language
  • Avoiding tasks that involve reading
  • Difficulty spelling
  • Problem reading aloud
  • Inability to understand some jokes or expressions
  • Spending long hours completely tasks that involve reading or writing
  • Difficulty solving math problems
  • Slow and labor-intensive reading and writing

How to Diagnose Dyslexia

Receiving a dyslexia diagnosis will help support the child or adult, making them eligible for support programs, special education services, and services in college and universities. The diagnostic evaluation usually covers these areas.

  • Background information such as family history and early development
  • Oral language skills
  • Intelligence
  • Word recognition
  • Reading comprehension
  • Vocabulary knowledge
  • Fluency skills
  • Phonological processing
  • Decoding

During the evaluation, the examiner can determine the child’s functional reading level and compare it to the reading potential using an intelligence test. The child’s processing and handling of information will also be determined. These evaluations help the examiner know the next steps to take in helping the child or adult.

How to Treat Dyslexia

Although dyslexia doesn’t have any known cure, it can be managed. Before any treatment is started, an evaluation should be done to help determine the child or individual’s main area of disability. The right treatment plan will focus on strengthening the child’s weakness while utilizing the strengths. Here are some of the ways dyslexia is managed in children.

Guidance and Emotional Support

Counseling the sufferer of the condition can help minimize the effects of self-esteem. Also, showing the affected person love will go a long way. Teachers can also help by granting the child extra time during exams or tests.

Adapted Learning Tools

Adapting learning tools will be beneficial for children with dyslexia. These learning tools should tap into their senses such as vision, touch, and hearing, and this will go a long way in helping the child learn and adapt to new things.

Here are some other treatment or management procedures of dyslexia:

  • Break projects into smaller pieces and draft an outline before an activity commences to enable the child to understand better.
  • Use tools such as flashcards and text-to-voice technology
  • Study or work in a quiet space and use earplugs or noise-cancellation to enable concentration.

5 Ways Dyslexic People Feel


depressedIn dyslexia, depression is a common problem. Despite the fact that the majority of dyslexics are not depressed, children with this type of learning disability are more likely to experience profound sensations of sadness and anguish. Dyslexics, perhaps because of their low self–esteem, are hesitant to direct their rage at their environment, preferring instead to direct it at themselves.


The most common emotional symptom described by dyslexic individuals is anxiety. Because of their ongoing irritation and uncertainty in school, dyslexics feel afraid. The irregularities of dyslexia enhance these thoughts. Entering new circumstances can be incredibly stressful for them since they are afraid of failing.


Many of dyslexia’s emotional problems stem from frustration with school or social situations. Frustration often leads to anger and many dyslexics exhibit this behavior.

Loss of Confidence

The early years of a child’s life are spent forming their self-image. If these years are marred by school problems, they will lead to feelings of inadequacy. If not addressed soon, this can leave a person feeling weak and inept. Research suggests that these emotions of inadequacy begin to develop by the age of ten. It becomes incredibly difficult to assist them to build a healthy self-image after this age.

Loss of Zeal to Learn

It’s understandable that if a youngster continually performs below expectations and, no matter how hard they try, they continually fall short, they may lose interest in learning.

Now that you Know…

Dyslexia is a learning disability that entails challenges in reading and writing. This disorder varies from one individual to the other; in some, it can be mild, while in others it can be severe. There is no cure for dyslexia, however, there are different management procedures, approaches, and tools to help facilitate everyday activities. If dyslexia is left untreated, it can affect an individual’s ability to meet their full potential at work or school.