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What Is Dyslexia?

What is dyslexia? - Kelli Sandman-Hurley
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Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological 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 other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.


Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

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.


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.


“The Diagnosis of Dyslexia is as precise and scientifically informed as almost any diagnosis in medicine.” 
Dr. Sally Shaywitz

  • A language-based disorder

  • Having difficulty in single word decoding

  • Weakness in phonological awareness

  • The gap between learning potential and academic achievement

  • The difference in the structure and function of the brain

  • Difficulty with academic language skills

  • Lack of ability for using print language

  • Varies in degree                  

  • Lack of intelligence or ability to learn

  • Behavioral problem

  • Vision problem

  • A disease

  • Balance problem


Brain imaging research has revealed anatomical and functional differences in typically developing readers and in children and adults with dyslexia.

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