What is Dyslexia?

International Dyslexia Association defines “dyslexia” as:

 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 [awareness] 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. (Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, November 12, 2002)

  by TED-Ed

Parent & Educator Resource

Overcoming Dyslexia,

Author: Sally Shatwitz, M.D. 
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopp

If you suspect your child may have dyslexia, contact your child's teacher for more information. 

Common Signs of Dyslexia

Young Children

School Age Children Teenagers and Adults

Delay in learning to talk

Difficulty recognizing letters, matching letters to sounds and blending sounds into speech

Confusion when pronouncing words, i.e. "mawn lower" instead of "lawn mower"

Slow to learn and use new vocabulary words correctly

Trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, days of the week or similar common word sequences

Difficulty with rhyming

Difficulty recalling the correct word

Aversion to print - does not enjoy following along if a book is read aloud

Difficulty mastering the rules of spelling

Difficulty breaking words into smaller parts (baseball into "base" "ball" and napkin into "nap" "kin"

Difficulty identifying and manipulating sounds in syllables

Difficulty decoding single words (reading words in isolation)

Difficulty reading words fluently and/or without expression

Reliance on picture clues, story theme, or guessing at words

Difficulty with written expression
(use of less complicated words in writing that are easier to spell) 

Trouble remembering facts and numbers

Slow to learn and understand new skills - relies heavily on memorization

Frequent reading and spelling errors 

Difficulty following a sequence of directions

Trouble with word problems in math

Reading below expected level

Difficulty understanding non-literal language, i.e. idioms, jokes, proverbs

Avoiding reading aloud

Difficulty organizing and managing time

Frustration with the amount of time and effort required to read

Trouble summarizing a story

Difficulty learning a foreign language

Poor memory skills

Difficulty remembering names and places

Difficulty with note taking

Difficulty with sequence

Difficulty with written production

Difficulty with word retrieval


Not all students who have difficulties with these skills are dyslexic. Formal testing is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of suspected dyslexia.

Related Disorders:
Dysgraphia -  is an impairment in graphomotor skills and the creation of written forms, which can then effect handwriting and spelling development. Dysgraphia affects legibility, speed, and overall production of written output. Letter reversals, particularly in younger children who are still developing, do not necessarily indicate dysgraphia or dyslexia.