What is Dyslexia?


Dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty mastering literacy skills such as reading, writing, spelling, expository writing and/or arithmetic. People with dyslexia have normal or better intelligence.

  • Dyslexia is a neurological trait and most often is genetic in origin.
  • It is NOT the result of “not trying”, or attention deficit disorder. However ADHD may be present.
  • Dyslexia is NOT the result of social/emotional problems. However, social/emotional problems may result from frustration at school.
  • People with dyslexia often have strengths in areas such as art, drama, sports, music, science, creative writing, mathematics, mechanics, computers and aviation.
  • Many high achieving people are dyslexic – especially those who have had appropriate specialized instruction.
  • Appropriate remedial skill teaching is effective at all ages.
  • Dyslexia is included in the laws that cover special education: Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 Definition in Part A, General Provisions U.S.C. 1401. Definitions.
  • The scientific definition of dyslexia may be found at the International Dyslexia Association/ National Institutes of Health Definition http://www.interdys.org/FactSheets.htm

Common Characteristics

  • inaccurate reading
  • poor spelling
  • trouble “sounding out” words
  • slow reading
  • guessing on multisyllable words
  • dislike of reading
  • dislike of school
  • reversals and/or transpositions of letters, syllables and/or numerals
  • poor reading comprehension, especially in complex materials
  • labored, hard to read handwriting
  • trouble learning the alphabet and basic math facts
  • trouble writing school papers
  • difficulty organizing ideas and details to write and/or speak
  • difficulty following directions
  • disappointing test scores
  • trouble learning grammar
  • low self esteem
  • relatives with similar problems


(Not all characteristics apply to every person – look for a cluster)