What Is Dyslexia & How Is It Diagnosed?

Girl reading on bench

Dyslexia is a reading disorder making it difficult for people to read, write and spell. Dyslexia is considered a disability, because it affects the area of the brain which helps process words. People who have dyslexia, but don't have the label, may often be mistaken for having intelligence that is below-average . However, the opposite is true; people who struggle with dyslexia typically have average to above average levels of intelligence.

Conventional medicine suggests there is no known cause of Dyslexia, but it's believed to be a genetic disorder; affecting the family tree. In addition to having a genetic predisposition, it is said that environmental factors can contribute to an increased risk of developing Dyslexia. Premature babies, as well as those born with a low weight, are considered to be more prone to the disorder; verses full-term or "normal" weight babies. Exposure to nicotine, drugs, alcohol or infection while in utero, have also been known to increase the risk of having this affliction. A German Alternative medicine doctor, who many regard as controversial, has claimed Dyslexia is developed during infancy or early childhood, due to how the child experienced a separation conflict.

There is no noted cure for Dyslexia, but it can be managed, and sufferers can lead very normal lives. Unfortunately, Dyslexia isn't always recognizable, so it's not always easy to spot it early on. In some cases, it isn't properly diagnosed until adulthood. While your child may not be officially diagnosed with Dyslexia until they're in school; there are some signs that preschool-aged children may exhibit, that are associated with Dyslexia. Children who are diagnosed with Dyslexia, tend to be late talkers, and may learn new words slowly. They may also have a difficult time remembering things like: numbers, letters, colors and nursery rhymes than their peers. One may also notice that the child has issues forming words correctly. Every toddler has a word they can't pronounce, or that they say funny. Yet, if this is a common occurrence with the child, it may be worth noting.

Girl writing on blackboard
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When the child reaches school age, signs of Dyslexia may become more obvious. The best chance of determining disability is when the child learns to read. Children inherently take pride in their work. So if the child shuns away reading, or tries to procrastinate it, check to see if they are having issues processing, understand or spelling words. This may be a sign as to why they are reluctant to read. Children with Dyslexia typically read at a lower reading level than other children their age. One may not know what a normal reading level is, but if other symptoms are suspected, don't hesitate to consult with the child's teacher. Symptoms in teens and adults are similar to those of school-aged children, but they may be more pronounced. Those with Dyslexia may also exhibit problems with math, learning a foreign language, and/or trouble with memorization.

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It's estimated that anywhere between 5 and 15% of children and adults in the United States have Dyslexia. While it's not probable that your child has this disorder, it's valuable to be aware and understand what Dyslexia is all about. The daily struggles of parenting a child without a learning disorder can already be overwhelming. Furthermore, as a stressed parent, one may dismiss the signs and hope it's just a phase. Of course, this is not meant to scare anyone. Looking at the statistics, it is less likely your child may have it. However, after being informed of what is Dyslexia, it will be easier to decipher and contact your child's health care professional.

If left undiagnosed, Dyslexia may lead to a host of problems. Not only does it make it harder on the child, who is eager to explore, but they may act out because they don't understand why it is difficult to grasp what they are learning. It can also lead to increased levels of anxiety, aggression, and low self-esteem. However, if your child is properly diagnosed with Dyslexia, help and guidance will facilitate the process of learning. Most children suffering from the disorder will be capable of, not only keeping pace with their studies, but excelling in school. The good thing is that this isn't something that will completely hinder the child's journey through life, with patience, it is manageable.

READ NEXT: 10 Ways To Cope With Your Kid's Oppositional Defiance Disorder


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