What is Dyslexia?

The expansive and deepening field of dyslexia research shows the ratio of dyslexic students to be one in every five-to-six children. Dyslexic individuals have inefficient neural circuitry for processing written language (grapheme-phoneme relationships), causing reading, spelling, and writing to be tedious and time-consuming. These challenges are caused by underdeveloped phonological processing skills due to faulty or inadequate neural pathways and connections in the left posterior angular gyrus of the brain. Poor neural wiring among dyslexics also impacts auditory memory span, sequential (or procedural) memory, and the ability to remember arbitrary information (such as the names of states and capitols).

However, dyslexia is not empirically connected to low intelligence. Rather, dyslexia is linked to high levels of creativity, musical and artistic abilities, athletic prowess, three-dimensional spatial relations, finding unique solutions to problems, visionary/global thinking abilities, and keenness with connecting a constellation of ideas/information from various sources to create innovative solutions/plans.

Although no two individuals with dyslexia share identical neural circuitry, dyslexics tend to have similar weaknesses related to weak low-level language processing skills (e.g., rhyming, segmenting sounds, decoding, and spelling). Likewise, they tend to have notable strengths in some of the areas mentioned above due to a high-functioning right brain hemisphere. When individuals with dyslexia receive effective intervention through an intensive, frequent delivery model coupled with appropriate classroom (or workplace) accommodations, they are able to capitalize on their incredible strengths to be successful in school, college, career, and life.

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.

Definition adopted by the International Dyslexia Association, 2002. www.interdys.org

Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read. Individuals with dyslexia typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. Dyslexia can be inherited in some families, and recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia.

Description of dyslexia provided by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/reading/conditioninfo/pages/disorders.aspx