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WHAT IS DYSLEXIA?

As defined by understood.org, dyslexia is a learning disability in reading. People with dyslexia have trouble reading at a good pace and without mistakes. They may also have a hard time with reading comprehension, spelling, and writing. These challenges aren’t a problem with intelligence. 

Dyslexia is a common condition that makes it hard to read. Some experts believe that between 5 and 10 percent of people have it. Others say as many as 17 percent of people show signs of reading challenges.

Kids with dyslexia don’t outgrow it. But there are teaching approaches and strategies that can help people with dyslexia improve their reading skills and manage the challenges.

People with dyslexia typically have trouble reading fluently. They often read slowly and make mistakes. That can impact how well they comprehend what they read. But when other people read to them, they often have no problem understanding the text.

Dyslexia can create difficulty with other skills, too. These include:

  • Reading comprehension

  • Spelling

  • Writing

  • Math 

​A key sign of dyslexia is trouble decoding words. This is the ability to match letters to sounds. Kids can also struggle with a more basic skill called phonemic awareness. This is the ability to recognize the sounds in words. The trouble with phonemic awareness can show up as early as preschool.

People with dyslexia might avoid reading, both out loud and to themselves. They may even get anxious or frustrated when reading.

Dyslexia often runs in families. About 40 percent of siblings of people with dyslexia also struggle with reading. As many as 49 percent of parents of kids with dyslexia have it, too. Scientists have also found genes linked to problems with reading and processing language.

Brain imaging studies have shown brain differences between people with and without dyslexia. These differences happen in areas of the brain involved with key reading skills. Those skills are knowing how sounds are represented in words and recognizing what written words look like.

But the brain can change. Studies show that brain activity in people with dyslexia changes after they get proper instruction or tutoring. And scientists are learning more all the time.