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What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia, from the Greek dys for difficulty and lexia for language, is a brain-based learning disorder that affects the brain’s language processing areas. A person with dyslexia has trouble associating written characters with spoken sounds. This makes it difficult for the sufferer to learn to read since the dyslexic brain can’t make a connection between the letters on a page and the spoken words they represent.
Beyond reading difficulties, dyslexics also tend to have trouble remembering and mentally organizing information.
Symptoms of Dyslexia
Although there are early warning signs of dyslexia, the problem often shows up once a dyslexic child starts school. Symptoms of the disorder in school-age children include:
- Reading skills that are below those expected for their age
- Difficulty recognizing or sounding out an unfamiliar written word
- Poor spelling
- Difficulty distinguishing the difference between individual letters and words
- Slow performance of writing-based tasks
- Difficulty remembering the proper sequence of telling a story or solving a problem
- Problems processing spoken language or sounds
- Difficulty distinguishing rhyming words
- Problems remembering or naming letters, numbers, and colors
In older children, adolescents, and adults, dyslexia can show up in difficulties with a broader range of tasks that depend on processing written language, such as:
- Learning a foreign language
- Solving math problems
- Memorizing facts
- Understanding language-based jokes or figures of speech
- Difficulty reading, including reading aloud
- Slow and labor-intensive reading and writing
- Problems spelling
- Avoiding activities that involve reading
- Mispronouncing names or words, or problems retrieving words
- Trouble understanding jokes or expressions that have a meaning not easily understood from the specific words (idioms), such as “piece of cake” meaning “easy”
- Spending an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading or writing
- Difficulty summarizing a story
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