Symptoms and Signs of Dyslexia (Learning Disorders: Reading)

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 1/25/2022

Doctor's Notes on Dyslexia
(Learning Disorders: Reading)

Dyslexia (reading disorder) is a general term for disorders involving difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but do not affect general intelligence. Signs and symptoms may differ with age.

  • Preschool: difficulty recognizing alphabet letters, language delays, trouble rhyming, trouble with letter sounds
  • Early elementary: difficulty reading single words (often needs visual clues), slow speed of reading, poor spelling, generally good math concepts, substitutions of letters, difficulty with pseudowords
  • Later elementary and middle school: math difficulties involving word problems, difficulties with assignments involving reading lengthy text, trouble in comprehension of reading text

The cause or causes of dyslexia are unknown. However, it may be linked to certain genes that affect brain processes of language and reading. Risk factors include a family history of dyslexia, premature or low birth weight, fetal exposure to nicotine, drugs, alcohol, or infection.

What Are the Treatments for Dyslexia?

There is no cure for dyslexia, however, early detection (in childhood) and evaluation can help provide appropriate treatments. For example, educational techniques can focus on the following:

  • Recognize and use small sounds that form words.
  • Phonics
  • Reading comprehension
  • Reading accuracy and fluency
  • Vocabulary building
  • Tutoring
  • Set up a plan (individual education plan) for schooling.
  • Read aloud to your child.
  • Encourage a time set aside for reading.
  • Parents set example for reading
  • If possible, make reading fun, and choose a subject that is interesting for the reader.
  • Join a support group.

For adults, seek help no matter what your age is. You may be able to get support from your employer, a local academic institution, and/or by contacting the Americans with Disabilities Act representatives.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.