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How to Understand Dyslexia

How to Understand Dyslexia: "
Dyslexia is a neurological learning disability (LD) that affects many aspects of life such as reading, writing, spelling, mathematics, and general academics. Children with dyslexia are mislabeled as 'lazy' because of their lack of performance in school and in life. In contrast to this misconception, a large percentage of dyslexics have an above average IQ. To put it in layman's terms, a glitch in their brain makes them unable to access the 'word analyzer' and other parts of the brain. If you don't know much about dyslexia, here is a primer.


  1. Do not assume that a person with dyslexia is just someone who is behind in reading, writing and spelling. The latter can be caused by a variety of factors that are not neurological, such as a non-neurological deficiency with vision or hearing, or from poor or inadequate reading instruction. Dyslexia is caused by an impairment in the brain's ability to translate images received from the eyes or ears into understandable language.
  2. Try to imagine the world from a dyslexic person's point of view. A person with dyslexia has trouble seeing letters or words in the intended organization, remembering the order of the words or letters, or processing the words or letters in their correct order, shape, and direction. Here are some things a dyslexic person may experience:

    • see some letters as backwards or upside down
    • see text appearing to jump around on a page
    • not able to tell the difference between letters that look similar in shape such as (o), (e), (c), (8) and (3)
    • not able to tell the difference between letters that have similar shape but different orientation, appearing as if in a mirror, like (db bd) and (qp pq)
    • see the letters fine, but not able to sound out words -- that is, not be able to connect the letters to the sounds they make and understand them
    • able to connect the letters and sound out words, but not able to recognize words they have seen before, no matter how many times they see them -- each time they would have to start fresh
    • able to read the word properly but not able to make sense of or remember what they read, so that they find themselves coming back to read the same passage over and over again
    • the letters might look all jumbled up and out of order
    • the letters and words might look all bunched together
    • the letters of some words might appear completely backwards, such as the word 'bird' looking like 'brid'
    • the letters and words might look normal, but the dyslexic person might get a severe headache or feel sick to their stomach every time they try to read for prolonged hours

  3. Know how dyslexia is diagnosed. The Dyslexia Determination Test (DDT) is used to investigate specific aspects of language problems and differentiates the child who demonstrates dyslexic tendencies from the individual who is merely behind in reading, writing and spelling due to causes other than a dyslexic pattern. A child must be reading (at least) at a second grade level for the test to be valid. Dyslexia can also be identified genetically. A test can reveal the presence of the DCDC2 Gene now known to be linked to dyslexia (a simple cotton swab is used).
  4. Avoid confusing dyslexia with developmental disorders such as mental retardation (MR) or autism. MR is generally characterized by low IQ[1] while people with dyslexia usually have average or above average IQ.[2] Autism and Asperger's Syndrome are characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.[3] These are not characteristics associated with dyslexia.
  5. Know the different kinds of dyslexia: 'dysphonetic', 'dyseidetic' and dysphoneidetic. Dysphonetic dyslexia is also known as Auditory Dyslexia because the person labeled 'dysphonetic' has difficulty connecting sounds to symbols, and might have a hard time sounding out words, and spelling mistakes would show a very poor grasp of phonics, while the 'dyseidetic' individual, on the other hand, generally has a good grasp of phonetic concepts, but great difficulty with whole word recognition and spelling. This type of dyslexia is also sometimes called 'surface dyslexia' or 'visual dyslexia.' If a child can't read (decode)and spell (encode)words either eidetically or phonetically, this is known as Mixed Dyslexia or Dysphoneidetic Dyslexia. This is the severest form of dyslexia because it involves both types of coding functions.


  • The greater collection of symptoms of dyslexia is called 'Word Blindness' which is an old-fashioned term used to mean that a person is unable to recognize and understand words that they see. This was the term used to describe dyslexia when it was first described by doctors about one hundred years ago. It is sometimes still used to describe the symptoms of a person who cannot remember the order and sequence of letters in a word from one time to the next. That is, even after intensive study and drill, the student is unable to recognize the word.
  • Parents can find out if they or their children carry the hereditary traits of dyslexia in the same way as a paternity test. Use a QIAamp Kit done at home with a prescription given under the orders of a genetics specialist. Saliva will provide all the DNA to test for DCDC2 in chromosome 6 and 15 as linked to the FGFR3 gene helix mutative gene (see Sources and Citations research into dyslexia).
  • Dyslexia can also make mathematics, especially the algebraic forms, an especially difficult challenge. This type of dyslexia is known as Dyscalculia, which is defined as the inability to calculate equations due to poor mental math and memory skills. Signs of dyscalculia in adulthood would include:

    • Poor mental math, difficulty handling money, making change
    • Fails to notice math signs and symbols (+ = - x )
    • Can get problems right, but doesn't understand why, so can't transfer the knowledge to new problems
    • Doesn't remember the basic math operations like addition and multiplication tables
    • Poor sense of direction, trouble reading maps, telling time, understanding schedules
    • Mistakes in working with numbers - reversals, substituting other numbers and leaving numbers out
    • Trouble learning musical concepts or following directions in sports.

  • Problems with math can be due to other factors, however, which make dyscalculia hard to diagnose:

    • Lack of experience and background knowledge in math
    • Math instruction in the past has not matched the learner's learning style
    • Lack of motivation, lackadaisical (non caring) attitude
    • Below average intelligence
    • Math anxiety
    • Doesn't see mathematics as useful
    • Non-mathematical learning disabilities

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