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Dyslexia: Symptoms, Causes and Types

Dyslexia: Symptoms, Causes and Types

Dyslexia is the neurological disorder of learning disability which primarily affects reading, writing and speaking abilities. The following write-up on the symptoms, causes and types of dyslexia will help you understand this learning problem in children clearly.
Buzzle Staff
Last Updated: Mar 1, 2018
One of the learning disabilities that may leave a scar on children for life is dyslexia. This is because it causes severe impairment in reading and writing. If not taken care of early on, it will lead to a lot of stress in their adult life. This disability will hamper their employment chances and lead to underemployment or unemployment.
What is Dyslexia?
The term dyslexia is derived from Greek words dys that mean ill or difficult and lexis that stands for word. This means the person has difficulty with words. This is a learning disability that is characterized by the difficulty or inability to learn adequate reading or writing skills although conventional teaching and social-cultural activities are available. It primarily impacts the reading and writing abilities. It is a neurological or brain-based condition. People affected by this disability are called dyslexic or dyslectic.
Characteristic Signs
There are a few telltale signs of this learning disability. A dyslectic:
  • May seem to be bright, intelligent and articulate, but their reading, writing and speaking is under par based on their age group.
  • Have average or above average intelligence, but may fail terribly in academics.
  • May have good speaking abilities, but his/her performance in the written language exams will be very poor.
  • Is labeled lazy, dumb, careless and immature. Always given a remark of "not trying hard enough" or said to have an attitude or behavior problem.
  • Is usually termed as worst of the lot at school. This is because this condition affects the reading, sparing other intellectual abilities.
  • Feels dumb and have poor self-esteem.
  • Get easily emotional and frustrated about school reading and testing.
  • Will try to hide the reading weakness with ingenious compensatory strategies.
  • Always learn best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experiments, observations and Audio-visual aids.
  • Talented in other areas like art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building and engineering.
  • May have problems related to concentration. He/she may daydream, get lost easily or lose track of time.
Types of Dyslexia
Those who are dyslexic tend to have trouble processing information after seeing a word. They may not be able to connect the sound or decipher the sound made by a particular word. This causes them to have trouble with spellings, writing, reading, speaking and even math. There are different types based on the severity of the condition. Some children may suffer from a severe form and some may suffer from a milder form.
Speech and Language Dyslexia
a. Difficulty producing speech sounds (developmental articulation disorder). The person might mispronounce certain letters or letter combinations.
b. Difficulty understanding what other people say (developmental receptive language disorder).
c. Difficulty using spoken language to communicate (developmental expressive language disorder).
Academic Learning Dyslexia
a. Reading problems (developmental reading disorder, or dyslexia). The person cannot identify different word sounds.
b. Writing problems (developmental writing disorder, or dysgraphia). The person has problems with handwriting or with creating sentences that make sense to others.
c. Arithmetic skills problems (developmental arithmetic disorder, or dyscalculia). The person has problems with calculations or with abstract mathematical concepts.
Other Learning Dyslexia
a. Fine motor skills problems (dyspraxia).
b. Nonverbal Learning Disorder.
Symptoms of Dyslexia
Children may show different symptoms such as:
Early Symptoms of Dyslexia at Pre-school and Kindergarten levels
  • Delayed speech
  • Mixing sounds in multi-syllabic word (e.g. Aminal for Animal, Emeny- for Enemy)
  • Early cluttering or stuttering
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Mastering the art of tying shoes is never easy
  • Late to establish a dominant hand
  • Poor Phonemic awareness
  • Difficulty in producing rhyming words
  • Difficulty in learning letters and writing them in order
Symptoms Related to Speech/Hearing
  • Poor oral language
  • Takes a while to learn how to talk
  • Pronunciation is haywire
  • Poor vocabulary in comparison with the age group
  • Never follow directions
  • Confusion with certain words like left/right, before/after, etc.
  • Difficulty in learning alphabets, rhymes or songs
  • Can't understand concepts and relationships
  • Words and names are very hard to recollect
  • Can't identify rhyming words
  • Difficulty in hearing and manipulating sounds in words
  • Difficulty in distinguishing different sounds in words
  • Difficulty in learning the sounds of letters
Symptoms Related To Reading and Spelling Abilities
  • Can read a word in one page correctly, but in the very next page, he may fail to recognize it
  • Knows phonics, but can't sound out an unknown word
  • Slow, inaccurate and labored reading of single words in isolation
  • Misreading happens most often when the first and last letters are same, for e.g. form-from, trail-trial, tar-rat, now-wow, etc.
  • They may add or leave out letters, for e.g. cold-could, star-stair, cart-cat etc.
  • They may also say a word that has same letters, but in a different sequence. For e.g. who-how, saw-was, left-felt, etc.
  • Substitutes similar looking words, for e.g. house for horse, sunrise for surprise, rite for right, etc.
  • When reading aloud, ignores punctuation, reading is very slow and out of order
  • Seems to be tired after reading a short paragraph
  • Listening comprehension is better than reading comprehension
  • Misreads, omits or adds small functional words like a, an, from, to etc.
  • Omits or changes suffixes, saying need for needed, talks for talking or late for lately
  • They have extreme difficulty with vowels and often flunk in spellings
  • They tend to memorize the spellings, but can't write them after a short while
  • Misspells even while copying something from the board or from a book
  • Written work is a good enough proof for weakness in spellings, with lots of cuts, erasures
Problems Related to Handwriting
  • Unusual pencil grip
  • They put down their heads on the desk to watch the tip of the pencil as they write.
  • They often get hand cramps. This is due to very tight gripping of the pencil.
  • Writing is slow and labored.
  • Unusual starting and ending points of the letters.
  • Letters normally do not sit on the horizontal lines.
  • Words may be tightly spaced or widely pushed apart.
  • Ignorance with the margin.
  • Copying is tedious and takes time to develop cursive writing.
  • The child avoids writing whenever possible.
  • Writes everything as one long sentence
  • Can't understand punctuation.
  • Confusion over a complete sentence and fragments.
  • Illegible handwriting, and takes a long time to write.
  • Does not notice errors during proofreading.
Directionality
  • Confusions over left-right, before-after, etc.
  • Confusions over b-d, m-n, etc.
  • Confusion on b-p, d-q, n-u, m-w.
Difficulties in Math
  • Memorizing facts of addition, and subtraction is a pain
  • Memorizing multiplication tables is a Herculean task
  • Remembering the sequence of steps in division is very difficult
  • They do not show their mathematical work, they have it in their mind
Causes
The exact cause of this learning disability is unknown. Studies however point towards genetics, that may have a hand in the development of this detrimental disorder. Children of people with dyslexia are more likely to suffer from this condition. However, till the exact cause remains unknown, the treatment will remain superficial.
Treatment
A qualified psychologist or specialist in dyslexia can help in diagnosing this condition. As the cause is unknown, the cure remains elusive. However, change in teaching methods and extra care can help the child overcome their disability. These children need to be taught to learn in a special way. They can be given extra time in school during tests and other evaluation methods. Parents need to educate themselves on this subject so that they can give their child everything they need to succeed academically. Encourage the child to read, do not allow them to lose interest. Motivate them to try harder, but not force them. Help them pursue activities that they enjoy doing and excel in their hobbies. Even if you as a parent and the teachers at school try their level best, some children will face difficulties learning. Do not get discouraged and scold the child. It is not his/her fault that he/she cannot read or write. Instead praise their talents and strengths and help them overcome low self-esteem.

This was a bit about the causes, symptoms and types of dyslexia. It is very difficult to grasp when one cannot actually make out the words. Imagine yourself in the boots of a dyslexic. Everybody around you can read and write. But, you are stuck as words and alphabets around you are dancing and teasing you. A child's mind is very vulnerable at this point. As a parent or teacher, it is your job to help the child overcome this difficulty and motivate them to try harder. Do not lose hope and don't let your child slip away in darkness. Reach out for professional help to make sure your child not suffer in silence.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.
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