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What Exactly Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty with reading and writing, despite normal intelligence and adequate instruction.  It is a specific language-based learning difference that is neuro-biological in nature, and therefore tends to run in families.  Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties with processing the individual sounds (phonological components) of language; it is not a vision or behavioral problem. 


Dyslexia falls under a larger umbrella term of Language-Based Learning Disorders* (LBLD*).  LBLDs affect skills involving listening, speaking, reading, writing and reasoning.  In addition to dyslexia, they include dysgraphia (writing), dyscalculia (math), verbal language (speaking and understanding) and nonverbal language (body language, facial expression, and coordination). 


* The “D” can represent different words depending on professional terminology: “disorder” for medical and “disability” for legal and educational professionals. Additionally, advocates are increasingly using the term “difference” to emphasize the neurological diversity of cognition and learning styles.

Learning Disability Association of America

Link to overview on types of learning disabilities and related disorders such as ADHD and executive function

Ted-Ed Video: What is Dyslexia?

Five-minute TED-Ed video created by Kelli Sandman-Hurley (co-founder of Dyslexia Training Institute) that explains dyslexia from a brain science perspective.  


International Dyslexia Association: Dyslexia Basics Fact Sheet

PDF handout from the International Dyslexia Association covering “just the facts” Dyslexia Fact Sheet

Infographic with basics facts, trouble areas and ways to help

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