Understanding Dyslexia

What is Dyslexia?

An unexpected struggle learning to read, write, spell, and/or do arithmetic is the hallmark of dyslexia. Sometimes it involves trouble with spoken language as well.

Dyslexia is Not:

Dyslexia is not caused by laziness, "inattention", low intelligence, or social/emotional problems. However, the frustration of failing to learn basic skills can cause emotional problems. Attention Deficit Disorder may be present, but does not cause dyslexia.

Help for Dyslexics:

Specialized remedial teaching in basic skills is effective at all age levels, but is best begun as early as possible. Many dyslexics need explicit help mastering advanced academic skills such as writing term papers, or reading books with sophisticated sentence structure and vocabulary.

Dyslexics' Achievements:

Many dyslexic students are talented in academics or arts or sports. With appropriate education, dyslexic students can achieve in school and work. Many highly successful people in all walks of life are dyslexic including some industry CEO's, entertainers, etc.

Dyslexia is Lifelong:

Despite their normal or better intelligence, many dyslexics never completely master one or more aspects of written language and are eligible for accommodations in high school, college, professional schools and work. Dyslexia is a disability protected by federal law.

Look for a cluster of characteristics such as the following:

  • Inaccurate reading: Guesses the words
  • Reversals and/or transpositions of letters and numerals
  • Weak organizational skills
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Difficulty copying
  • Labored "childish" handwriting
  • Trouble learning common spelling patterns
  • Slow to memorize the alphabet and math facts
  • Doesn't read for pleasure
  • May have poor self-esteem
  • Difficulty organizing ideas to write or speak
College Resources for Students with Learning Disabilities

Update by Anna Reuter, Director of Field Services

The Dyslexic Advantage website is an excellent companion to Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide's book The Dyslexic Advantage. The site provides resources for individuals with dyslexia and their families. We would like to share two resource links that may be useful for college bound students as they begin their college application process: