Can you imagine that Hollywood stars like Salma Hayek and Tom Cruise have reading, writing, or spelling challenges? Read this post to learn how people with this lifelong learning difficulty can succeed.

What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty primarily affecting fluent and accurate reading, writing, or spelling skills. With person-centred support, individuals with dyslexia can effectively manage challenges and enhance their skills. Dyslexia can be undiagnosed for years. However, early assessment is crucial to provide proactive support and interventions. This approach is key to ensuring that children with dyslexia achieve the best possible outcomes in school and that students succeed academically.

Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia

Dyslexia manifests differently in each person, resulting in various symptoms that may not be the same for everyone. Some individuals face challenges with spelling and grammar, while others face challenges with reading.

It is crucial to emphasise that experiencing one of these symptoms does not automatically indicate dyslexia. However, when someone exhibits several signs and symptoms, it becomes critical to consider tests and assessments to diagnose dyslexia accurately.

Below are examples of the common signs and symptoms of dyslexia specific to each age group.

Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia in Children

Dyslexia may present itself differently at various stages of a child’s development. In some cases, signs and symptoms are easier to spot before a child starts school, but they become more evident once formal reading and writing begins.

Below are some common indicators of dyslexia in children.

Primary School:

Signs and symptoms of dyslexia in primary school-age children include:

  • Delayed or late speech development
  • Little interest or difficulty remembering letters, numbers and colours
  • Prone to verbal mistakes (e.g., ‘chish and fips’ for ‘fish and chips’)
  • Difficulty forming words correctly
  • Slow paste of learning new words and phrases
  • Difficulty in pronouncing long words or phrases correctly (e.g. ‘beddy tear’ for ‘teddy bear’)
  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes or playing rhyming games
  • Developing fine motor skills more slowly than other children
  • Difficulty telling or retelling a story in the correct sequence

Secondary School:

Signs and symptoms of dyslexia in secondary school-age children include:

  • Difficulty spelling
  • Reading slowly and below the expected age level
  • Making mistakes when reading loud and avoiding reading activities
  • Difficulty remembering and carrying out a sequence
  • Difficulty in seeing or hearing similarities and differences in letters and words
  • Slow writing speed
  • Confusing the order of letters in words
  • Confusing letters that look similar (e.g. writing ‘b’ instead of ‘d’)
  • Difficulty in processing, understanding and communicating what is heard
  • Difficulty browsing, scanning, or proof-reading written text
  • Difficulty in taking notes and copying from a board
  • Difficulty with summarising or outlining text

With proactive and person-centred support, children can overcome challenges and learn methods to improve their skills.

Signs and Symptoms of Dyslexia in Teens and Adults

Dyslexia can often go undiagnosed in adults, as many develop coping mechanisms to manage reading, writing, and spelling challenges. Consequently, signs of dyslexia are frequently identified later in life, during the teenage years or adulthood.

Common signs and symptoms of dyslexia in teenagers and adults include:

  • Difficulty spelling 
  • Difficulty reading and avoiding reading activities
  • Difficulty remembering the correct names for things
  • Difficulty with learning languages
  • Slow reading and writing
  • Challenges with directions or reading maps
  • Challenges with finishing assignments within time limits
  • Difficulty memorising lists and numbers
  • Mispronouncing names or words
  • Difficulty summarising a story
  • Difficulty taking notes or copying words accurately

Causes of Dyslexia

While the exact cause behind dyslexia is still being explored, evidence indicates that certain genetic variations may increase the likelihood of developing dyslexia. Additionally, changes in the brain’s neural pathways related to reading have been observed in individuals with dyslexia.

In recent years, researchers have recognised the significance of considering both genetic and environmental influences on reading development. This approach acknowledges that genetic predispositions interact with environmental factors, such as early language exposure, educational interventions, and supportive home environments, to shape an individual’s reading abilities.

By examining the complex interplay between genetics and environmental factors, researchers are gaining valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of dyslexia. This comprehensive understanding can pave the way for more targeted interventions and personalised strategies to support people with dyslexia.

Can Trauma Cause Dyslexia?

In some cases, physical trauma is a potential cause of dyslexia, which is referred to as acquired dyslexia.

When there is physical trauma (fall from a ladder, car accident, sports injury, stroke, or concussion), a person can experience a brain injury that leads to dyslexia, or other learning difficulties.

Can You Develop Dyslexia Later in Life?

It is possible for a person to develop dyslexia later in life. In some situations, individuals may have had dyslexia from birth that went unnoticed until adulthood. Additionally, certain factors like brain injury or dementia can lead to the emergence of dyslexia symptoms later in life.

Adults who develop dyslexia may experience multiple learning difficulties rather than just one isolated challenge. Early and accurate diagnosis is crucial to provide customised support and appropriate treatment for individuals facing dyslexia-related difficulties.

Types of Dyslexia

There are several different types of dyslexia. Each type has a unique set of symptoms and signs. By recognising the different types of dyslexia, we can identify the specific areas where people may require additional support. This knowledge allows for more personalised support and treatments that address unique needs, ultimately helping people with dyslexia thrive and reach their full potential.

To better identify proactive treatment for dyslexia, we’ve listed different types of this learning difficulty below.

Phonological Dyslexia

Phonological dyslexia is believed to be the most common type of dyslexia. It involves difficulties with matching sounds to symbols, as well as breaking words into syllables and smaller sound units called phonemes.

Some symptoms of phonological dyslexia include the following:

  • Difficulty learning sounds made by letters
  • Difficulty sounding out unfamiliar words
  • Challenges with identifying familiar words in new contexts
  • Difficulty with spelling
  • Slow reading or avoiding reading activities

Rapid Naming Dyslexia

People with rapid naming dyslexia face difficulties with quickly saying and remembering names. For example, they may struggle to remember the name of different colours, numbers, and letters. This type of dyslexia is linked to both reading pace and language processing.

Some symptoms of rapid naming dyslexia include the following:

  • Difficulty remembering words
  • Frequently replacing words or leaving words out completely
  • Slow verbal response
  • Slow completing reading or writing tasks
  • Using gestures instead of words

Double Deficit Dyslexia

An individual with double deficit dyslexia has difficulty with two aspects of reading: speed and identifying the sounds in words. This type of dyslexia is a combination of rapid naming dyslexia, as well as phonological dyslexia.

Symptoms of double deficit dyslexia include the following:

  • Challenges with naming speed rate
  • Challenges with phonological understanding

Surface Dyslexia

People with surface dyslexia have difficulty with whole-word recognition and spelling. This is especially noticeable when words have irregular spelling-sound correspondences.

Symptoms of surface dyslexia include the following:

  • Difficulty with whole-word recognition
  • Slow reading or avoiding reading activities
  • Difficulty with spelling
  • Difficulty reading words that do not sound like they are spelt

Visual Dyslexia

Visual dyslexia affects the visual processing that impacts the ability to learn, read, spell and form letters. Learning processes require brain activity to remember the correct letter sequence or shape, but with this type of dyslexia, the brain doesn’t receive accurate information.

Symptoms of visual dyslexia include the following:

  • Text appearing blurred or in and out of focus
  • Text appearing double
  • Difficulty reading lines of written text
  • Headaches associated with reading

Dyslexia Diagnosis

Informed parents and teachers often play a crucial role in identifying the initial signs and symptoms of dyslexia in children. If dyslexia is suspected, seeking guidance from healthcare professionals, such as GPs or specialists like speech pathologists or school psychologists, is recommended.

Diagnosing dyslexia involves a series of assessments and tests conducted by professionals. The evaluations include gathering information about the individual and careful observation of the individual in both school and home environments.

Early diagnosis of dyslexia enables timely support and accommodations in educational settings. However, seeking professional services for a diagnosis is valuable at any stage of life.

Dyslexia Treatment

With proper education programs, people with dyslexia can learn and improve their reading, writing, and spelling skills. Support plans not only enhance academic abilities but also have a positive impact on an individual’s overall quality of life.

Generally, the support comes from a teacher, tutor, or therapist using a multisensory, structured language approach. Therapists design and develop a treatment plan to best address the specific needs of a person with dyslexia. Also, schools, universities and companies can adjust their programs and make necessary modifications for children, students, and people with dyslexia to succeed.

Learning Difficulties Associated with Dyslexia

There are many learning difficulties often associated with dyslexia. Common learning difficulties that co-occur with dyslexia include dyscalculia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dysgraphia. Treatment plans can help support individuals with dyslexia and co-occurring learning difficulties.

Living with Dyslexia

It is crucial to understand that people with dyslexia require personalised support to overcome their challenges. Support should be person-centred and help the individual gain confidence in their skills. However, it’s important to remember that a learning difficulty doesn’t affect a person’s potential or intelligence. In fact, people with dyslexia often excel in art, design, drama, music, and sports.  

Support Individuals with Dyslexia with LD Network

LD Network provides proactive and person-centred support to individuals with dyslexia, helping people overcome their challenges.

We are constantly on the lookout for skilled, dedicated and committed clinicians. If you are dedicated to transforming healthcare, contact us today.

For more information, contact us today or visit one of our office in Exeter.