When you hear the word “Dyslexia,” odds are you have an idea in your head of what it means, but there is so much more than meets the eye. So, what exactly is Dyslexia?
International Dyslexia Association defines Dyslexia as a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. While dyslexia can make reading more difficult, there are strategies that can help people improve their reading skills and manage the challenges of having it. ” The biggest misconception surrounding Dyslexia is that people who suffer from the learning difficulty lack intelligence or aren’t as smart as others, which could not be further from the truth. Instead of focusing on the weaknesses, let’s look into some of the strengths that are associated with Dyslexia.
Understanding the Basics of Dyslexia
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that impairs a person’s ability to read and write. Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, and poor spelling and decoding abilities. While Dyslexia is a neurological condition, Dyslexia has no relation to intelligence.
Experts believe 5 to 10% of the population can be identified as Dyslexic, while some experts believe as many as 17% of the population can be identified as Dyslexic.
What Causes Dyslexia?
Like with all Neurodiversity, researchers have not been able to crack the causes of Neurodivergent brain functionality. However, it does tend to run in families. 49% of parents of kids with Dyslexia are also Dyslexic themselves, and 40% of siblings of people with Dyslexia also struggle with readings.
Changes in the DCDC2 gene have been associated with reading problems and Dyslexia, and exposure during pregnancy to nicotine, drugs, alcohol, or infection can alter brain development in the fetus and may also have an effect. Other factors such as premature birth, low birth weight, brain injury, or stroke can also affect how the brain processes words and sounds.
Strengths of Dyslexia
Dyslexia is commonly associated with poor spelling and difficulties reading, leading people who suffer from the learning difficulty to feel as if they are not smart enough or will have a difficult time being successful in their studies. What many don’t realize is that Dyslexia can often result in increased creativity. People who are Dyslexic are more often than not considered right-brained thinkers, what that means is that they see things in a much more creative light, they think of things in the big picture as opposed to thinking about everything in a linear path.
Because of their increased creativity, Dyslexic people are able to approach and solve problems using more open-minded methods, often leading to solutions that are able to satisfy everyone involved. We are a lot more likely to reach a compromise if those involved are not narrow-minded and unwilling to consider things from another’s perspective.
Dyslexic students are often very artistically gifted which can open up an entirely new world of possibilities for them as well as a healthy and beautiful way to express themselves to others who might have a hard time understanding how they feel.
What are the Signs of Dyslexia in Children?
Signs of Dyslexia can be very difficult for parents to recognize the younger their child is. As toddlers and preschool aged children are just going to be in the very earliest stages of learning how to read and write, things are not going to appear much different between children who are Dyslexic and those who are not. There are however other signs you can look for in children who are not yet school-aged, these are:
- Beginning to talk later than others
- Difficulty learning nursery rhymes
- Having a hard time learning new words as quickly as others
- Difficulties forming words correctly
School Aged Children
Once a child has reached school age, their teacher might be more likely to notice some of these signs before their parents even do. Some signs to look for in school-aged children are:
- Reading below the expected level for age
- Problems remembering the sequence of things
- Difficulty spelling
- Avoiding activities that involve reading
- Problems processing and understanding things they hear
- Difficulty seeing differences and similarities in letters and words
It is a lot more likely for a child to be diagnosed as Dyslexic earlier in their childhood years, but it is absolutely not unheard of for teenagers and even adults to be diagnosed as well. Though a lot of signs found in teenagers will be the same as those found in school-aged children, there are a few others to keep an eye out for as well:
- Difficulties learning a foreign language
- Difficulty summarizing a story, movie, or show
- Difficulties understanding and solving math word problems
- Mispronouncing words or even names
It is never too late to see a doctor or specialist if you or your child may be suffering from Dyslexia, as issues later in life may very well arise from being left undiagnosed and a child not receiving the help that they needed.
Issues Caused by Dyslexia
Although Dyslexia is a common form of Neurodiversity, there is no denying that those who navigate life with Dyslexia, particularly teenagers and adults are at risk of certain issues and challenges that others may not face. Let’s take a look at a few different types of issues that you or your child may face when living with Dyslexia.
Teenagers could face serious difficulties learning and advancing their education in order to be successful in their studies and later in life if they are not provided with the tools and resources to help them as they learn and grow in their earlier years. If a child is given the best tools, resources, and support to navigate their Dyslexia, it is a lot more likely that they are going to be able to overcome a lot of the academic challenges that might arise.
As a child grows into a teenager, they are will become more aware of their peers and any differences they might have from them. A teenager living with Dyslexia could end up feeling like there is something wrong with them, or they have something to be ashamed of, even though they are absolutely healthy and normal in every way.
Tying in with the self-esteem issues that Dyslexic teens or adults might face are the social issues. In addition to them being hard on themselves and feeling as if they don’t fit in, there is a good chance that at some point, unfortunately, somebody else will treat them differently and make them feel like an outcast in a group that they have every right to be a part of. It is an unfortunate fact of life that even though society is opening their minds and recognizing Neurodiversities as the beautiful thing they are, there are still people out there who are not quite able to grasp the concept yet.
Problems They May Face as Adults
Dyslexia has a huge impact on an individual’s life and of course, much of their future can depend on whether or not they are able to come to terms with, adapt to, and overcome the challenges they are faced with. Not having the proper resources as they grow up can lead to an adult never being able to reach their full potential. A person with Dyslexia is more than capable of achieving great things and having very rewarding careers, but if they grow up believing there is something wrong with them or they are just not smart enough it is going to severely impact their ability to do so. This can lead to a person dealing with life-long economic and/or social difficulties.
How is Dyslexia Diagnosed?
While some signs may show early, the best way to know for sure if someone has Dyslexia is with a full evaluation done by a professional either a school, clinical psychologist, or neuropsychologist. During the evaluation, there will be a series of Dyslexia tests and other tests to assess strengths and weaknesses in reading accuracy and fluency along with reading and listening comprehension. A diagnosis can help a person with Dyslexia receive the support and accommodations necessary to ensure they lead a thriving and fulfilling life.
Are There Any Other Neurodiversities Linked to Dyslexia?
There are increased chances of a child with Dyslexia also having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Having ADHD as a child can cause trouble concentrating or sitting still, as well as difficulties remaining focused on things which can make recognizing Dyslexia in them more difficult for parents and/or teachers.
Every type of Neurodiversity is different, and none of them make a person any less normal or worthy of respect, love, and acceptance by the rest of the world. Neurodiversity is not something for a person to feel like they have to hide.
Dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of and should never be treated as such. If you have questions regarding dyslexia or any other beautiful form of Neurodiversity there are many resources out there to help educate and inform you, as well as work with you to better understand those around you who are Dyslexic. There are workbooks, classes, and ThearaWay.
Theara and Dyslexia
Theara was built to support Neurodivergent people, including Dyslexic people. We have several life hacks, resources, and blogs to support Dyslexic people as they navigate their Neurodivergent life.
We also specifically crafted the Theara Academy.
The Theara Academy
Theara has created a community and resource hub for all Neurodivergent people, what Theara refers to as the Neurodiverse Collective. We created an innovative acronym-based digital training to ensure Neurodivergent live fulfilling and rewarding lives where they reach their goals, maintain meaningful relationships, and embrace who they truly are.
Here at Theara, we have 4 unique courses to support Neurodivergent people.
Know the Way at Home is a resource for parents of Neurodivergent children.
Know the Way at School is a resource to help parents, teachers, and educators navigate the Neurodivergent academic journey.
Know the Way at Work is a resource for employers, business owners, and HR representatives wanting to create a more inclusive and accommodating workplace for their Neurodivergent staff.
E.M.E.R.G.E. ND is for people wanting to remove the mask, heal the trauma and grief, reach their goals, and navigate their Neurodiversity.
Each course is tailored to a different stage of the Neurodivergent experience. Whether you’re a parent seeking to support your child, an educator wanting a more inclusive classroom, an employer ready to create a more diverse workforce, or a Neurodiverse person wanting to be themselves, then we have a course for you.
Let’s build a bridge to a brighter future, together.