What is Dyslexia?

Defining Dyslexia

“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” The International Dyslexia Association (http://www.interdys.org)

Features of Dyslexia

  • Difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed

  • Occurs regardless of intellectual ability or aptitude

  • It is genetic due to its neurobiological origin

  • Poor organisation, mental calculation, motor co-ordination and concentration while not markers of Dyslexia, can co-exist as a result of Dyslexia

Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations, or extra support services.

These pages are intended to provide a very brief introduction to the nature of dyslexia and to some of the signs that may be observed in individuals with dyslexia. To learn more please visit the Additional Resources page which will direct you to other web sites dedicated to providing information about dyslexia.