Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. In individuals with adult onset of dyslexia, it usually occurs as a result of brain injury or in the context of dementia; this contrasts with individuals with dyslexia who simply were never identified as children or adolescents. Dyslexia can be inherited in some families, and recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia.
The main focus of treatment should be on the specific learning problems of affected individuals. The usual course is to modify teaching methods and the educational environment to meet the specific needs of the individual with dyslexia.
For those with dyslexia, the prognosis is mixed. The disability affects such a wide range of people and produces such different symptoms and varying degrees of severity that predictions are hard to make. The prognosis is generally good, however, for individuals whose dyslexia is identified early, who have supportive family and friends and a strong self-image, and who are involved in a proper remediation program.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support dyslexia research through grants to major research institutions across the country. Current research avenues focus on developing techniques to diagnose and treat dyslexia and other learning disabilities, increasing the understanding of the biological and possible genetic bases of learning disabilities, and exploring the relationship between neurophysiological processes and cognitive functions with regard to reading ability.
International Dyslexia Association
Promotes effective teaching approaches and related clinical educational intervention strategies for people with dyslexia; supports and encourages interdisciplinary study and research; and facilitates exploration of the causes and early identification of dyslexia. Committed to the responsible and wide dissemination of research-based knowledge.
40 York Road
Baltimore, MD 21204
Learning Disabilities Association of America
Dedicated to identifying causes and promoting prevention of learning disabilities and to enhancing the quality of life for all individuals with learning disabilities and their families by encouraging effective identification and intervention, fostering research, and protecting their rights under the law.
4156 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15234-1349
National Center for Learning Disabilities
Provides information to parents, professionals and individuals with learning disabilities, promotes research and programs to foster learning, and advocates for policies to protect and strengthen educational rights and opportunities.
32 Laight Street
New York, NY 10013
Tel: New York
National Institute of Child Health and Human
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 2A32 MSC 2425
Bethesda, MD 20892-2425