What is Dyslexia

Dyslexia is generally used as an umbrella term to cover not only problems with reading, writing, and spelling - but also many other related learning disability categories, such as:
  • Dyslexia - difficulties with reading, comprehension, spelling, and creative writing.
  • ADD or ADHD - problems related to focus, organization, time-management, and hyperactivity.
  • Dyspraxia - problems related to clumsiness, co-ordination, and hand-writing.
  • Dyscalculia or Acalculia - difficulty with maths or an inability to use numbers.
  • Dysgraphia or Agraphia - difficulty with hand-writing or an inability to write.
  • Dysorthography - a specific dysgraphic disorder of spelling that accompanies dyslexia by a direct consequence of the phonological disorder.
  • Dysphasia - language disorder marked by a deficiency in the generation of speech, and sometimes also in its comprehension.
  • Poor working memory - difficulty following instructions or completing complicated tasks.
  • Auditory Processing Disorder - problems with listening or distinguishing sounds in language.
Having learning disabilities means that each individual will present with a different set of problems and there usually are overlaps of labels and conditions:


  • Employed in a job that hides difficulties in reading, writing, or spelling.
  • Hides difficulties from co-workers, friends, and sometimes family.
  • Becomes frustrated at "planning meetings" and sequential tasks; just wants to get on with it.
  • Becomes frustrated or overwhelmed with long forms or sequential processes.
  • Thrives in careers where visual-spatial/hands-on talents can be realized, for example, business owner, engineer, trades (carpentry, plumbing, electrical), interior decorator, actor, musician, police/investigation, athlete, and business executive (usually with staff or assistant).
  • May pass up promotions or advancement opportunities that require more administrative work.
  • May have difficulty focusing and staying on one task, yet may feel comfortable managing many different tasks simultaneously.
  • Difficulty with tests - passing standard tests can be a barrier to career advancement.
  • Highly successful, overachiever.
  • May be a perfectionist and overreact when a mistake is made.
  • Outside-the-box thinker.
  • Very controlling and operates according to very strict rules.
  • Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.


  • Highly intuitive, known to have "street smarts". Is often quick and accurate in judging the personalities of others.
  • May be able to sense the emotions and energy of others.
  • Remembers struggling in school.
  • May have dyslexic children and may experience guilt when seeing their own child struggle. May be embarrassed when reading to own children or helping them with homework.
  • Easily distracted/annoyed by noises and other things in the environment.
  • May appear to "zone out" and be unaware that it is happening.
  • Mis-speaks, misuse, or mispronounces words without realizing it.
  • May have poor balance.
  • May confuse past conversations or be accused of "not listening".
  • Difficulty remembering names of people without tricks, but usually remembers faces.
  • Difficulty remembering verbal instructions or directions. Likes to see them visually.
  • May have poor recall of conversations or sequence of events.

Maths, Time Management, and Directions

  • May be able to perform high-level maths, but can't show it on paper.
  • May excel at maths, or may still rely on tricks for remembering math facts.
  • Relies on calculators or finger counting.
  • When paying may prefer to use "plastic" instead of cash to avoid dealing with loose change.
  • May have difficulty with left/right and/or North, South, East, West.
  • May have difficulty reading maps.
  • May have anxiety or stress when driving in unfamiliar places. Relies on others to drive when possible.
  • May lose track of time and is often late, or is compulsively early.
  • Finds it difficult to estimate how long a task will take to complete.

Reading, Writing, and Spelling

  • Likes larger, clear print over unusual fonts.
  • Avoids reading out loud. May dislike public speaking.
  • Has adopted compensatory tricks to remember spelling and words that sound the same (their, there, they're), or has poor or inconsistent spelling.
  • Frequently has to re-read a sentence in order to understand it.
  • Gets tired or becomes bored quickly while reading.
  • Relies on others (assistants, spouses, significant others) for written correspondence.
  • Uncertainty with words, punctuation, and spelling when writing. Reliance on spell-check and grammar-check.
  • Poor handwriting; poor or inconsistent spelling.
  • Writes with all capital letters, or mixes capital letters within words. Abbreviates words frequently.

Behavior, Health, and Personality

  • May have a short fuse or is easily frustrated, angered, or annoyed.
  • Easily stressed and overwhelmed in certain situations.
  • May have low self-esteem.
  • Self-conscious when speaking in a group. May have difficulty getting thoughts out, pause frequently, speaks in halting phrases or leave sentences incomplete. This may worsen with stress or distraction.
  • Sticks to what they know; fear of new tasks or any situation where they are out of comfort zone.
  • Extremely disorderly, often losing and mislaying things.
  • Compulsively orderly, getting stressed when order is disturbed.
  • Confusion, stress, physical health issues, time pressure, and fatigue will significantly increase symptoms.

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