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Understanding dyslexia

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities, affecting 1 in 5 people in the U.S. It can impact a child’s writing, spelling and vocabulary development as well as his ability to organize his thoughts. Dyslexia may be noticed as early as kindergarten — or it may go undiagnosed. 

“Although the exact cause is unknown, we do know that people with dyslexia have different organizational patterns in their brain,” said neuropsychologist Lisa Stanford, PhD, director of neurobehavioral health at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Imaging studies also show that the areas of the brain associated with reading and phonetic decoding are smaller in people with dyslexia.”

Dyslexia is a lifelong condition. For preschoolers, dyslexia might make it difficult to learn or remember the alphabet or how to count.

By the time the child is in school, specific reading problems may become more apparent, a well as difficulty putting thoughts down on paper.

Teens will likely have problems with tasks that require a lot of reading, such as completing a book report or a standardized group test.

Your child’s teacher can provide information about where specific problems are occurring to aid in the evaluation of a reading disability or dyslexia.

Treatment should be addressed in the special education system through an Individualized Education Program (IEP). An IEP may include accommodations in the child’s regular classroom or tutoring.

For more information, check out the Children’s Channel video below with Dr. Stanford.