The causes of dyslexia are neurobiological (having to do with the way the brain is formed and how it functions) and genetic (passed down through families). Dyslexia may also occur in people later in life due to other conditions, such as stroke.
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You will be asked about you or your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. It will include a hearing and vision test. You may then be referred to an expert in learning disabilities, such as a school psychologist, learning specialist, or neurologist (doctor who specializes in the nervous system) for additional testing.
Additional tests may be done. These may include:
- Cognitive processing tests—measure of thinking ability
- IQ test—measure of intellectual functioning
- Tests to measure speaking, reading, spelling, and writing skills
Most people with dyslexia need help from a teacher, tutor, or other trained professional. Talk with the doctor and learning specialist about the best treatment plan for you or your child. Treatment options include:
Remediation is a way of teaching that helps people with dyslexia to learn language skills. It uses the following concepts:
- Teach small amounts of information at a time
- Teach the same concepts many times—a concept known as over-teaching
- Use all the senses—hearing, vision, voice, and touch—to enhance learning (multisensory reinforcement)
Compensatory strategies are ways to work-around the effects of dyslexia. They include:
- Audio taping classroom lessons, homework assignments, and texts
- Using flashcards
- Sitting in the front of the classroom
- Using a computer with spelling and grammar checks
- Receiving more time to complete homework or tests
There is little that can be done to prevent dyslexia, especially if it runs in your family. However, early identification and treatment can reduce its effects. The sooner children with dyslexia get special education services, the fewer problems they will have learning to read and write at grade level. Under US federal law, free testing and special education services are available for children in the public school system.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Specific Reading Disability)
International Dyslexia Association http://eida.org
National Center for Learning Disabilities http://www.ld.org
Canadian Dyslexia Association http://www.dyslexiaassociation.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Dyslexia. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://www.kidshealth.org/kid/health%5Fproblems/learning%5Fproblem/dyslexia.html. Updated June 2015. Accessed February 12, 2016.
Dyslexia basics. International Dyslexia Association website. Available at: http://eida.org/dyslexia-basics. Accessed February 12, 2016.
Frequently asked questions about dyslexia. International Dyslexia Association website. Available at: http://eida.org/frequently-asked-questions-2. Accessed February 12, 2016.
Understanding dyslexia. Nemours Kid's Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/learning/dyslexia.html. Updated June 2015. Accessed February 12, 2016.
Understanding dyslexia. Understood for Learning and Attention Issues website. Available at: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/dyslexia/understanding-dyslexia. Accessed February 12, 2016.