What You Need to Know

Dyslexia (say: dis-LEK-see-uh) is a type of learning disability, when people have problems learning to read. It is usually diagnosed by psychologists or educational specialists when a child is about 7 or 8 years old. But parents can look for signs of dyslexia earlier.

The Basics

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, and not a disease. It happens because of the way the brain processes information while reading. It is not caused by something you "did." About 2 in 10 people have dyslexia, and it runs in families: if a parent has dyslexia, each of his or her children have higher chances of having dyslexia too.

Dyslexia is:

  • not a sign of low IQ
  • not caused by brain damage
  • not caused by vision problems
  • not a sign of low motivation
  • not a sign of laziness

Dyslexia affects language processing skills. People with dyslexia have a hard time analyzing and blending letter sounds within words. They also have trouble building a large "bank" of easily recognized words. This causes trouble with reading and spelling. People with dyslexia are not stupid or lazy. Most are smart, creative, and accomplished. For this reason, some people describe dyslexia as having a bright mind that learns differently.

What You Can Do for Your Child





Dyslexia experts won't make an official diagnosis of dyslexia during the preschool (3-5) years. But parents know their children best, and they might see early signs of possible dyslexia. Look for signs like:

  • trouble recognizing her own name in print
  • trouble learning letters and their sounds
  • trouble understanding rhyme
  • trouble counting syllables in words
  • trouble learning to write his name and several letters
  • dislike and avoidance of reading and writing activities

If you believe your child has some of these signs, talk to your health care provider or your child's preschool teacher. Also, try the activities on this website, which are designed for all kinds of learners, including children having trouble with pre-reading skills.