Dyslexia is the most common learning disability. It is estimated that 10-20% of the population has dyslexia and 80% of people with learning disabilities have dyslexia1.
Brain imaging studies have shown that dyslexia is neurologically based. Different regions of the brain are involved in the reading process – to recognize letters and words, link letters to sounds, distinguish letter sounds (phonemic awareness), read fluently and comprehend text. Subtle differences in the neural pathways of the reading ‘circuit’ in the brain are related to the ease with which different people learn to read. This is similar to individual differences in musical or map-reading ability and is unrelated to other intellectual abilities. Brain imaging studies have shown that people with dyslexia have not developed the neural network typical of successful readers. However, studies have also shown that structured literacy intervention results in the development of a neural network more typical of successful readers.
Dyslexia does run in families. Parents who have dyslexia are more likely to have children with dyslexia.
Dyslexia occurs in people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and intellectual abilities. Many people with dyslexia have tremendous strengths in areas such as music, arts, business, sports, engineering and design. For instance, some studies have found there to be a higher rate of dyslexia in business entrepreneurs.
Dyslexia is a life-long condition that people don’t ‘out-grow’. However, there is effective instruction that will provide skills and strategies that will help your child succeed at school. A supportive environment will also help your child build on their strengths and be successful in life.
1American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/2/837