Dyslexia is often diagnosed when a child or adult has more difficulty with reading than their IQ would suggest. New research adds to this discrepancy model by using fMRI patterns.
Although dyslexia is popularly thought of a tendency to reverse letters, it is more fundamentally an inability to match the sounds of letters with the symbols that stand for them. People with dyslexia have difficulty deciphering whole words, syllables, and individual letters. Young children with dyslexia may have difficulty learning the alphabet, rhyming words, counting syllables, or blending sounds to make words. Elementary school children may also struggle with slow and/or inaccurate reading, very poor spelling, and difficulty reading aloud.
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The International Dyslexia Association has defined dyslexia as, "a neurologically based, often familial, disorder which interferes with the acquisition and processing of language." Dyslexia varies in severity, and may involve trouble with hearing the sounds of language, reading, writing, spelling, handwriting, and occasionally arithmetic. It is a lifelong impairment, but often responds to treatment, especially when help is offered early.
Educational accommodations and carefully targeted training during which the individual is taught the skills that come readily to a normally functioning reader: sound symbol correspondence, decoding, rhyming, the rules of spelling and phonics ... when these are all methodically taught and drilled using lessons that build one upon the other, many dyslexics can come to function quite well as readers.