Dyslexia- Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors and Diagnosis

Dyslexia- Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors and Diagnosis


Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulties reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate (decoding) to letters and words. Dyslexia also is known as reading disability affects regions of the brain that interpret language.

People with dyslexia have average intelligence and are usually have normal vision. Through tutoring or a professional education plan, most children with dyslexia will excel in school. Also essential is the emotional support.

While there is no cure for dyslexia, the best result is early diagnosis and intervention. Sometimes dyslexia goes undiagnosed for years and isn’t recognized until adulthood, but it’s never too late to seek help.

Symptoms of Dyslexia

Because dyslexia causes difficulty with reading, many parents will not understand that there is a problem until their child reaches school age. However, there are a few indicators to look out for early on. These include:

  • Difficulty forming words, like mixing up sounds
  • Delays in learning new words
  • Problems learning or reciting rhymes

As a child enters school, he or she may:

  • Have below-average reading levels
  • Have trouble seeing, listening or saying different sounds
  • Spell words incorrectly and/or have disorganized writing
  • Be unable to remember sequences (like numbers or letters)
  • Take much longer to finish reading and writing exercises

Teenagers and adults will struggle with these problems as well. Additionally, they may have trouble understanding jokes or idioms, mispronounce words, or have problems trying to learn a new language.

When to see a doctor

While most children are eager to learn to read during kindergarten or first grade, children with dyslexia are still unable to grasp the fundamentals of reading at the time. Talk with your doctor if your child’s reading level is below what’s expected for his or her age or if you notice other signs of dyslexia.

Childhood reading problems persist into adulthood when dyslexia goes undiagnosed and untreated.


Children with dyslexia, following conventional training, have trouble learning to read, at least average comprehension, and sufficient motivation and ability to learn. It is thought to be caused by impairment in the ability of the brain to process phonemes (the smallest units of speech which distinguish words from one another). This is not the result of issues with vision or hearing. It is not because of mental retardation, brain damage or lack of intelligence.       

The causes of dyslexia vary with the type. Most research in primary dyslexia focuses on hereditary causes. Recently, researchers have identified specific genes which may lead to the signs and symptoms of dyslexia. This research is very important because this may permit the identification of those children at risk for developing dyslexia and allow for earlier educational interventions and better outcomes.

Risk factors

The risk factors of dyslexia include:

  • A family history of dyslexia or other learning disabilities
  • Premature birth or low birth weight
  • Exposure to smoking, drugs, alcohol or infections during pregnancy that can affect the development of fetal brains
  • Human differences in parts of the brain which enable read


Dyslexia can lead to a number of problems, including:

Trouble learning: Since reading is a necessary skill like most other subjects in school, in most classrooms a child with dyslexia is at a disadvantage and may have difficulty keeping up with peers.

Social problems: Dyslexia that is left untreated can lead to low self-esteem, behavioural issues, anxiety, hostility, and isolation from peers, parents, and teachers.

Problems as adults: Inability to read and understand will prevent a child from achieving its potential as the child grows up. That can have long-term implications in terms of education, social and economics.

Children with dyslexia have an increased risk of attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and vice versa. ADHD can cause attention-sustaining problems as well as hyperactivity and impulsive actions which can make dyslexia more difficult to handle.


There is no specific test for dyslexia. However, some factors can be considered in the diagnosis of dyslexia, such as:

  • Assessment of your child’s development, academics and medical history: The doctor asks details about the child’s developmental issues, performance in school, participation in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and family history of dyslexia for further diagnosis and treatment.
  • Family life: The doctor asks details about family life and the interaction at home. The doctor also asks about any current family problems that may affect the child’s mental health.
  • Eye, ear and brain tests: The doctor recommends for visual, hearing and neurological tests to rule out any underlying disease condition producing symptoms of dyslexia.
  • Psychological Examination: To grasp the child’s mental state, the doctor asks some questions. This is to check whether your child has psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression or any social problems that are limiting the child’s efficiency and performance.
  • Questionnaires: The doctor asks the parents and teachers regarding the behavioural changes of the child. The language and reading skills are concurrently examined during the screening
  • Reading test and other academic evaluation: Reading skills are analyzed by a reading expert who finds out whether your child finds it difficult to read well.

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