Managing Dyslexia

Health, Home & Family
on May 1, 2012

Dyslexia is a common learning disorder characterized by difficulty reading. According to the Mayo Clinic, dyslexia is a "lifelong condition caused by inherited traits that affect how your brain works," and it has no cure. There are, however, ways for individuals to cope with the condition and enjoy success in school and work.

Causes. The exact cause of dyslexia is unclear. Scientist believe it has to do with brain development. Making scientists' job even more difficult in coming up with the exact cause of dyslexia is that no two dyslexics are the same, although commonalities exist. They include, in addition to difficulty reading and writing, difficulty with math, auditory processing and organization. Experts on dyslexia are quick to point out that dyslexia is an inherited learning disability with no correlation to IQ. Risk factors include a family history of dyslexia and individual differences in the parts of the brain that enable reading.

Treatments. With proper treatment, most kids with dyslexia are able to manage their reading disability and develop coping strategies that allow them to learn in a normal classroom setting. In the United States, federal law requires that kids with dyslexia receive specialized instruction, extra time for tests or homework, or help with taking notes. Often, kids in school work with a specially trained teacher, tutor or academic therapist. Even with these interventions, children and adults with dyslexia may struggle, making it extremely important for support at home.

Home support. The earlier dyslexia is diagnosed and treated, the more likely the learning disability can be overcome. Those who receive help in kindergarten or first grade are much more likely to learn adaptive skills that will help them succeed in school. Reading aloud to your child, whether he or she has dyslexia or not, has positive effects on reading ability beginning as young as 6 months. This reading can also take the form of audio books. While your child is in school, work with his teacher to create an individualized education plan that will address his specific needs and provide necessary modifications.

Emotional support. It's imperative that those with dyslexia receive emotional support. Talk to your child about the learning disability and share success stories of those who have overcome it. There are also support groups for those with dyslexic children or adults with dyslexia.