Definition of Dyslexia


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The most contemporary definition of dyslexia states that dyslexia is a specific type of learning disability with a neurological origin. Its typical characteristic is difficulty with accurate word recognition and poor decoding and spelling abilities.

This definition of dyslexia further states that the difficulties mentioned are the result of a deficit in the patient’s phonological capabilities in dealing with language.

This definition of dyslexia includes secondary consequences relating to reading comprehension problems that hamper vocabulary growth and acquisition of background knowledge.

International Dyslexia Association

The IDA has mentioned certain useful facts about dyslexia which enhances our understanding of any definition of dyslexia.

- The word dyslexia is derived from a Greek word meaning ‘poor language’

- Dyslexia continues throughout one’s life, but the impact it makes on one’s life changes at different stages

- Dyslexia is not related to low intelligence or unwillingness to learn; dyslexic people can be successful learners with the proper teaching methods

- Dyslexia has to be identified early and treatment should start as early as possible to help the patient achieve the normal milestones in academics and a well as in life

World Federation of Neurology

The definition of dyslexia favored by the Neurology Federation says dyslexia is a disorder characterized by difficulties in learning to read even when conventional instruction, socio-cultural opportunities and normal intelligence are present.

Dyslexia affects about 4% of the population and 10% of the populace who have dyslexic parents. Scores of school children find it difficult to learn to read and write because of dyslexia.

Misconceptions about dyslexia

Any definition of dyslexia should serve to clear misconceptions among parents and people in general that dyslexic children see numbers and words backwards and so they write them backwards.

Reversals in spelling or writing may indicate dyslexia in children above seven or eight years, but it does not happen from seeing the letters backwards.

It is thought that the problem is because of an impairment in the brain, so that it is difficult to translate what one sees or hears into language.

Types of dyslexia in definition of dyslexia

A definition of dyslexia has to take into consideration the types of dyslexia as well. There is visual dyslexia, which results in reversals in letters and words. It becomes difficult for the child to write numbers or letters in sequence and there are difficulties with spellings.

Auditory dyslexia results in difficulties with the sounds of letters and combination of letters. The child is unable to hear the words properly and uses them incorrectly or he may come up with unusual pronunciations. He/she finds it difficult to remember facts and to recall the events in a story. He/she knows what he wishes to say, but finds it difficult to retrieve the words and feels frustrated with his inability.

Learning disability and definition of dyslexia

A definition of dyslexia is different from a definition of learning disability, which is a general category containing many disabilities that make learning difficult. Learning disability is not a specific term. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability.


What is Dyslexia