What does dyslexia look like?

Many students at the Collierville Literacy Council have dyslexia – some diagnosed, some undiagnosed. They've struggled in school, work, or with family, and are seeking understanding, support, and help to cope. We do that, first by assuring our students that they are not alone, even if they feel that way.

Dyslexia is the most common reading disability. About 10-15% of the population has dyslexia. Dyslexia is a language-based reading disorder, meaning that the brain of a person with dyslexia processes letters and sounds differently and less efficiently than a regular reader.

The brain of a dyslexic reader processes information differently than a typical reader's brain. Dyslexia isn't a vision problem or an indicator of how intelligent someone is.

While people may describe dyslexia is seeing letters backward, dyslexia is not a vision problem or an indicator of intelligence. It is a broad range of behaviors.

Some examples of what dyslexia in adults can look like:

  • May have poor recall of conversations or sequence of events

  • May have difficulty with left/right and/or North, South, East, West

  • Poor handwriting; poor or inconsistent spelling.

  • Writes with all capital letters or mixes capital letters within words. Abbreviates words frequently.

  • May have low self-esteem, short fuse or become easily frustrated, angered, or annoyed; easily stressed and overwhelmed in learning situations.

  • May have difficulty getting thoughts out, pause frequently, speaks in halting phrases or leave sentences incomplete. This may worsen with stress or distraction.

Although dyslexia never goes away, adults with dyslexia are very capable of learning! Small group instruction (2-6 people) and/or 1:1 tutoring is a better environment for learning than in large classroom settings.

Incorporating hands-on activities, watching videos, using handouts with more pictures and larger fonts, group discussions, and hands-on activities are all good ways to enhance learning and retention of material.

Some famous people with dyslexia are very successful and include Steven Spielberg, Anderson Cooper, Agatha Christie, Andrew Jackson, and Steve Jobs.

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