Types of Dyslexia

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Dyslexia is a type of neurodiversity that affects a person’s ability to read, write and identify speech sounds. It “affects areas of the brain that process language.”

What are the Six Types of Dyslexia?

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Phonological Dyslexia

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Phonological dyslexia affects the language side of dyslexia. People with this type of dyslexia can have trouble with sounding words out aloud, breaking up words into individual sounds,  not knowing their left from their right, reading stories and poems out aloud and singing.

For more information on phonological dyslexia, please watch this webinar from Exceptional Individuals on the subject:

Surface Dyslexia

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Similar to phonological dyslexia, surface dyslexia is when people “take longer to process language when they move beyond the decoding stage.” Not all words in the English language sound like the way in which they are written. For example, a person who has surface dyslexia may see the word, ‘”adobe,” and pronounce it, “AH-dobe,” but its correct pronunciation is, “UH-DOH-BEE.” People with visual dyslexia can “have trouble seeing the whole word.”

Visual Dyslexia

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People with visual dyslexia can struggle to read and remember what they have seen on a page in a book for instance. “Visual dyslexia affects visual processing,” which means that the brain does not receive the whole picture of what the eyes see. This can affect a person’s ability to learn how to form letters and master spelling.

For more information on visual dyslexia, please watch this webinar on the subject:

Primary Dyslexia

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This “refers to dyslexia when it is a result of a genetically inherited condition.” If a child has a dyslexic parent, the child is more likely to have dyslexia themselves. Primary dyslexia can affect a child’s ability to read, spell and do maths. Dyslexia tends to me more common in left-handed males.

Secondary Dyslexia

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Some babies experience brain development issues before they are born. This “can cause neurological impairment and result in dyslexia.” People with secondary dyslexia respond best to treatment such as computer programs that focus on phonics work.

Trauma Dyslexia or Acquired Dyslexia

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Trauma or acquired dyslexia develop in adults and children who suffer from brain injury as a result of trauma or disease.

What are the Signs of Dyslexia in Different Age Groups?

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Dyslexia can affect people of all ages. Below are the most common signs of dyslexia in different age groups:

Signs of Dyslexia in Pre-School Children

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  • Beginning to talk later than other children their age
  • Learning new words slowly
  • Problems forming words correctly, such as confusing “was” for “saw” and mispronouncing them, such as, “aminal,” instead of, “animal.”
  • Problems remembering or naming letters, objects, numbers and colours
  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes or playing rhyming games
  • Being unable to express themselves by using spoken language, such as struggling to remember the right words to use or putting sentences in the incorrect order.
  • Difficulty or little to no interest in learning the alphabet

Signs of Dyslexia in School-Age Children

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  • Being below their recommended reading age
  • Problems processing and understanding what they hear
  • Difficulty with finding the right word or forming answers to questions
  • Difficulty with seeing and hearing similarities and differences in letters, numbers and words, such as confusing “B” for “D,” 6 for 9 and “hear” with “here.” Confusing numbers could also be present in dyscalculia.
  • Inability to pronounce an unfamiliar word aloud
  • Difficulty with spelling
  • Spending longer than usual on reading or writing tasks
  • Avoiding activities that involve reading
  • Not knowing their left from their right
  • Trouble with following written or spoken directions
  • Trouble with learning sequences such as the alphabet or days of the week
  • Slow writing speed
  • Poor handwriting – this can also be present in dysgraphia
  • Having difficulty with writing answers to questions down despite the ability to answer them orally
  • Visual disturbances when reading, such as words appearing to be blurred or move around
  • Poor phonological awareness, such as being unable to think of words that rhyme with “cat.”
  • Trouble with word attack skills, such as breaking the word “sunbathing” into “sun,” “bath,” and “ing.”

Signs of Dyslexia in Teenagers and Adults

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  • Difficulty with reading whether it is in silence or aloud
  • Slow and labour-intensive reading and writing
  • Difficulty with spelling
  • Avoiding activities that involve reading
  • Mispronouncing names or words, or problems retrieving words
  • Trouble understanding jokes, sarcasm or expressions, such as “piece of cake” meaning “easy”
  • Spending longer than usual on reading or writing tasks
  • Difficulty with summarising a story
  • Trouble learning a foreign language
  • Difficulty with memorising
  • Difficulty with solving maths problems (also known as dyscalculia)
  • Difficulty with exam revision
  • Trouble planning and writing letters, essays or reports

Causes of Dyslexia

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Dyslexia has the tendency to be hereditary. It seems to be connected to particular genes that “affect how the brain processes reading and language.” Environmental risk factors could also cause dyslexia.

Risk Factors of Dyslexia

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• A family history of dyslexia or other learning differences
• Premature birth or low birth weight
• Exposure to drugs, nicotine, alcohol or infections that could affect the foetus during pregnancy
• Individual differences in the parts of the brain that enable reading

Complications of Dyslexia

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• Trouble learning, which means a school-age child can struggle with the basic skill of reading and “keeping
up with peers.”
• Social issues including low self-esteem; behavioural problems; anxiety; aggression; and withdrawal from
friends, family and teachers.
• Problems in adulthood such as long-term educational, social and economic consequences.

Risk of ADHD

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People of all ages who have dyslexia can also be at a greater risk of developing ADHD. People who have already been diagnosed with ADHD can also be at a greater risk of developing dyslexia.

Symptoms of ADHD such as inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour can make dyslexia more difficult to deal with. If you experience any of these signs of dyslexia, try taking our online dyslexia test.

Blog Author

April Slocombe