Verified by World Mental Healthcare Association

Dyslexia is a learning disorder characterized by difficulties in reading, spelling, and decoding abilities. Addressing the early signs of dyslexia is crucial for promoting good mental health in affected individuals, as untreated dyslexia can lead to serious mental health issues as well as poor social, emotional, and academic adaptation.

What Is Dyslexia? 

Dyslexia is a learning disorder 1 Remien, K., & Marwaha, R. (2021). Dyslexia. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557668/ characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, poor spelling, and decoding abilities. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), dyslexia is categorized as a Specific Learning Disorder 2 Snowling, M. J., Hulme, C., & Nation, K. (2020). Defining and understanding dyslexia: past, present and future. Oxford review of education46(4), 501–513. https://doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2020.1765756 . However, being neuro-biological in nature, it involves differences in how the brain processes written and spoken language.

An individual with dyslexia may struggle to accurately decode words while reading by the age of 2-3 years. He/she may frequently confuse similar-looking letters or reverse the order of letters within words. They may also experience difficulty with spelling, often misspelling words or struggling to remember the correct spelling of common words.

Signs Of Dyslexia  

The common 3 Siegel L. S. (2006). Perspectives on dyslexia. Paediatrics & child health11(9), 581–587. https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/11.9.581 signs of dyslexia include:

  • Difficulty in phonological awareness (like recognizing rhymes, segmenting words into syllables, etc.).
  • Trouble with decoding words.
  • Slow reading speed.
  • Poor spelling.
  • Difficulty with writing or copying text accurately.
  • Challenges in understanding directions or sequences.

Different Types Of Dyslexia  

Studies 4 Munzer, T., Hussain, K., & Soares, N. (2020). Dyslexia: neurobiology, clinical features, evaluation and management. Translational pediatrics9(Suppl 1), S36–S45. https://doi.org/10.21037/tp.2019.09.07 attribute the different types of dyslexia to the following:

  1. Phonological dyslexia: Difficulty with phonological processing, leading to trouble with decoding words.
  2. Surface dyslexia: Difficulty with sight word recognition and spelling irregular words.
  3. Rapid naming dyslexia: Difficulty with rapid naming tasks, impacting reading fluency.
  4. Difficulty with visual processing, leading to challenges in letter and word recognition.
  5. Mixed dyslexia: Combination of different types, with symptoms varying in severity.

Causes Of Dyslexia

Research 5 Wagner, R. K., Zirps, F. A., Edwards, A. A., Wood, S. G., Joyner, R. E., Becker, B. J., Liu, G., & Beal, B. (2020). The Prevalence of Dyslexia: A New Approach to Its Estimation. Journal of learning disabilities53(5), 354–365. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022219420920377 attributes the common causes of dyslexia to the following:

  • Dyslexia has a genetic component, often running in families.
  • Structural and functional differences in the brains of individuals with dyslexia may affect their ability to process language.
  • Exposure to certain environmental factors during pregnancy or early childhood, such as maternal smoking or low birth weight, may increase the risk of dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia is associated with differences in the development of brain regions 6 Werth R. (2019). What causes dyslexia? Identifying the causes and effective compensatory therapy. Restorative neurology and neuroscience37(6), 591–608. https://doi.org/10.3233/RNN-190939 responsible for language processing, such as the left hemisphere’s language areas.
  • Poor phonological awareness and memory defects by birth, due to poor visual, auditory, linguistic or neurological processes that are involved with recognizing the written word.

Read More About Genetic Here

Signs Of Dyslexia And Mental Health   

Dyslexia can significantly impact mental health 7 Kirby, P., & Snowling, M. J. (2022). Dyslexia: A History. In PubMed. McGill-Queen’s University Press. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK588806/ functioning due to the challenges it presents in academic and social settings. Individuals with dyslexia often experience feelings of frustration, inadequacy, and low self-esteem as they struggle with reading, writing, and spelling tasks. These difficulties can lead to heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and stress, particularly in educational environments where literacy skills are emphasized. Moreover, the persistent nature of dyslexia-related struggles can erode confidence and contribute to a negative self-image, further exacerbating mental health issues.

Additionally, dyslexia can affect interpersonal relationships and social interactions 8 Werth R. (2023). Dyslexia: Causes and Concomitant Impairments. Brain sciences13(3), 472. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13030472 , leading to feelings of isolation and alienation. Children with dyslexia may face teasing, bullying, or social rejection from peers due to their academic difficulties, which can further impact their mental well-being. Moreover, the stress of managing dyslexia-related challenges alongside societal expectations can lead to increased emotional distress and may interfere with overall mental health functioning.

Read More About Bullying Here

How To Diagnose Dyslexia  

Measures 9 Fletcher J. M. (2009). Dyslexia: The evolution of a scientific concept. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS15(4), 501–508. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355617709090900 on how to diagnose dyslexia typically involve a comprehensive assessment conducted by a qualified professionals, based on the DSM-5 criteria for dyslexia. Steps in the diagnosis process may include reviewing developmental history, conducting standardized assessments, and observing academic performance. Assessment tools 10 Andrade, O. V., Andrade, P. E., & Capellini, S. A. (2015). Collective screening tools for early identification of dyslexia. Frontiers in psychology5, 1581. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01581 commonly used for diagnosing dyslexia include:

  • Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement
  • Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)
  • Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT)
  • Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP)
  • Dyslexia Screening Test

Treatment For Dyslexia

Various treatment approaches 11 Snowling M. J. (2013). Early identification and interventions for dyslexia: a contemporary view. Journal of research in special educational needs : JORSEN13(1), 7–14. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2012.01262.x are available to support individuals with dyslexia in improving their reading and writing skills and managing associated challenges. These approaches often include:

  1. Specialized Education Programs: Structured literacy programs like Orton-Gillingham provide targeted instruction in reading and writing skills.
  2. Multi-sensory Techniques: Engaging multiple senses in learning, such as through tactile materials and visual aids, can enhance comprehension and retention.
  3. Assistive Technology: Tools like text-to-speech software and audiobooks help individuals access written information more easily.
  4. Psychotherapy And Counseling: Cognitive-behavioral therapy and counseling can address emotional challenges associated with dyslexia.
  5. Individualized Education Plans (IEPs): Collaborating with educators to develop tailored plans ensures appropriate accommodations and support in the classroom.
  6. Parental counseling: This type of counseling provides support and guidance to parents on how to effectively assist their child’s learning, build their confidence, and advocate for appropriate educational interventions.

Read More About Psychotherapy Here

Tips For Managing Dyslexia 

Consider the following tips 12 Taylor, H., & Vestergaard, M. D. (2022). Developmental Dyslexia: Disorder or Specialization in Exploration?. Frontiers in psychology13, 889245. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.889245 for managing adult dyslexia:

  • Use assistive technology for reading and writing tasks.
  • Seek support from teachers, tutors, or support groups.
  • Break tasks into smaller, manageable steps.
  • Practice reading and writing regularly.
  • Utilize multi-sensory learning techniques (such as incorporating music and movement into learning activities).
  • Develop self-advocacy skills (like using assistive technology like text-to-speech software).
  • Manage stress through relaxation techniques.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and celebrate achievements.

Tips For Parents Of Children With Dyslexia

If you are a parent or a caregiver to a child/children with dyslexia, consider the following tips 13 Al-Shidhani, T. A., & Arora, V. (2012). Understanding Dyslexia in Children through Human Development Theories. Sultan Qaboos University medical journal12(3), 286–294. https://doi.org/10.12816/0003141 to help them navigate the disorder:

  • Educate yourself about dyslexia and its challenges.
  • Advocate for your child’s educational needs.
  • Provide emotional support and encouragement.
  • Use positive reinforcement to boost confidence (such as praising effort and providing rewards at task completion).
  • Communicate openly with teachers and school staff.
  • Seek out specialized tutors or intervention programs.
  • Foster a supportive and understanding home environment.
  • Celebrate your child’s strengths and accomplishments.  


Addressing the signs of dyslexia is crucial for promoting mental well-being, particularly in children. By providing early intervention, tailored support, and a nurturing environment, we can empower individuals with dyslexia to overcome challenges, build confidence, and thrive academically and emotionally. Recognizing and accommodating dyslexia not only enhances educational outcomes but also fosters resilience, self-esteem, and overall mental wellness, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

At A Glance 

  1. Dyslexia is a learning disorder affecting word recognition, spelling, and decoding, tied to brain processing differences.
  2. The common signs of dyslexia include phonological awareness issues, slow reading, poor spelling, difficulty with sequences.
  3. The different types of dyslexia include phonological, surface, rapid naming, visual processing dyslexia.
  4. Genetics, brain structure variances, phonological processing problems, and environmental factors are the common causes of dyslexia.
  5. Dyslexia can trigger mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem due to academic and social challenges.
  6. Measures on how to diagnose dyslexia include its comprehensive assessment using standardized tests like Woodcock-Johnson and CTOPP.
  7. Early intervention and customized treatment plans are crucial for mental well-being of individuals affected by dyslexia.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs )

1. Does dyslexia get worse with age?

Dyslexia typically does not worsen with age, but its impact may vary depending on individual coping strategies and access to support.

2. What is the IQ of a dyslexic child?

Children with dyslexia have average or above-average IQ, typically equal to or over 100.

3. Who are the celebrities with dyslexia?

Several celebrities have dyslexia, including actors like Tom Cruise, Keira Knightley, and Whoopi Goldberg.

4. Do dyslexics have good memory?

Dyslexics can have good memory skills, although they may struggle with specific aspects of memory related to reading and language processing.


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