Dyslexia is typically a developmental reading disability in an otherwise intelligent child (or adult) who is motivated to read and who has had adequate schooling. Dyslexia does not originate from poor language skills, but is a result of a deficiency in the areas of the brain that process the sounds of language (phonemes). Children with dyslexia experience difficulty with word recogition, decoding and spelling which may lead to problems with reading comprehension and vocabulary development.
It is important to keep the child’s age in mind when diagnosing dyslexia. Children with dyslexia make age-inappropriate errors in reading and spelling. Younger children may make similar errors, but their erorrs are considered to be part of normal literacy development and therefore age-appropriate. For instance, it is still appropriate for a child to confuse his b’s and d’s in the beginning of the grade one year, but it is no longer appropriate for a child in grade five to do so.
Children with dyslexia often also experience difficulties with short term memory, and so may take longer than their peers to learn the alphabet or spellings that differ from conventional spelling rules.
Even though dyslexia cannot be “cured”, recent research indicates that early diagnosis and intense intervention can significantly improve the reading capabilities of children with dyslexia.