What is Dyslexia? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Dyslexia is a language-based disability that affects almost 1 in 5 people. The main result of dyslexia is trouble reading. This lesson will explain what dyslexia is, some of the symptoms, and how people with dyslexia learn.

Learning Disabilities

Joey is in second grade, and his teacher is teaching his class how to read. Joey expected to be good at reading because he is good at most things he does, like baseball and making people laugh. However, Joey realized he was learning to read much more slowly than his friends. He talked to his parents, and they took him to see his doctor. Joey found out he had a learning disability called dyslexia, but he did not know what that meant, so his doctor explained dyslexia to Joey and his parents. They figured out new ways to teach Joey, and eventually, Joey learned to read just like all of his friends!

Joey was scared to learn he had dyslexia, but his teacher and his parents helped him overcome it to be a successful reader. Dyslexia is a type of learning disorder or disability that makes it hard for Joey to understand language. In fact, dyslexia is one type of language-based disability.

Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is usually diagnosed during childhood, but it is a disability - not a disease. People with dyslexia can still be very smart. Dyslexia just means the brain has trouble understanding speech and written language. It affects each person differently but usually causes problems with reading, though writing, spelling, and speaking can be difficult for a person with dyslexia too.

Dyslexia can make reading hard.
Dyslexia and reading

Students with dyslexia often struggle with reading because their brains have a hard time matching the sound of a word to the letters that make up the word. This slows down their reading and makes it difficult to learn new words.

Joey's uncle and his sister also have dyslexia. In fact, dyslexia often runs in families, meaning it is hereditary. When Joey has children, they will have a higher risk of having dyslexia too because Joey has it.

Joey's dyslexia was discovered when he struggled with reading, but there are other signs too. A person with dyslexia may have trouble learning how to talk or say long words. They might mix letters up or have trouble rhyming words, or they might struggle with identifying syllables in words. For example, the word ''reading'' has two syllables: ''read'' and ''ing.''

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