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What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disability that impairs a person's ability to read. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with:

  • Phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds)
  • Spelling
  • Rapid visual-verbal responding

Adult onset dyslexia usually occurs as a result of brain injury or dementia. However some adults with dyslexia were never diagnosed with dyslexia as children or adolescents. Dyslexia can be inherited; recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose a person to developing dyslexia.

Treatment for dyslexia should focus on the specific learning problems of affected individuals. Generally, treatment includes modifying teaching methods and the educational environment to meet the specific needs of the individual with dyslexia.

For those with dyslexia, the prognosis is mixed. The disability affects such a wide range of people and produces such different symptoms and varying degrees of severity that predictions are hard to make. The prognosis is generally good for individuals if:

  • Dyslexia is identified early
  • Family and friends are supportive (and help the individual cultivate a strong self-image)
  • They participate in a proper remediation program
Learn About Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are studies that allow us to learn more about disorders and improve care. They can help connect patients with new and upcoming treatment options.

How can I or my loved one help improve care for people with dyslexia?

Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about dyslexia and related disorders. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.

All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.

For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with dyslexia at Clinicaltrials.gov.

Where can I find more information about dyslexia?

Information is available from the following organizations and resources:

Order publications from the NINDS Catalog
The NINDS Publication Catalog offers printed materials on neurological disorders for patients, health professionals, and the general public. All materials are free of charge, and a downloadable PDF version is also available for most publications.