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Diseases & Conditions

Dyslexia

(Also Called 'Congenital Word Blindness')

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. In individuals with adult onset of dyslexia, it usually occurs as a result of brain injury or in the context of dementia; this contrasts with individuals with dyslexia who simply were never identified as children or adolescents. Dyslexia can be inherited in some families, and recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia.

Is there any treatment?

The main focus of treatment should be on the specific learning problems of affected individuals. The usual course is to modify teaching methods and the educational environment to meet the specific needs of the individual with dyslexia.

What is the prognosis?

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, however, for individuals whose dyslexia is identified early, who have supportive family and friends and a strong self-image, and who are involved in a proper remediation program.

What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support dyslexia research through grants to major research institutions across the country. Current research avenues focus on developing techniques to diagnose and treat dyslexia and other learning disabilities, increasing the understanding of the biological and possible genetic bases of learning disabilities, and exploring the relationship between neurophysiological processes and cognitive functions with regard to reading ability.

Organizations

International Dyslexia Association

40 York Road, 4th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21204
Phone: 410.296.0232
Toll-free: 800.ABCD123
Fax: 410.321.5069
Email: info@interdys.org
Website: www.interdys.org

Learning Disabilities Association of America

4156 Library Road, Suite 1
Pittsburgh, PA 15234-1349
Phone: 412.341.1515
Fax: 412.344.0224
Email: info@ldaamerica.org
Website: www.ldaamerica.org

National Center for Learning Disabilities

381 Park Avenue South, Suite 1401
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212.545.7510
Toll-free: 888.575.7373
Fax: 212.545.9665
Website: www.ld.org

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 2A32 MSC 2425
Bethesda, MD 20892-2425
Phone: 301.496.5133
Fax: 301.496.7101
Website: www.nichd.nih.gov

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6001 Executive Blvd. Rm. 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Phone: 301.443.4513
Toll-free: 866.415.8051
TTY: 301.443.8431
Fax: 301.443.4279
Email: nimhinfo@nih.gov
Website: www.nimh.nih.gov

Source: National Institutes of Health; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 9/30/2011...#6005

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