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So. Cal. Tri-Counties Branch

So. Cal. Tri-Counties Branch of the IDA

About Dyslexia - Definition

What is dyslexia?

  • Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and / or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
    • Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002. This Definition is also used by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
  • Studies show that individuals with dyslexia process information in a different area of the brain than do non-dyslexics.
  • Many people who are dyslexic are of average to above average intelligence.

Dyslexia is not...

  • A sign of poor intelligence.
  • The result of laziness
    or of not caring.
  • A disease.
  • Able to be cured with pills or diets.
  • An eye problem.
  • Outgrown.
Dyslexia is not:

But... dyslexics can learn how to learn
The good news is that with appropriate education, understanding, & time, many dyslexics learn to read & write & to develop their special abilities & talents. Many successful people: scientists, artists, athletes & world leaders have dyslexia.

Common Questions Related to Dyslexia

How common are language-based learning disabilities?

Can individuals who are dyslexic learn to read?

How do people get dyslexia?

Is there a cure for dyslexia?

Are there specific professions people with dyslexia should pursue?

How do I know if a person is dyslexic?


  • Basic Facts about Dyslexia: What Every Layperson Ought to Know - Copyright 1993, 2nd ed. 1998. The International Dyslexia Association, Baltimore, MD.
  • Learning Disabilities: Information, Strategies, Resources - Copyright 2000. Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities, a collaboration of the leading U.S. non-profit learning disabilities organization. Used with permission.
  • Research studies sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.


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