Dyslexia: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Is there a cure?

Reading and writing are everywhere. On street signs, on cell phones, on computers, at college, at schools, at work. Anywhere you can find something to read. However, some people may suffer from this.

Dyslexia causes difficulty in learning, recognizing and decoding during reading and writing. Read more about this condition that affects many people!


What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder, of neurobiological origin, which affects a person’s ability to read, write and calculate at different intensities. In some cases it can also cause difficulties with the sounds of words, either when listening to them or when pronouncing them.

The disorder can also affect the person’s spatial notion, such as difficulty in locating in the environments and confusion between right and left, in addition, especially in children, the patient can be clumsy and with slower motor actions.

The condition usually shows its first signs in early childhood and school age, but it can take longer. The patient may experience delay in the beginning of speech, in addition to difficulties in memorizing letters, deciphering words and interpreting text.

This disorder can cause difficulties in relation to speech at the beginning of learning. Dyslexia can also affect children’s school performance, but with proper monitoring by teachers, tutors and parents, school is perfectly possible.

The genetic condition can be hereditary and lasts a lifetime, even though there is an acquired type of dyslexia, resulting from trauma. However, with proper support, reading and writing skills can improve.

In the International Classification of Diseases ( ICD-10 ), dyslexia is found in code R48 .


There are two types of dyslexia. They are developmental dyslexia and acquired dyslexia . This text speaks specifically of developmental dyslexia, but it is important to point out that the acquired version exists.

Developmental dyslexia is the genetic version of the condition, being classified as a learning disorder. The person is born with him and follows his entire life in this way. The signs appear already during childhood and the person lives with the condition for the rest of his life.

Acquired dyslexia, as the name suggests, is acquired at some point in life due to a brain injury that affects the ability to use words, causing the ability to decipher symbols to be affected or lost.

Recovery from this type of injury is possible, however it is not guaranteed. Brain injuries can occur for a number of reasons and the possibility of cure varies from case to case.

Each of these types of dyslexia can be divided into two others that often, especially in the case of developmental dyslexia, come together. Are they:

Auditory dyslexia

Auditory dyslexia is related to difficulties with sounds. He usually presents with difficulties in speaking, in identifying rhymes and writing can contain syllables exchanged due to the problems of association between a syllable and a sound. For the same reason, there may be difficulties with reading.

Visual dyslexia

This type of dyslexia is related to the way the brain interprets visual stimuli. There may be confusion between the right and left sides, difficulties in spatial location, as well as confusion with the interpretation of symbols such as letters.

Causes of dyslexia

Dyslexia is caused by genetic, neurological and neurocognitive changes, and can be inherited. This means that if someone in your family has dyslexia, it is likely that they are not the only person, even if in other cases there is no diagnosis.

If a child has dyslexia, there is an approximately 40% chance that a brother or sister will have reading difficulties as well.

This genetic alteration causes brain functioning to occur in a different way than expected. The brain normally interprets symbols on paper – letters – as sounds and, when joining sounds, forms words. Thus, during reading, the organ translates the letters into known words.

In someone with dyslexia, there is a difficulty in relating symbols to sounds. This can cause the child to confuse symbols, especially the most similar ones (although this is not a rule).

Thus, when trying to write or read, the child can interpret the letter “w” as if it were the letter “m” or the letter “q” as if it were the letter “g”.

There are some assumptions about how this happens, although there is no certainty. Among them are problems in neuronal development, in addition to changes in visual and auditory nerves.

It is also possible that these changes are caused, in some cases, by immunological failures of the fetus.

Risk factors

It is not possible to “catch” developmental dyslexia. You are born with or without the condition. However, it is known that the disorder is genetic and potentially hereditary. Therefore, if someone in the family has dyslexia, the chances of the child having it are greater.

If any of the parents has dyslexia, the chances of the child are also greater, but it is not because one of the parents has the condition that the child will necessarily have it.

There are people who have mild forms of dyslexia and don’t know it. If someone in your family has the condition and you think you are having difficulties reading or writing, it is possible that it is your case as well.


Some maternal behaviors during pregnancy can be a cause of learning disorders, as they are able to affect fetal formation and development:

  • Smoke;
  • Ingestion of alcoholic beverages;
  • Inadequate food.

Read more: What to eat during pregnancy?

Premature birth

Premature babies are at risk for learning disorders, not just dyslexia but also attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ( ADHD ).

Those born with less than 2.5 kg are also more likely to develop these conditions.


Although dyslexia cannot usually be contracted, there is an acquired type. Accidents can cause brain damage, which in turn can lead to acquired dyslexia.

Dyslexia symptoms

There are several signs that may indicate dyslexia. Understand the different manifestations in children and adults:

Childhood dyslexia

In early childhood and school age, children are expected to learn to speak, read and write. It is at this time that the first signs of dyslexia begin to appear. The child may have:


The child with dyslexia can be easily dispersed, turning his attention to several things. Difficulty in maintaining focus can be a sign of dyslexia, but also of other conditions.

Delay with language

The main signs of dyslexia are related to language, in which the child may have a delay in learning to speak or communicate verbally.

The words being pronounced with difficulty and slowness, as well as problems with writing and speaking (which appear at the beginning of literacy) can also be clear indications of dyslexia.

Memorizing sounds can also be difficult, as well as making sense of words, naming things and interpreting texts.

Difficulties with rhymes

Children with dyslexia may have difficulties in identifying rhymes (the spider scratches the frog and the frog scratches the spider), as well as with alliterations (the rat gnawed at the clothes of the king of Rome).

Songs can also be difficult for children with dyslexia, both by phonetic association (sounds of words) and by memorizing the sequence.

Difficulty in fine motor coordination

The child’s fine motor coordination may be affected if he has dyslexia. This means that more delicate movements that require smaller muscles – such as those related to writing – may be less accurate.

As the act of writing involves a complex mechanism of language and motor skills, impairment in the perception and decoding of words and letters also affects muscle mobilization.

Other signs

In addition to these already listed, other signs may appear in the childhood of the person with dyslexia. Some of them are:

  • Disorganization;
  • Difficulty in naming left and right;
  • Difficulty with maps;
  • Rejection of books due to frustration with them;
  • Poor vocabulary.

Dyslexia in adults

Dyslexia in adults has the same symptoms that affect children and most of the time – the exceptions being just cases of acquired dyslexia – accompany the person since childhood.

The condition’s condition depends on a number of factors ranging from the severity of dyslexia to the way it was treated during growth.

Reading and writing will never be easy tasks for someone with dyslexia, but if interventions have been carried out, these activities can be less challenging and limiting.

How is dyslexia diagnosed?

The diagnosis of dyslexia must be made by a multidisciplinary team that involves neuropsychologists , speech therapists , psychopedagogists and neurologists .

Professionals perform individualized language and learning tests, looking for signs of the condition. The components of the multidisciplinary team must communicate so that there is a complete and accurate diagnosis.

This diagnosis works by exclusion. The tests seek to assess the cognitive abilities and functions of the person being tested, which includes reading, writing, attention skills, among other things. Some tests also involve analyzing the ability to interpret sounds.

The results can exclude certain conditions with similar symptoms and what is left is the diagnosis.

Is dyslexia curable?

No . A person with dyslexia will always have the condition. However, it is possible to carry out an intervention that seeks to facilitate learning for the child, reducing the consequences of dyslexia. This intervention can be performed at any age, but the sooner you start, the better.

What is the treatment for dyslexia?

Dyslexia is not a disease, so treatment cannot be talked about, but intervention , which takes the form of adaptations in the child’s or adult’s learning.

With specific methods for people with dyslexia, reading and writing, in addition to other processes hampered by the condition, can be achieved.

There is no drug treatment. Psychopedagogical interventions bring learning methods adapted for the child to learn even with his condition.

Treatments are usually done, in the same way as the diagnosis, by a multidisciplinary team that involves doctors, psychopedagogists, speech therapists, psychologists and occupational therapists and depend on how much dyslexia affects the person.


It is important that the applied intervention is done individually, taking into account the particularities of each patient. No case of dyslexia is the same, no person is the same, and this makes the ideal approach and intervention way different.

Remembering that the appropriate method and approaches should always be evaluated by professionals.

Living with dyslexia

Reading and writing, for those with dyslexia, will always be a challenge compared to people without a learning disorder. However, it is possible to live a normal life. Several people can help.


The family is one of the pillars that the child with dyslexia will need to help their development. The home environment is one of the most important for this.

Activities that involve letters can help with fun. Games like gallows and crosswords can help your child practice without too much pressure. It is important for parents to be supportive and understanding of the difficulties that may arise.

Psychopedagogical interventions can reduce barriers to writing and reading, in addition to numerous areas that do not use as much language skills in which the person with dyslexia can be inserted.


The key word for educators is information. Understanding what is happening with the student with dyslexia is essential for the teacher to be able to do his job properly, helping the student to get around and overcome the existing difficulties.

Educators can also use activities involving letters, such as gallows and crosswords, in addition to encouraging the child to practice sudoko, a traditional game with numbers, to help the patient’s development.


There are specific items for people with dyslexia, which help to go through some of the difficulties of everyday life. Among them are:

Reading rules

There are ways to make reading easier for those who are dyslexic. The difficulty with individual words will remain the same, but isolating parts of the text can reduce the difficulty. For example, there are so-called reading rules .

Reading rulers are rulers with gaps placed over the text to be read, helping to focus attention on a single line. Thus, there is less chance of confusion with the letters of the words in the lower and upper lines, as well as reducing the chances of the reader skipping lines.

Dyslexia watch

Watches, especially analog ones, can be problematic for patients. Numbers are also symbols and they may be difficult to read.

There is also the difficulty related to the number 6 on the clocks. When the hour hand points to the number 6, it indicates 6 hours. However, when the minute hand points to the number 6, it indicates 30 minutes. This can cause great confusion in people with dyslexia.

For this, watches for dyslexics can be produced with numbers for both minutes and hours, painted in different colors and that match the hands.

The minute hand can be black, as can the minute numbers (from 0 to 60), while the hour hand can be red, as well as the hour numbers (which remains from 0 to 12).


Of course, one can not forget the accompaniment with psychopedagogues, who can give great help to the child with learning disorders, in addition to being the professional who is trained to deal with this type of condition.

The psychopedagogue is essential for the child to grow and overcome all the problems that may arise due to dyslexia in an easier way.

Read more: Psychology (social, organizational, online): what it is, college and more


The diagnosis of dyslexia is definitive and the condition will accompany the person until the end of life. However, although dyslexia affects an important aspect of life, it is not extremely debilitating and psychopedagogical interventions can greatly reduce the difficulties faced.

Remembering that the sooner the diagnosis and the intervention happen, the better the effects.

Complications of dyslexia

If not diagnosed, dyslexia can bring several problems to the child. Among them are:

Learning delays

Dyslexia is a learning disorder and if there is no intervention, the patient will be harmed by the condition and cognitive delays can arise. Difficulties in writing and reading are obvious, however when these difficulties exist, other areas can be hindered.

Any learning activity that involves reading will suffer from dyslexia.

Knowledge in history, mathematics, Portuguese and science, to name a few, can be reduced in these children, not because there are intelligence problems, but simply because the information reaches the child in a way that his brain is not able to properly understand.

Disinterest in school

Dyslexia consists of the difficulty of associating symbols with sounds, so it is difficult for the child with dyslexia to be able to transform a text composed of symbols into words in his head. For this child, sitting at school for hours without being able to keep up with what is being taught can be frustrating.

Frustration can lead to a lack of interest in the subject and, in addition, make them tense and irritated by the charge. These feelings can cause a resistance to go to school.

Self esteem issues

The frustration of not being able to do something that peers can do can be great enough to bring psychological harm to the child, who may feel excluded from the group or even, in some cases, actually be excluded by peers.

This can have serious effects and problems of self – esteem in the child, which can accompany him / her until adulthood.


Just as dyslexia can lead to problems with self-esteem, it can also cause anxiety . The need to read in the classroom, for example, can generate stress and agitation in the child who knows that he cannot read well and fears being ridiculed for it.

Behavior problems

Children’s behavior can be affected by the challenges encountered because of dyslexia. Frustration can lead to indiscipline and anger on the part of children.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is not exactly a complication of dyslexia, but a condition that often appears with it. Between 15% and 40% of dyslexic patients

How to prevent dyslexia?

It is not possible to prevent dyslexia. What is possible, however, is to identify the condition as early as possible for educational interventions to be made, seeking to minimize the problems that dyslexia can cause.

Among the initial signs, dispersion, delay in the beginning of speech, as well as problems with rhymes and other signs already listed in this text.

Dyslexia test

First of all, it is important to point out the following: Internet tests are not reliable , especially when it is a condition as complex as is the case of dyslexia. However, if your answer to most of the next questions is yes, it may be a good idea to get a professional to find out whether or not you have dyslexia.

Remember that this test does not serve as a diagnosis and even if all of your answers are yes, you may not have dyslexia.


  • Do you have a hard time distinguishing between right and left?
  • Do you have problems with maps or going to unknown places?
  • Do you find it uncomfortable to read aloud?
  • Are you nervous when you have to read in public?
  • Is your reading slow?
  • Do the lyrics seem confusing to you?
  • Do you have difficulty with simple math math in your head?
  • Do you have a hard time remembering everything you read?
  • Do you exchange letters when you write? (Especially similar letters, like dep) are confused.
  • Are books frustrating and difficult?
  • Do you have trouble reading?

If your answer was yes to all these questions, perhaps a doctor, psychopedagogue or neuropsychologist can help you to be sure of a possible diagnosis.

Famous with dyslexia

Several famous people have dyslexia. Learning disability does not mean that you cannot achieve success in life. Among these people are:

  • Albert Einstein;
  • Agatha Christie;
  • Cher;
  • Henry Ford;
  • Steven Spielberg;
  • Robin Willians;
  • Winston Churchill;
  • Whoopi Goldberg.

These are just a few of the people who became famous even with dyslexia. The majority listed here are actors who need to read the scripts, but the list is not composed only of these professionals. Agatha Christie was a great mystery writer, despite the problems caused by dyslexia.

Common questions

Is dyslexia a boy thing?

No ! It is true that dyslexia affects boys more than girls. Depending on the study, the proportion can reach up to 4 cases in boys for each case in girls, but the condition can still affect girls.

It is also more common for dyslexia to be identified by teachers more frequently in boys. There are studies that indicate that the cause of this difference in schools is the behavior between the sexes.

While girls try to deal silently with the problem, boys tend to become more undisciplined due to frustration with dyslexia, which attracts the attention of teachers.

Is dyslexia a sign of low intelligence?

No ! Dyslexia does not affect intelligence and children of all cognitive levels may have the condition. The disorder is a word processing difficulty and has nothing to do with intelligence.

Is dyslexia a vision problem?

No . One of the main problems with dyslexia is in understanding how sounds relate to the symbols that are the letters. The person with dyslexia finds it difficult to connect one thing to another, but the vision has nothing to do with it.

What is the meaning of dyslexia?

The word dyslexia comes from the union of the Greek words DYS, which means “difficulty with” and LEXIS, which means “word”. It is literally “difficulty with the word”.

Dyslexia can cause problems in reading and writing, but with the support of educators, the child can grow and live with the condition in order to get around and deal with difficulties.

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