David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Dyslexia facts
- What is dyslexia?
- What causes dyslexia?
- What are the different types of dyslexia?
- What are the signs and symptoms of dyslexia?
- What should parents or caregivers do if they suspect a child has the signs and symptoms of dyslexia?
- What tests diagnose dyslexia?
- What type of treatment is available for dyslexia?
- What is the prognosis for a person with dyslexia?
- More information about dyslexia
What causes dyslexia?
Children with dyslexia have difficulty in learning to read despite traditional instruction, at least average intelligence, and adequate motivation and opportunity to learn. It is thought to be caused by impairment in the brain's ability to process phonemes (the smallest units of speech that make words different from each other). It does not result from vision or hearing problems. It is not due to mental retardation, brain damage, or a lack of intelligence.
The causes of dyslexia vary with the type. In primary dyslexia, much research focuses on the hereditary factors. Researchers have recently identified specific genes identified as possibly contributing to the signs and symptoms of dyslexia. This research is very important because this may permit the identification of those children at risk for developing dyslexia and allow for earlier educational interventions and better outcomes.
What are the different types of dyslexia?
- Primary dyslexia: This is the most common type of dyslexia, and is a dysfunction of, rather than damage to, the left side of the brain (cerebral cortex) and does not change with age. There is variability in the severity of the disability for Individuals with this type of dyslexia, and most who receive an appropriate educational intervention will be academically successful throughout their lives. Unfortunately there are others who continue to struggle significantly with reading, writing and spelling throughout their adult lives. Primary dyslexia is passed in family lines through genes (hereditary) or through new genetic mutations and it is found more often in boys than in girls.
- Secondary or developmental dyslexia: This type of dyslexia is caused by problems with brain development during the early stages of fetal development. Developmental dyslexia diminishes as the child matures. It is also more common in boys.
- Trauma dyslexia: This type of dyslexia usually occurs after some form of brain trauma or injury to the area of the brain that controls reading and writing. It is rarely seen in today's school-age population.
Other types of learning disability include:
- The term visual dyslexia is sometimes used to refer to visual processing disorder, a condition in which the brain does not properly interpret visual signals.
- The term auditory dyslexia has been used to refer to auditory processing disorder. Similar to visual processing disorder, there are problems with the brain's processing of sounds and speech.
- Dysgraphia refers to the child's difficulty holding and controlling a pencil so that the correct markings can be made on the paper.
Parenting and Pregnancy
Get tips for baby and you.