Saturday, April 5, 2014

Are There Different Types of Dyslexia?

It is not easy to subdivide dyslexia into groups or category types. There are various theories regarding categories for this learning difference, each dividing up dyslexia differently (types, sub-types, etc.) and offering different methods of intervention.

Although there is this desire to categorize or label one with dyslexia, it is far better to consider an individual's strengths, how that person's unique set of symptoms negatively affects him/her and then what can be done to overcome the symptoms while building those strengths.

The following is a brief description of three main types of dyslexia as described by David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP from (Please see source link to follow.) These types are based on cause rather than only symptoms. We have chosen to present this information in a bulleted format for the benefit of challenged readers.

A. 3 Different Types of Dyslexia

There are several types of dyslexia that can affect an individual's ability to spell and/or read.

Trauma Dyslexia
1. Usually occurs after some form of brain trauma or injury to the area of the brain that controls reading and writing
2. Rarely seen in today's school-age population

Primary Dyslexia
1. A dysfunction of, rather than damage to, the left side of the brain (cerebral cortex)
2. Does not change with age
3. Individuals affected are rarely able to read above fourth-grade level.
4. Individuals affected may continue to struggle with reading, spelling & writing as adults.
5. Often hereditary (passed trough family lines)
6. Found more often in boys than girls

Secondary Dyslexia (or Developmental Dyslexia)
1. Believed to be caused by hormonal development during early stages of fetal development.
2. Often diminishes as children mature
3. Also more common in boys than girls

B. Dyslexia May Affect Several Different Functions

1. Visual Dyslexia: Often characterized by number and/or letter reversals as well as the inability to write symbols in the correct sequence.

2. Auditory Dyslexia: Involves difficulty with sounds of letters or groups of letters. The sounds are perceived as jumbled or not heard correctly

3. Dysgraphia: Refers to a child's difficulty holding and controlling a pencil so that the correct markings can be made on paper.

It is important to keep in mind that every case of dyslexia is different. One of the reasons it’s difficult to divide dyslexia neatly into categories is because each person has a different set of symptoms. Although there may be a tendency to "pigeonhole" an individual into one category or another, it is again much better to resist this approach and focus instead on that individual's strengths. Then build on those strengths in all teaching and learning efforts made.

Dyslexia Sources & Resources

Dyslexia-by David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP and
General information about dyslexia that includes symptoms, signs, causes, diagnoses, types and other related content.

Scientific Types of Dyslexia-from
Two theories about the sub-types of dyslexia are briefly described.

Dyslexia Resources for Parents-from The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
Information and helpful resources for parents who want to help their children with dyslexia.

Helping Children with Dyslexia-from
General information about signs, symptoms, statistics and causes of dyslexia in children. Includes links to treatment options and other related information.

For information on customizable reading tools for ADHD & other reading challenges: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at

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