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5 Signs of dyslexia in children, teens and adults

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Curious fact: People with dyslexia use the right hemisphere to process linguistic data, while people without dyslexia use three areas of the left hemisphere.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that is characterized by having difficulty reading, due to problems when identifying the sounds of speech and understanding how they relate to words and their letters. People with this disorder have problems in the area of the brain that processes language. Also, people with dyslexia have normal intelligence, so with the help of a tutor or a specialized school program, they can be very successful at school. Although it cannot be cured, it is important to emphasize that early assessment and intervention by specialists can help improve the quality of life of the affected person and help them lead a normal and full life.


Symptoms of dyslexia can be very hard to recognize before children enter school age, as it is at this stage that dyslexia begins to be a big problem. However, there are some early signs that may indicate dyslexia. Once kids are in school, it’s easier to recognize the signs, and chances are that the first person to see them will be your child’s teacher. The severity of dyslexia may vary, but it becomes more apparent when children begin to learn to read and write.

  • Symptoms before school
    • Taking a long time to start speaking
    • Learning new words at a slow pace
    • Problems forming words properly
    • Problems remembering or saying the name of the letters
    • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes
  • School age
    • Having lower-than-average reading levels
    • Problems processing and understanding what is being heard
    • Difficulty finding the right words or formulating answers to questions
    • Problems remembering sequences
    • Difficulty seeing and recognizing differences between words
    • Inability to pronounce unknown words
    • Difficulty spelling
    • Taking longer than usual to complete tasks involving reading or writing
    • Avoiding activities that involve reading
  • Adolescents and adults
    • Difficulty reading, even reading out loud.
    • Slow reading and writing
    • Problems with spelling
    • Poor pronunciation
    • Problems understanding jokes or idioms
    • Difficulty in summarizing stories
    • Problems learning other languages
    • Difficulty memorizing
    • Difficulty solving mathematical problems

Causes and risk factors

Dyslexia is often inherited and is linked to genes that affect reading and language skills; as well as various risk factors in the environment. It is also important to be aware of the factors that could result in dyslexia. Below is a list of several risk factors that may promote the development of this disorder:

  • Family history of dyslexia or other learning difficulties
  • Premature birth or low weight at birth
  • Exposure to nicotine, drugs, alcoholic beverages, or infection during pregnancy that may have affected the brain development of the fetus
  • Individual differences in the part of the brain that allows reading

When should I see a doctor?

Most children are prepared to learn to read during kindergarten or first grade. Children with dyslexia are often unable to understand the basics that are needed to develop this skill. Talk to a doctor if your child’s reading level is below what is expected for their age or if you notice other signs of dyslexia. When this disorder is not treated, reading difficulties that occurred during childhood will continue as adults. Remember that the best way to ensure the optimal development of a person with dyslexia is to ensure that he or she receives appropriate treatment.

Complications caused by dyslexia

If left untreated, dyslexia can cause complications such as:

  • Learning Problems: Since reading is a basic learning activity, a child with dyslexia is at a disadvantage in most classes and may have trouble keeping up with other children.
  • Social problems: If left untreated, dyslexia can cause low self-esteem in the patient, as well as behavioral problems, anxiety, aggression, and withdrawal from friends, parents, and teachers.
  • Problems in adulthood: Failure to learn to read and write optimally may prevent a child from reaching his or her full potential, causing long-term social, educational, and financial repercussions.


Likewise, children who suffer from dyslexia are more likely to suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which causes difficulty in maintaining attention, as well as compulsive behaviors which may increase the difficulty of treating dyslexia.

Real story

Arnau is a young man who showed signs of dyslexia from a young age. At school they thought he wasn’t so smart, and even his teacher thought Arnau was messing with her: as much as he studied, he couldn’t understand what he saw in class, so it was very difficult for him to attend school. Fortunately, his parents always supported him and encouraged him to do things that helped him, such as drawing and sports. That same year, Arnau was diagnosed with dyslexia. Knowing that he had this disorder, he was able to start his treatment and the stigmas of being the odd or unintelligent child disappeared. Over time, and after a lot of effort, Arnau studied Mechanical Engineering and now works designing engines in a place where everyone values his effort and where he can exploit his capabilities. Read more here: 

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Dyslexia is a disorder that, if undiagnosed or untreated, can have a significant impact on the performance and development of children, causing deterioration in the quality of life and well-being of individuals in areas such as mental health and self-esteem. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of dyslexia and not to take them lightly. If several symptoms are observed in a family member, it is necessary to consult a specialist doctor who can develop a treatment that allows the patient to develop effectively.

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