What is dyslexia?

“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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.”

-The International Dyslexia Association


Pre-school child playing with blocks


  • Delayed speech
  • Mixing sounds and syllables in long words
  • Late establishing a dominant hand
  • Chronic ear infections
Elementary school kids that are reading and writing

Elementary School

  • Difficulty Rhyming
  • Letter/number reversals
  • Difficulty spelling and sounding out words
  • Can’t remember sight words
  • Difficulty with rote memorization, such as address and multiplication facts
High school girl writing on a chalk board

High School

  • Poor spelling
  • Large difference between verbal skills and written work
  • Difficulty with word retrieval
  • Unable to master a foreign language
Adult woman reading a book


  • Slow reader
  • May have to read a page multiple times to understand its content
  • Dreads writing memos or letters
  • Still has left/right confusion
  • Myth
  • Dyslexia is rare
  • Fact
  • Dyslexia affects 20% of the population - 1 out of every 5

“Parents (and teachers, too) of children with reading problems should make their number one goal the preservation of their child’s self-esteem. This is the area of greatest vulnerability for children who are dyslexic.”

-Sally Shaywitz

  • Myth
  • Dyslexia is a visual disability
  • Fact
  • Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability

“Dyslexia is not a vision problem; it is a phonological processing problem and cannot be treated by vision therapy or visual aids such as color overlays or lenses”

-American Academy of Opthamology

  • Myth
  • Those with dyslexia have a low IQ
  • Fact
  • Dyslexia is not related to intelligence

“Dyslexia is not a problem of intelligence, those with dyslexia are just as smart as their peers”

  • Myth
  • Children outgrow dyslexia
  • Fact
  • Dyslexia is a lifelong issue

“Dyslexia is a lifelong condition. It does not need to be a lifelong disability.”

-David Boies

  • Myth
  • Dyslexia cannot be diagnosed until 3rd or 4th grade
  • Fact
  • Dyslexia can be diagnosed as early as age five

“Identifying a child’s dyslexia doesn’t limit their potential. It empowers them to understand the nature of their difficulties and strengths and their path for success.”

-Josh Clark

  • Myth
  • Those who have dyslexia read backwards
  • Fact
  • Those who have dyslexia do not read backwards. The reversal of letters such as b and d, and words, such as saw and was, is caused by left/right confusion

“The greatest stumbling block preventing a dyslexic child from realizing his potential and following his dream, is the widespread ignorance about the true nature of dyslexia”

-Sally Shaywitz

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Is someone you know showing signs of dyslexia? We can help.

Did You Know...

  • infographic that shows 20% of the state of West Virginia

    There are approximately 278,465 students in West Virginia Public Schools. It is estimated that 55,693 of those students have dyslexia.

  • graduation cap school icon

    Research has shown that approximately 40% of those with dyslexia drop out of school.

  • pie chart showing 85% of a circle

    85% of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.

    – National Counsel on Disabilities. June 18, 2015.

  • dice on the three side

    Students with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, have a three times higher risk of attempting suicide.

    – Suicidality, School Dropout and Reading Problems Among Adolescents. Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol. 39,6: pp 507-514. First published Nov. 1, 2006

  • note icon

    89% of suicide notes have dyslexic-type spellings in them.

    – Learning Disabilities and Adolescent Suicide. Journal of Learning Disabilities, Vol. 30,6: pp 652-659. First Published Nov. 1, 1997