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What Causes Dyslexia and How Can it be Managed?

Medically reviewed by Nicole Aliling, MD · Neurology · Centre Médicale Internationale

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Oct 14, 2021

What Causes Dyslexia and How Can it be Managed?

Dyslexia is a widely known yet often misunderstood learning difficulty. This is why it is very important for people to be aware of it. What causes dyslexia, and what methods can be used to treat it?

What is Dyslexia?

Whenever people hear about dyslexia, they might think that it’s a condition that affects how a person sees words. But dyslexia is actually more complex than that.

Dyslexia is a condition that affects how a person processes information. In particular, it affects a person’s ability to spell, write, read, or pronounce words.

A common misconception that people have about dyslexia is that it has something to do with a person’s intelligence. This is partly influenced by the fact that students with undiagnosed dyslexia tend to do badly in school.

However, one important point to make is that dyslexia is not a learning disability. People with dyslexia have normal intelligence and are as capable as everyone else. This means that with the right support and learning techniques, people with dyslexia can excel in academics, and be as successful as other people. Persons with dyslexia may also have strengths in other areas; creative skills such as design, and critical thinking methods like problem solving, interactive skills and even oral skills.

What are the Symptoms of Dyslexia?

The symptoms of dyslexia are usually unnoticeable until a child starts school. And as they progress with their classes, parents might notice the following symptoms becoming more apparent:

  • Reading or writing very slowly
  • They are unable to spell words properly
  • Mispronouncing or unable to read certain words
  • Mixing up the letters in words
  • Capable of understanding things verbally, but they have a hard time when it is written down
  • They have a hard time when it comes to planning and organization
  • They can also have a difficult time trying to follow directions

What Causes Dyslexia?

At the moment, scientists are still unaware of what causes dyslexia. But here are some possible causes.


What causes dyslexia? Dyslexia seems to run more often in some families compared to others. This suggests that there might be a genetic component to people with dyslexia.

Studies have found that 49% of parents who have children with dyslexia, also have it themselves. Additionally, 40% of the siblings of people with dyslexia also have the condition.

Differences in the brain

Scientists also looked at how the brains of people with dyslexia work, and found that there are some differences compared to people without dyslexia. This is one of the surprising determinants of what causes dyslexia.

In particular, the brain activity of the zones that have to do with reading, writing, and learning have significant differences. However, with the right teaching methods and strategies, they  had found that the brain activity of people with dyslexia slowly started to change.

Eventually, once scientists figure out what causes dyslexia, better ways to help people with dyslexia could be developed. But until then, therapy, specialized learning methods, and other similar techniques are the best ways to deal with this condition.

what causes dyslexia

How Does it Affect Child Learning?

What causes dyslexia and how does it impact child learning? Dyslexia can have a significant negative impact on the way a child learns. After all, reading and writing are very important skills that a child needs to learn, so having difficulty with these things can make learning very difficult.

If dyslexia is not diagnosed early on, the child could be delayed in school, or consistently have low grades. This could make them feel insecure about their ability to learn, and can even dissuade them from trying to learn altogether.

It is also possible that children with dyslexia shy away from reading or writing because it feels frustrating or too difficult for them. Some may be afraid to read aloud in class, because they might get embarrassed.

Children with dyslexia can also have a hard time communicating with other people, which can make having friends difficult to do.

These things can cause a child with dyslexia to be under a lot of stress, and can even cause emotional problems. This is why it is important for parents to be mindful of these things, and to not be afraid to seek help if they think that their child needs it.

Another thing to remember is that dyslexia is a lifelong condition. This means that even as adults, people with dyslexia can sometimes have difficulty reading or writing.

This is why getting help early on can greatly improve a person’s chances of coping with their condition.

How Dyslexia Managed?

Because dyslexia is a well-known condition, there are a lot of effective methods that have been developed to help people with dyslexia.

After determining what causes dyslexia, tutors or therapists use specialized ways of teaching to better help children with dyslexia. This involves a multisensory approach and uses a system of learning that is specifically designed to help children with dyslexia learn better. Most of the time, this involves one-on-one teaching since each child learns at their own pace.

Certain schools also offer accommodations or modifications to their curriculum to help out children with dyslexia. It might be a good idea for parents to ask prospective schools if they offer such a service to make it easier for their child to learn.

Students with dyslexia also find audiobooks and text reading programs very convenient when it comes to studying. This could be a good way for students to learn instead of focusing solely on reading and writing.

It is also important to not disregard a child’s mental health when it comes to dyslexia. Some of them might feel frustrated. Having a therapist to help them deal with these problems can help them overcome these negative feelings. It’s best to consult your doctor to determine what causes dyslexia and how to move forward in nurturing your child.

Learn more about Parenting here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Nicole Aliling, MD

Neurology · Centre Médicale Internationale

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Oct 14, 2021

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