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What is Dyslexia?

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

Dyslexia is a learning difference that primarily affects the way people process language. It affects 10% - 20% of the world's population, but do we even know what it is all about? As I've gathered information about dyslexia over the years, I have encountered people facing struggles in their everyday life and most are dyslexic.

Chantel Marie, founder of Eulexiology, conducts a workshop

The most common questions that individuals ask pertaining to dyslexia are:

  • How do people get dyslexia?

  • Who’s affected by dyslexia?

  • How do I deal with dyslexia?

  • How do I get evaluated for dyslexia?

  • Do I have dyslexia?

  • Is it genetically transferred?

I founded my company, Eulexiology as a result of my diagnosis and because of my desire to help others with finding an appropriate plan to address their journey with dyslexia. At Eulexiology my mission is to change the dyslexic narrative by connecting all the pieces.

Eulexiology’s goal is to change the negative stigma about dyslexia and establish positive practices to cultivate a new outlook toward how it is perceived and managed. With a systematic and consistent method of instruction for persons diagnosed with dyslexia, or for those who have difficulties with reading, we can help you find successful ways to navigate the journey of improved reading skills that can lead to increased confidence. We want those who join Eulexiology to sharpen the individual talents that will allow them to reach their maximum potential. This is what Eulexiology is about!

As indicated above, according to scientific research, approximately 10% - 20% of the world's population has dyslexia, and the population represents 80% - 90% of all those with learning differences. This data means that most of us have someone in our lives that is affected by dyslexia in some way. I'd like to share some facts that you should know about dyslexia. It is important to have a solid understanding of what dyslexia is before you make any judgments about it. However, the goal of this blog is to give you a foundation that provides a better understanding of what dyslexia is and serves as the foundation for future blogs where I want to provide more education about dyslexia, where I will go more in-depth about the topic.

Words have meaning and power. In order to understand a word we need to dissect it. What is the origin of dyslexia? In the Greek language, the prefix “dys” means bad, difficult, or abnormal, and the root word “lexis” means reading. When you put those two-word parts together, dyslexia means bad reading. Of course with that meaning, it will give out a negative stigma to those who have dyslexia. Though reading can be difficult for those with dyslexia, it does not define a person’s whole being or if they are capable of achieving high levels of learning or growth.

What Do Experts Say About Dyslexia?

Chantel Marie, founder of Eulexiology, conducts a workshop

People with dyslexia have difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling, and these are just a few of their most common struggles. They may have trouble recognizing letters and words, and may also struggle with phonological processing, which is the ability to distinguish and manipulate the sounds in words. Dyslexia is not related to intelligence or vision, and individuals with dyslexia can be highly intelligent and accomplished in many areas. People with dyslexia can be successful, especially in areas of talent, areas of interest or hobbies, and learned skills. Some famous people that you may not be aware of who are dyslexic are Whoopi Goldberg and Orlando Bloom. There are business owners, artists of all trades, inventors, and even professional athletes who are affected by dyslexia.

What Causes Dyslexia?

The exact causes of dyslexia are not known, but research suggests that it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Family heredity is a highly common indicator when assessing dyslexia. When I found out I was dyslexic in high school, my mom and I did our research on exactly what dyslexia is. Surprisingly, my mom started to recognize herself in most of the descriptions of dyslexia. She would say that if dyslexia was more known in the 1960s then she would have had a better understanding of how she was learning. One of her aunts took the time to teach my mom the basics of reading which led to her love of reading. Becoming aware of one's struggles can be an empowering moment. After I l was diagnosed with dyslexia, the school allowed me to have extra time to work on all of my assignments and tests which helped me to pass my classes with A's and B’s. That was super empowering because, before that, I was a C and D student. Reflecting on the obstacles over my life allowed me to see successes and overcoming adversity directly stemming from dyslexia feels great. The symptoms of dyslexia can vary from person to person, but some of the common signs include:

  • Difficulty with phonological processing

  • Difficulty with reading comprehension

  • Slow reading speed

  • Difficulty with spelling and writing

  • Difficulty with time management and organization.

As an adult with dyslexia, I have developed coping skills that help me to "get by", but that area of life balancing can be overwhelming without some intervention and instruction on how to function. In future blogs, I will share some of the common tools used to be successful in life.

How is Dyslexia Diagnosed?

Dyslexia is typically diagnosed by a licensed psychologist or other qualified professionals. Independent school districts will assess students for free at a parent’s request. Teachers can request the evaluation as well if they notice a student showing signs of dyslexia but it holds more weight when a parent is in agreement. There are hospitals and independent professionals that assess children to adults for dyslexia. Having documentation could be helpful when it comes to accommodations at school and in with work. My goal is to make people aware of dyslexia and for people to not feel uneducated about the topic when it is a concern. It is my hope that this information will help you in the process of advocating for yourself or for someone else.

Chantel Marie, founder of Eulexiology

How Do You Treat Dyslexia?

Treatment for dyslexia may involve specialized tutoring, assistive technology, and accommodations in the classroom or workplace. Early intervention is important for improving outcomes, as research has shown that children who receive early intervention for dyslexia have better long-term outcomes than those who do not. This is why it is so important for parents to be involved in their children’s progress in school. Just simply recognizing a young student struggling in reading can make a huge difference in their growth if an intervention plan was in place as early as possible. People need to have a basic understanding of vowels and consonants, and this is extremely important for those with dyslexia and is a prerequisite for learning what is called the six-syllable types. The six-syllable types helps readers know how to break down an unfamiliar word and hear a familiar word to recognize that it is a word they have said before.

The six-syllable types are:

  • Open syllables

  • Closed syllables

  • Vowel-constantant-e syllables

  • Vowel pair syllables

  • Vowel-r syllables

  • Final-stable syllables

When those light bulbs start to come on, reading becomes a little easier. My journey may involve my mom and me, but I am also a parent with a child who has dyslexia. Now that my daughter has the right accommodations in place with the appropriate learning plan, I have seen growth in her interest in reading. It is a beautiful thing to see. One thing that I recommend as a result of my experience is that finding a person’s interest in a topic helps give them the resources they need to keep them engaged and entertained.

It is important to remember that dyslexia is not a reflection of a person's intelligence or worth. With the right support and accommodations, individuals with dyslexia can achieve their goals and succeed in their personal and professional lives. It is also important for educators and employers to understand and accommodate individuals with dyslexia to ensure that they have equal access to education and employment opportunities.

I hope that I have helped you gain a better understanding of dyslexia and how to approach getting help. Here are some resources to get you started:


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