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Types Of Dyslexia in Adults

Dyslexia Definition. What are the causes of dyslexia in adults? and examples such as Number Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects people worldwide. It affects people of all ages from children to adults, but more problematic when it comes to kids and children, whose ability to learn and cope with their studies may be hampered.

People with dyslexia have problems reading, spelling words, and speaking the language. They are usually confused with letters and sounds, as well as the ordering of letters and words. They have the tendency to mix letters and words incorrectly. Because of these difficulties, it takes them a long time to read, write, or spell.

Their intelligence has in no way affected by the disorder, but it always takes them time to follow instructions, read, write, or spell, compared to others. This can lead to other problems, like difficulties understanding written instructions, answering questions, reading books, as well as writing.

Causes of dyslexia

There are several factors causing dyslexia. The most common is the genetic factor. Most people have inherited it from their parents, and it usually runs through the family. Some have developmental causes, maybe an impairment that occurred while the baby is still in the womb of the mother. Dyslexia, in both cases, is already present at birth.

Traumatic injuries, as well as diseases, may also cause dyslexia. This is mostly the case if one has a brain injury or disease. Injuries or diseases may affect word and language processing, which can degenerate eventually into dyslexia.

Despite the causes, however, dyslexia can always be mitigated, and, most of the time, the individual can be totally cured.

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Types of dyslexia

The following are the more common types of dyslexia associated with difficulties in speaking, reading, and writing:

Phonological dyslexia

This type of dyslexia is the one that is most commonly associated with dyslexia itself. It is usually caused by genetic factors, though it can also be caused by traumatic head injuries or severe diseases that may afflict the brain. Those suffering from this have difficulties with pronouncing words and manipulating the sounds of language eventually, which eventually leads to difficulties in reading.

Individuals must learn to decode words, failure to do so will hamper the ability to read and learn. This is precisely what is happening to those suffering from phonological dyslexia. They have trouble decoding words and breaking them into sounds.

Phonological dyslexia can lead to many types of learning problems and disabilities. The most common problem is the difficulty to differentiate letters. Synthesis of letters and words is also difficult. Sufferers are also prone to omissions and substitutions of letters in a word due to this difficulty.  They are also prone to mispronunciations.

Because of all of the difficulties mentioned, reading problematic. Learning through reading then, in general, is hampered. Reading itself requires repetition of letters, words, and their sound pattern. Those suffering from this type of dyslexia will have difficulties memorizing those and will lead to other problems, like recognizing speech or spoken words, especially in a noisy environment.

Surface Dyslexia

This type of dyslexia is common but less severe. People with surface dyslexia had no problems decoding words into sounds, but they usually have problems doing the next step. It means that they do not have issues pronouncing or speaking words of which they are familiar. But have trouble doing so when it comes to unfamiliar words or irregular ones.

They do not have problems with words that have letters pronounced the normal way, the word “off” for instance. But they will have trouble with words whose letters do not match the sound, or sounded differently, for instance, the word “bough.”

The problem lies in the letter-sound association a surface dyslexic makes. The more letters deviated from their normal, ordinary, regular sound in a given word, the more difficult it gets for the surface dyslexic.

Visual dyslexia

People having visual dyslexia differs from the two other types in the sense that it concerns visual process rather than the language or word processing itself. It has nothing to do with failure or the inability to break down words into letters with proper sounds. Rather, visual dyslexia has something to do with the inability of the individual to process the words or phrases that he sees.

The brain simply does not have the complete picture, or cannot process properly, words that are written and being seen. Visual dyslexics have trouble organizing words and letters into proper sequence or order. Problems in spelling are the usual trouble for those who are suffering from this type of dyslexia.

Number Dyslexia

Adults with Number Dyslexia have problems with the concept of time, order and sequencing. It might explain why they’re always late, often confused and do things in the wrong order. Sometimes also known as dyscalculia is a learning difficulty associated with numeracy, which affects the ability to acquire mathematical skills. Learners with dyscalculia often lack an intuitive grasp of numbers and have problems manipulating them and remembering number facts and procedures.

Perceptual dyslexia

Those who have this disorder have difficulties recognizing words. People suffering from this, however, do not have problems associated with phonological or surface dyslexia. They do not have trouble or difficulty decoding words and do not have problems with the letter-sound association.

Linguistic dyslexia

Linguistic dyslexia is characterized by having common mistakes when reading. Much like perceptual dyslexia, they have difficulties not with letters, words, and sounds, but in longer ones such as sentences and paragraphs, where omissions and substitutions of words in a sequence usually occur.

These two types of dyslexia can still impede learning. Just like the main types of dyslexia, the disorder must be addressed and be given proper attention.

Strategies in dealing with dyslexia

Some strategies are available that may help people dealing with dyslexia. Among these strategies are:

Ask the help of an expert

Schools have some learning experts who can diagnose if a child has dyslexia. Once it has been ascertained, it is best to be referred to a specialist, probably a teacher or an educator who is an expert in the field. The specialist can give lessons and apply techniques that can help your child to deal with dyslexia, or help the child in mitigating it.

It is the experts after all, who are familiar with the methods and treatment. The elements of treatment will include a personalized approach that will identify the needs of the child. It will be followed by regular interaction between the child and the teacher using the senses, at first, then followed by language elements like letters, words, and phonemes.

The specialist will make the dyslexic confident and comfortable by familiarizing him with the language. Elements of language then will be slowly incorporated as the student goes along with the treatment. Other nuances of language will also be taught as the dyslexic makes progress.

Give the dyslexia student some exercises

To complement the methods and strategies of the specialist, you must practice with the student. Give the dyslexic some easy exercises, which will help the student as well as encourage him. Since dyslexia is a learning disorder, patience and constant practice are a must if one wants to truly overcome, or at least mitigate it.

Show encouragement and support to dyslexia adults and children

Giving the child ample support and encouragement will go a long way in overcoming dyslexia. It will build the confidence of the child. Support and encouragement will help him persevere and be more patient, especially with regards to the methods and techniques used to treat him. Especially so since compared to other children, he needs more time to learn and study.

Best Dyslexia References and Resources


Dyslexia is a serious problem that needs to be addressed for adults and children, especially at a young and early age. You must look for signs of it in your children as early as possible. Early detection will allow you to address the problem quickly, and look for help and treatment.

Once your child is diagnosed with dyslexia, do not hesitate to ask for help from specialists and experts. You can contact some support groups who can provide you proper assistance, guidance and moral support in dealing with the problem. Most of all, never fail to show support, love, and encouragement to anyone in your family suffering from this disorder.

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About the author

Susanne Ricee

Susanne Ricee is the Diversity and Inclusion Specialist and Researcher at Diversity for Social Impact. Sue brings over 15 years of HR and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion consultation experience.
Sue's previous experience includes Microsoft, Target, and Kraft. Sue is also the manager of Diversity Leadership Directory