What is Dyslexia?



What is Dyslexia?

No single definition currently exists to adequately define dyslexia, 

including our own definition. The truth is, at present nobody 

really knows exactly what dyslexia is or what causes it. However, 

we do know much about the dyslexic condition and as a consequence 

dyslexia tends to be described in terms of its symptoms or 

alternatively in terms of what it is not. For example 'Dyslexia is 

not due to low intelligence' or 'Dyslexia is not a disease, it has 

no cure'

In your search for information you will discover many definitions 

and proposed causes of dyslexia. Writers will put forward their own 

views and theories, which will generally differ from the views and 

theories of others. Understandably, this is often confusing.

However, if you find yourself in this position and are wondering how 

on earth you can begin to understand a condition that has no single 

definition, do not despair. 

Those who work with dyslexic children and adults on a day-to-day 

basis quickly learn to recognise the signs of dyslexia. Although no 

two dyslexics are the same, all dyslexics share enough common 

symptoms to make recognising the condition possible. 

Unlike others, we do not wish to attempt to impose one single 

definition upon you. Instead we have listed below a few of the 

common definitions currently in circulation.

Whichever definition you identify with, if you suspect that you are dyslexic 

yourself or that your child may be dyslexic, be totally honest with yourself. 

Deep down inside you will known that some kind of problem exists

and that is the first step to resolving it.

Definition 1) Our own simple definition of dyslexia is 'Intelligent, bright or 

even gifted individuals, that for no obvious reason, struggle to learn through 

the medium of written or spoken language'.

Definition 2) The World Federation of Neurology defines dyslexia as 

'a disorder manifested by difficulties in learning to read, despite 

conventional instruction, adequate intelligence and socio-cultural 


Definition 3) Dyslexia is not just a severe reading disorder 

characterised by reversals. It is a syndrome of many and varied 

symptoms that affects millions of children and adults. 

Definition 4) Dyslexia is the ability to see multidimensionally, 

all at once, or from any one place at a time. The ability to think 

in pictures and to register those pictures as real. Thus, you mix 

in creative thinking with reality and change what is seen and heard.

Definition 5

a) To read and spell requires co-ordination of many brain 

functions. Problems arise at one or more functional levels.

b) Developmental dyslexia is a neurobiological based deficit in 

acquiring reading and spelling skills, relative to the person's 

general intellectual abilities.

c) Dyslexia is a discrepancy between a high score on intelligence 

tests and low scores on reading/spelling tests. 

Definition 6) Dyslexia is a disability that alters the way the 

brain processes written material. Effects vary from person to 

person. However, all dyslexics read at levels significantly lower 

than is typical for their age or intelligence.

Definition 7) Dyslexia is a learning difficulty characterised by 

problems with written or spoken language such as reading, writing, 

spelling, speaking, or listening. The word dyslexia describes a 

different kind of mind, often gifted, over-productive, and that 

learns in a different way. 

Definition 8) Dyslexia is a congenital disturbance of brain 

function causing a variety of learning difficulties, especially 

relating to reading, writing and spelling.