The stereotypical picture of the dyslexic student reading words backward isn't the only aspect of this learning disability. Roughly 15 percent to 20 percent of Americans have some symptoms of this learning disorder, according to the International Dyslexia Association. Dyslexia affects word recognition, spelling and decoding, and may interfere with vocabulary building and reading comprehension, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. That said, it doesn't affect every person the same. The effects often go beyond reading and writing, and affect motivation and self-image.
It Affects Students in Different Ways
There is no one way that dyslexia affects learning. It can affect different learners in different ways, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. The effects of dyslexia may depend on how severe the disability is, and what kind of help the student gets, notes the Center for the Study of Learning at the Georgetown University Medical Center. Students may have one symptom, or different combinations of reading challenges. For example, one student may find reading a challenge while another may find writing more difficult.
It Affects Reading Fluency
Dyslexia affects the student's reading fluency in that he may struggle to recognize words, understand vocabulary and process correct spelling. This means that dyslexic students often read more slowly than those without the disability. In an MRI-based study of dyslexic and non-dyslexic adults, participants with dyslexia showed lower levels of activation in the brain areas responsible for fluency processing, according to the article "Brain Bases of Reading Fluency in Typical Reading and Impaired Fluency in Dyslexia."
It Can Affect the Ability to Write
Individuals with dyslexia don't just struggle to read. Many also find writing a challenge, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. In a study of 11-year-olds, researchers found that those with dyslexia needed more time and made more mistakes when writing spoken sentences, according to the article "Writing in Dyslexia: Product and Process" in the journal "Dyslexia." In this study, the researchers found that the inability to write at the expected level was not a matter of effort, but instead related to the same cognitive problems that make reading difficult for dyslexics.
It Can Impair Math Learning
The symbolic language of math is often tricky for dyslexic students to decode and understand easily, according to director of Language and Learning Associates Rosalind W. Rothman and professor Claire Lavin on the International Dyslexia Association's website. While not every student with dyslexia will have problems in math class, some find associating number names with numerals a challenge. Likewise, the ability to retrieve basic math facts and use working memory may impair the dyslexic student's ability to solve complex number problems and equations.
- International Dyslexia Association: Dyslexia Basics
- National Center for Learning Disabilities: What Is Dyslexia?
- PLOS One: Brain Bases of Reading Fluency in Typical Reading and Impaired Fluency in Dyslexia
- Dyslexia: Writing in Dyslexia: Product and Process
- International Dyslexia Association: The Impact of Dyslexia on Mathematics
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.