What is Dyslexia?

What is Dyslexia?

From the Dyslexia Handbook, 2010: 

The student who struggles with reading and spelling often puzzles teachers and parents. The student displays average ability to learn in the absence of print and receives the same classroom instruction that benefits most children; however, the student continues to struggle with some or all of the many facets of reading and spelling. This student may be a student with dyslexia. 

The Texas Education Code (TEC) §38.003 defines dyslexia in the following way: 
  1. Dyslexia means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity. 
  2. Related disorders includes disorders similar to or related to dyslexia such as developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability.
The current definition from the International Dyslexia Association states the following: 
  • Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. (Adopted by the International Dyslexia Association Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002) 
The primary difficulties of a student identified as having dyslexia occur in phonemic awareness and manipulation, single-word decoding, reading fluency, and spelling. Secondary consequences of dyslexia may include difficulties in reading comprehension and/or written expression. These difficulties are unexpected for the student’s age, educational level, or cognitive abilities. Additionally, there is often a family history of similar difficulties. 

The following are the primary reading/spelling characteristics of dyslexia: 
  • Difficulty reading real words in isolation 
  • Difficulty accurately decoding nonsense words Slow, inaccurate, or labored oral reading (lack of reading fluency) 
  • Difficulty with learning to spell 
The reading/spelling characteristics are the result of difficulty with the following: 
  • The development of phonological awareness, including segmenting, blending, and manipulating sounds in words 
  • Learning the names of letters and their associated sounds 
  • Phonological memory (holding information about sounds and words in memory) 
  • Rapid naming of familiar objects, colors, or letters of the alphabet 
Secondary consequences of dyslexia may include the following: 
  • Variable difficulty with aspects of reading comprehension 
  • Variable difficulty with aspects of written composition 
  • A limited amount of time spent in reading activities

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