“Why me?” is the big question for most dyslexics. But people also want to know if it is something genetic, and if it is something that happens in other writing systems too. We’ll talk about:
● All cultures have people who are dyslexic
● Dyslexia runs in families
● Both boys and girls can be dyslexic
● Clinical or educational psychologists can diagnose dyslexia.
DYSLEXICS ALL OVER THE WORLD
Cultures all over the world have dyslexics. People who read Japanese characters are just as likely to be dyslexic as people who read English, Polish or Arabic.
But the English language has lots of words that don’t follow the spelling or pronunciation rules. That means English-reading dyslexics have a much harder time than people reading Spanish or German, for example.
DYSLEXIA RUNS IN FAMILIES
Because reading is such a new skill for humans, there is no single “reading gene”. That means that there are several genes that can cause dyslexia.
But the different genes that cause dyslexia do run in families. If one of your parents or a brother or sister has trouble reading, you are more likely to be dyslexic, too. If a father is dyslexic, his son has a forty percent chance of being dyslexic — if you had nine brothers, you and three brothers might be dyslexic.
Dyslexia affects adults as well as children. But we don’t hear about adults being dyslexic as much. For a long time, many dyslexics slipped through the cracks. If your parents or grandparents were dyslexic, they learned how to cope with their learning difference on their own. In fact, many adult dyslexics only find out that they have a learning difference as they listen to a teacher explain their child’s diagnosis and realize “That’s how I read!”
BOTH BOYS AND GIRLS
Both boys and girls can be dyslexic. But dyslexia is noticed sooner in boys because they tend to act out more when they’re frustrated. Girls tend to withdraw from activities to cope with their learning problems.
WHO DECIDES IF YOU’RE DYSLEXIC?
Medical doctors can’t diagnose dyslexia, because it isn’t a medical condition. It’s a learning difference.
To get a diagnosis of dyslexia, you need to be tested by a clinical or educational psychologist. Your public school might be able to test you, or they can give you the names of people in your area who can. Or you can go to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) Provider Directory web page. https://dyslexiaida.org/provider-directories/ For adult testing, you might find some good information at the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) Adult Testing web page. https://ldaamerica.org/category/adult-testing/?audience=Parents
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