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What is Dyslexia?

Developmental dyslexia is characterized by an unexpected difficulty in reading in children and adults who otherwise possess the intelligence and motivation considered necessary for accurate and fluent reading. More formally, Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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.

Dyslexia is perhaps the most common neuro-behavioral disorder affecting children, with prevalence rates ranging from 5 to 17.5 percent. Family history is one of the most important risk factors, with 23 percent to as much as 65 percent of children who have a parent with dyslexia reported to have the disorder. A rate among siblings of affected persons of approximately 40 percent and among parents ranging from 27 to 49 percent provides opportunities for early identification of affected siblings and often for delayed but helpful identification of affected adults.

Within the last two decades overwhelming evidence from many laboratories has converged to indicate the cognitive basis for dyslexia: dyslexia represents a disorder within the language system and more specifically within a particular subcomponent of that system, phonological processing.