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Synonym: reading disorder
German: Legasthenie

1 Definition

Dyslexia is a type of developmental disorder that causes children of normal intelligence to have trouble with reading and writing. Boys are more often affected than girls.

2 Causes

What exactly leads to dyslexia is still unclear. It is suspected that there are genetic factors as well as psychosocial or neurological disorders interfering with the regular development of the brain's language center. This can lead to reading and writing disorders. Severity of the disorders varies with the individual patient because multiple factors are at play.

3 Symptoms

Usually dyslexia is first observed in children of school age because they cannot keep up with their peers when it comes to reading and writing. Acquisition of reading skills and the recognition of characters are delayed, the affected child omits or misspells phrases and parts of sentences.

4 Diagnosis

Using different tests and observing the child thoroughly, a speech therapist, pediatrician or psychiatrist can diagnose dyslexia. It is crucial to exclude underlying organic diseases.

5 Therapy

Additional practice is usually not a working remedy because dyslexia is a kind of developmental disorder, limited to the language center. That is why a child psychologist's objective is not only to promote the parents' efforts of motivating the child but also encouraging the child to continue taking part in school life. Certain support programs – e.g. learning groups or computer-based learning aids – can be beneficial as well.

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