What is Dyslexia?

Does your child struggle with reading? They're not alone.
Fifteen to twenty percent of the population (nearly 1 in 5) has a language-based learning disability such as dyslexia. Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties. Dyslexia affects males and females from across all ethnic and social classes.

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that affects the way the brain processes information. Signs that someone may be dyslexic include:

  • Difficulty reading common words
  • Difficulty learning new words
  • Difficulty with spelling and handwriting
  • Difficulty with planning, organization and time management.

Dyslexia is NOT connected to intelligence. People with dyslexia usually have average to above average intelligence, and can show exceptional ability in spatial relations, creativity, and intuition. Formal testing is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of dyslexia.

Effects of Dyslexia.

Beyond the processing issues, dyslexia can strongly affect a person's self-esteem. Even bright students with dyslexia often feel academically inferior compared to their classmates. They experience a great deal of school anxiety, and often do not believe they will be capable of successfully going on to college.


Research shows that the best way to educate students with dyslexia is with a curriculum that is "explicit, direct, cumulative, intensive, and focused on the structure of language."(International Dyslexia Association) It must be multisensory in nature - involving the simultaneous use of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile pathways to help students learn and retain skills and information. The best programs combine remediation (proven methods to directly address and work through the student's areas of difficulty) and accommodation (using tools and strategies to help students work around their challenges). Results are best when this curricular approach is delivered and reinforced across all content areas in which the student is engaged. Finding the right educational environment for your dyslexic student can mean the difference between just surviving and thriving in school - and in life.

If your child is dyslexic, here are some critical questions to ask about their instruction:

  • Does your child's school use a research-based, multisensory reading remediation program to instruct your child?
  • Is your child's teacher certified in the multisensory reading remediation program in which your child will be instructed?
  • Are your child's teachers consistently providing the accommodations he or she needs to learn and be assessed properly? (extra time, audio books, etc.)
  • Do your child's teachers work with them to develop a clear understanding of their learning disability and the skills and self-confidence to advocate for themselves in college and beyond?
  • Does your child's school have a consistently successful track record of college placement for students with language-based learning disabilities?


Delaware Valley Friends School is a national leader in the field of educating students (grades 3-12) with dyslexia, dysgraphia, executive function disorders, ADHD, and other learning differences located in the Philadelphia area.

Delaware Valley Friends School
19 E. Central Avenue, Paoli, Pennsylvania 19301
Phone: 610.640.4150
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