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Dyslexia, also known as reading disorder, is a learning disability characterized by trouble reading despite normal intelligence. Different people are affected to varying degrees.Problems may include sounding out words, spelling words, reading quickly, writing words, pronouncing words when reading aloud, and understanding what was read. Often these difficulties are first noticed at school. When someone who previously knew how to read loses the ability, it is known as alexia. The difficulties are not voluntary and people with this disorder have a normal desire to learn.

The cause of dyslexia is believed to involve both genetic and environmental factors. Some cases run in families. It occurs more often in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is associated with problems with mathematics. When the condition begins in adults it may be the result of a traumatic brain injury, stroke, or dementia. The underlying mechanism involves problems with the brain’s processing of language. Diagnosis is by a series of tests of a person’s memory, spelling, ability to see, and reading skills. It is separate from reading difficulties due to poor teaching, or hearing or vision problems.

Treatment usually involves adjusting teaching methods to meet the person’s needs. While this does not cure the underlying problem, difficulties can be ameliorated. Treatments aimed at vision are not effective. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, affecting 3 to 7 percent of people. While it is diagnosed more often in males, some believe it actually affects males and females equally. Up to 20 percent of the population may have some degree of symptoms. Dyslexia occurs in all areas of the world.

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