Can dyslexia be outgrown

Question:

Will my child outgrow dyslexia?

Answer:

“Dyslexia” is a word used to describe a pattern of thinking and learning that is characteristic of the dyslexic person. It will not be “outgrown.”

However, there is no uniform standard on how to test for dyslexia, and testing often involves looking for specific academic weaknesses, such as difficulty performing phonetic tasks or reading.

Many educators still view dyslexia only as a weakness or disability. As a result they have not developed diagnostic tests that look for the talents and strengths that are typically also part of dyslexia. For that reason most educational testing for dyslexia is not really complete and may not be accurate.

While dyslexic children do not merely ‘outgrow’ their early learning problems, many do overcome them. Thus, the specific symptoms or problems identified early in life may no longer exist in adulthood, and therefore would not be measurable.

A dyslexia adult who has learned to read well is still dyslexic – but has acquired the skills that were once difficult. If the person performs well on a reading test, some testers might conclude that she is not dyslexic, but this merely reflects the limitations of such testing. The person’s overall style of thinking and learning has probably not changed.

(Answer by Abigail Marshall)

6 comments

  • anne

    hi, i had mild dyslexia when i was in elementary school (not sure where i placed the diagnosis results from years ago though), am currently in university but still struggling with writing/planning essays and paraphrasing etc. But able to do other things like tell time and differentiate between left and right now. Did a checklist online and had a score of 39 which states that i’m probably non-dyslexic (u have to score >45). So i’m confused and i feel like i need help in sch 🙁

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      I don’t think that online test you did is accurate. We have our own test at https://www.testdyslexia.com — if you try that you will see that we look at a broad array of traits and symptoms, and don’t try to give a numerical score. Dyslexia symptoms occur along a spectrum.

      It may be that your current symptoms aren’t strong enough to qualify for an official diagnosis — but that’s just a problem of where to draw the line. There really is no uniform criteria for diagnosis of dyslexia in any case.

  • Layla

    When I was in ES I VERY much so struggled to read, and was diagnosed as dyslexic. However, now I’m in high school and I’m a great reader. I’ve gotten English literature certificate awards for the past few years, and I’ve never gotten any formal help with my reading, because my parents were ashamed of my diagnosis. Is there a chance that I was never really dyslexic? Or is dyslexia something that can be overcome?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      The problems with reading and writing tied to dyslexia can definitely be overcome — actually in a very short time with the right type of help. Dyslexia is not a problem with the ability to read and write — rather, it is a difficulty with the learning process to gain the skills. Dyslexics simply learn to read in a different way than typical students — the problem is that it’s pretty hard for a young person to figure that out on their own — most won’t, and those that do will not be able to read comfortably before at least age 11 or 12. So good for you! You are not alone, but it is still something to be proud of that you could do this on our own.

  • don d

    I’m concerned about our 4 year old granddaughter who writes letters from right to left and they are reversed,

    almost a mirror image of her name if held up and looked at from the back.

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Reversals in writing at age 4 are quite normal developmentally — it is one of many possible indications of dyslexia, but by itself is not significant.

      Because we live in a 3-dimensional world, the brain naturally develops the ability to recognize objects no matter which direction they are facing. This is called “mirror generalization” — in order to learn to work with letters and numbers, the brain actually has to develop ways to suppress this very natural process. Here is a blog post I wrote recently that provides more detail: https://blog.dyslexia.com/unflipping-the-letters/

      There are ways that you can help your granddaughter, but it’s much more important at this age to focus on skills that are developmentally appropriate. Here’s another article written many years ago by the late Sharon Pfeiffer, the developer of the Davis Learning Strategies school program, with some great suggestions: https://www.dyslexia.com/about-dyslexia/understanding-dyslexia/early-childhood-learning/

      An added benefit as that these suggestions are tied to fun and creative activities that a grandparent can share with a grandchild in a playful way.

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