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Conditions Related to Dyslexia

Topic Overview

Dyslexia may occur with other learning or emotional problems. Some of the conditions associated with dyslexia may be the result of the way the child's brain was formed or how it functions. Some of the emotional problems that a child with dyslexia can have are due to frustrations and failures at school and home. But keep in mind that in order to diagnose a child with dyslexia, the evidence must show that there is no other cause for the reading disability.

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some children with dyslexia also have ADHD. But dyslexia and ADHD are two very different conditions: one does not cause the other. For more information, see the topic Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  • Impairments in executive functions. Executive functions are the ability to use a set of problem-solving skills to attain goals. This includes the ability to inhibit or defer a response; make a sequential, strategic plan of action; and commit relevant information to memory for future use. These abilities are necessary for organizational skills, planning, impulse control, selective attention, inhibition, and creative thinking.
  • Memory impairments. Difficulties in the ability to listen, remember, and repeat phonemes or words that are heard are associated with dyslexia. Many times these children have problems remembering the sounds in words long enough to match them with letters for spelling. Often they cannot remember even a short list of instructions.
  • Problems with mathematics. Some children with dyslexia have problems learning mathematical concepts and vocabulary. They may also find it difficult to recognize mathematical symbols, similar to the problems they have in learning written language. Additionally, solving math problems that are presented in sentence form may be especially challenging because of difficulty with language.
  • Emotional and behavior disorders. Children with dyslexia are at increased risk for conduct and anxiety disorders, withdrawal, poor self-esteem, and depression.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised April 12, 2012

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