Types of dyslexia

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Dyslexia can be divided into numerous types and subtypes which have different symptoms. Read on to learn more.

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Dyslexia is a lifelong issue that can’t be completely cured. However, dyslexic people take numerous actions to improve their reading ability, word recognition, and phonological processing.

The actions one should take depend on the type of dyslexia. Here, you’ll learn more about the different types of dyslexia.

What is dyslexia – an overview

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities that causes problems with reading, spelling, and writing. This disability is usually identified in childhood and often lasts into adulthood.

People with this learning disorder have difficulty reading and/or writing, confuse the order of letters in words, have poor spelling skills, can’t copy words from different sources, etc. In some cases, dyslexia is related to ADHD.

It’s important to clarify that this disability isn’t related to intelligence. Dyslexia affects people of all intellectual abilities. While individuals can improve their reading level and phonological awareness, they can’t outgrow dyslexia.

Dyslexia tends to run in families and represents a difference in how the brain processes language. Due to this difference, people with dyslexia often see words in an inverted form, without spaces, or with moving letters.

There are numerous types of dyslexia, and they have different symptoms. In other words, there are no uniform symptoms every person with dyslexia will experience. Regardless of the type, keep in mind that dyslexia happens on a continuum, and the symptoms can vary from mild to severe.

The types of dyslexia

Let’s review the different types and subtypes of dyslexia and explain their symptoms:

Surface dyslexia

Surface dyslexia is related to individuals who can sound out a new word but can’t recognize familiar ones by sight. In this case, the problem is related to visual processing; individuals can’t recognize how a word looks and, consequently, can’t process it.

These are the common symptoms:

  • Problems with word recognition
  • Reading slowly
  • Difficulty spelling and reading
  • Getting letters confused
  • Difficulty reading unfamiliar words by sight

Phonological dyslexia

Phonological dyslexia is related to a difficulty with breaking up words into syllables and phonemes. Individuals with phonological dyslexia often have no issues pronouncing words. However, they can’t split words into smaller units.

As a result, these individuals have issues decoding words and matching phonemes to graphemes (letters).

The most common symptoms are:

  • Inability to remember individual sounds
  • Difficulty making the letter-sound connection
  • Poor word analysis skills
  • Problems with rhyming
  • Spelling skills remain below the reading level

Visual dyslexia

Visual dyslexia is similar to surface dyslexia and dyseidetic dyslexia. This type of dyslexia affects visual processing, meaning individuals see what’s on the page but can’t process it correctly. Visual dyslexia affects spelling because the brain can’t remember the correct letter and word sequence.

Keep in mind that visual dyslexia can result from visual problems like nearsightedness and farsightedness.

Frequent symptoms of visual dyslexia are:

  • Texts seem blurry.
  • Difficulty keeping track of lines.
  • Difficulty focusing on the text.
  • Text appears double.
  • Eyestrain and headaches when reading.


Dyscalculia is a difficulty in understanding numbers, often leading to problems with mathematics. Technically, dyscalculia is a different condition than dyslexia. However, many people call it “math dyslexia,” which is why it made the list.

Common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty learning to count.
  • Difficulty remembering math facts.
  • Problems with understanding concepts like “less than” or “greater than.”
  • Inability to apply math skills to daily life.

Developmental dyslexia

The term developmental dyslexia is often used interchangeably with dyslexia. Definitions for these two terms are essentially the same: a disability that affects reading, spelling, and writing.

Many people use “developmental” to distinguish between genetic and acquired dyslexia (due to head trauma, brain injury, or stroke).

Common signs and symptoms of dyslexia are:

  • Slow reading
  • Poor spelling and/or writing
  • Symptoms related to a specific type of dyslexia


Dysgraphia represents difficulties with transcription, i.e., skills related to handwriting, spelling, and typing. Unlike dyslexia, dysgraphia isn’t a reading disorder.

Common symptoms are:

  • Slow writing
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts and ideas through writing
  • Difficulty forming letters
  • Poor phonemic awareness

Auditory dyslexia

Auditory dyslexia, also known as dysphonetic dyslexia, represents the inability to process the basic sounds of a language, i.e., the lack of phonemic awareness. This type of dyslexia is also called Auditory Processing Disorder (APD).

The most common symptoms are:

  • Inability to understand people in loud spaces
  • Fusing multiple sounds into one
  • Hearing sounds in reversed order

Double Deficit Dyslexia

Double deficit isn’t really a type of dyslexia, but it’s an important concept that needs to be clarified. The term is used for individuals who have phonological impairments and problems with rapid automatic naming (RAN).

This naming deficit refers to how fast an individual can retrieve the names of numbers, letters, colors, etc., from long-term memory.

Trauma dyslexia

This type of dyslexia isn’t developmental but is caused by a brain injury, head trauma, or a disease. People who experience poor reading comprehension and difficulty writing after an injury should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Dyseidetic dyslexia

Dyseidetic dyslexia is related to deficits in visual memory and discrimination, characterized by difficulty recognizing and spelling whole words.

Common symptoms are:

  • Poor grasp of phonics.
  • Common spelling mistakes.
  • Difficulty sounding out words.

Primary dyslexia

Primary dyslexia is a subtype of developmental dyslexia that is genetically inherited.

Overcome dyslexia with Speechify

Regardless of the type of dyslexia, text to speech programs like Speechify can prove invaluable. Speechify uses the latest technology to convert almost any written text to speech. It allows users to choose the reading speed, voice, and accent and customize their experience.

Another benefit of Speechify is accessibility. It can be used as a browser extension, an independent desktop app, or a smartphone app. The platform ensures reading doesn’t represent an obstacle to learning. Don’t hesitate to try Speechify and enjoy its many benefits.

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