Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects a person’s ability to read, write, and spell. It is not a result of low intelligence or lack of motivation, but rather a specific difficulty with processing language. While dyslexia manifests differently in each individual, there are several recognized types, each with its unique characteristics and challenges.

In this article, we will explore the various types of dyslexia, shedding light on their distinctive features and potential strategies for support.

1. Phonological Dyslexia

Phonological dyslexia is the most common form of dyslexia. It primarily affects the ability to decode words by recognizing the sounds associated with letters or letter groups. Individuals with phonological dyslexia may struggle with tasks like sounding out words, blending sounds, and rhyming.


  • Difficulty with phonemic awareness (awareness of individual sounds in words).
  • Challenges in associating letters with their corresponding sounds.
  • Trouble with word recognition and spelling.

Strategies for Support:

  • Phonics Instruction: A structured approach to teaching the relationship between sounds and the letters that represent them.
  • Multisensory Techniques: Incorporating multiple senses, such as sight, sound, and touch, to reinforce learning.

2. Surface Dyslexia

Surface dyslexia primarily affects the recognition of irregularly spelled words, which are often referred to as “sight words.” These are words that do not follow typical phonetic rules. Individuals with surface dyslexia may struggle with words that cannot be easily sounded out.


  • Difficulty with sight word recognition.
  • Tendency to guess at unfamiliar words.
  • Stronger performance with regular, phonetically decodable words.

Strategies for Support:

  • Visual Memory Training: Exercises that strengthen the visual memory for frequently used irregular words.
  • Word Repetition: Repeated exposure to irregular words in different contexts.

3. Rapid Naming Dyslexia (Double Deficit Dyslexia)

This type of dyslexia involves a specific difficulty in quickly naming familiar objects, colours, or letters. Individuals with rapid naming dyslexia may struggle with tasks like quickly naming letters or numbers, which can hinder reading fluency.


  • Slow naming speed for familiar objects.
  • Difficulty in quickly recognizing and naming letters, numbers, or colours.

Strategies for Support:

  • Rapid Naming Exercises: Engaging activities to improve the speed of recognizing and naming familiar items.
  • Phonological Awareness Activities: Strengthening the connection between sounds and symbols.

4. Visual Dyslexia

Visual dyslexia, also known as visual processing disorder, involves difficulties in processing and interpreting visual information. It affects the ability to accurately perceive letters, numbers, and symbols.


  • Difficulty distinguishing between similar-looking letters (e.g., b and d).
  • Challenges with tracking and following text on a page.

Strategies for Support:

  • Visual Discrimination Activities: Exercises to enhance the ability to differentiate between similar visual stimuli.
  • Use of Colored Overlays or Filters: Some individuals find relief from visual stress using coloured overlays or filters on reading material.

5. Attentional Dyslexia

Attentional dyslexia is characterized by difficulties in sustaining attention during reading tasks. This type of dyslexia is often associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other attention-related conditions.


  • Tendency to become easily distracted while reading.
  • Difficulty maintaining focus on text for extended periods.

Strategies for Support:

  • Chunking Text: Breaking down text into smaller, manageable sections.
  • Incorporating Multisensory Techniques: Engaging multiple senses to maintain attention.

Are There Stages Of Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is not typically categorized into specific stages in the way that some medical conditions progress through defined phases. Instead, dyslexia is considered a lifelong, neurodevelopmental condition. However, the severity and impact of dyslexia can vary widely from person to person, and it can evolve in response to interventions and educational support. Here are some important points to consider:

  • Early Identification: Dyslexia can be identified as early as preschool or kindergarten when children begin to learn the basics of reading and writing. Early signs may include difficulty with letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and rhyming.
  • Impact Across the Lifespan: Dyslexia persists into adulthood. However, with appropriate interventions and accommodations, individuals with dyslexia can develop effective coping strategies and succeed in various aspects of life.
  • Developmental Changes: As children with dyslexia grow and mature, they may experience shifts in how their difficulties manifest. For instance, a child may initially struggle with learning letter sounds but, with appropriate intervention, go on to become a proficient reader.
  • Response to Intervention: Early intervention is crucial in supporting individuals with dyslexia. Effective interventions can help individuals develop reading skills and strategies that mitigate the challenges posed by dyslexia.
  • Coping and Compensatory Strategies: Over time, individuals with dyslexia often develop coping mechanisms and compensatory strategies to navigate reading and writing tasks. These strategies may include using assistive technology, utilizing speech-to-text software, or employing specific reading techniques.
  • Continual Learning and Growth: Individuals with dyslexia can continue to learn and improve their reading and writing skills throughout their lives. With appropriate support and access to resources, they can achieve high levels of academic and professional success.
  • Awareness and Advocacy: As individuals with dyslexia grow older, they often become more aware of their specific learning profile and what strategies work best for them. They may become advocates for themselves and others with dyslexia, helping to raise awareness and promote inclusive educational practices.

It’s important to note that the experience of dyslexia is highly individual, and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, personalized assessments, interventions, and ongoing support are critical for individuals with dyslexia at any stage of their lives.

How To Know If I’m Dyslexic?

Recognizing dyslexia in oneself can be a crucial first step towards seeking appropriate support and accommodations. Keep in mind that while the following signs may be indicative of dyslexia, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional or educational specialist for a formal assessment. Here are some common signs of dyslexia:

  • Early Language Difficulties: Difficulty with phonological awareness, such as recognizing and manipulating individual sounds in words. This might manifest as challenges with rhyming or recognizing the first sound in a word.
  • Letter Reversals or Confusions: Commonly mixing up letters or reversing them, such as ‘b’ and ‘d’, ‘p’ and ‘q’.
  • Difficulty with Reading Aloud: Struggling to decode words or stumbling over words when reading aloud. This may involve guessing words based on context rather than sounding them out.
  • Slow Reading Speed: Reading at a significantly slower pace compared to peers, even after receiving instruction and practice.
  • Inconsistent Spelling: Having difficulty spelling words correctly, especially irregular words that don’t follow typical phonetic rules.
  • Difficulty with Sequencing: Struggles with understanding and recalling the order of letters, numbers, or events.
  • Avoidance of Reading: A tendency to avoid activities that involve reading, or a dislike of reading for pleasure.
  • Challenges with Writing: Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper, trouble with grammar and punctuation, and overall slower writing speed.
  • Poor Handwriting: Messy or illegible handwriting, often resulting from difficulties with fine motor skills.
  • Memory Challenges: Difficulty remembering lists, sequences, or instructions.
  • Difficulty with Math Word Problems: Struggles with understanding and solving math problems that involve reading and comprehending written instructions.
  • Excellent Verbal Skills: Individuals with dyslexia often have strong verbal communication skills, which can sometimes mask their difficulties with reading and writing.

If you identify with several of these signs, it’s important to seek a professional evaluation. A diagnosis of dyslexia typically involves a comprehensive assessment by a qualified specialist, which may include standardized tests, interviews, and observations.

Remember, a dyslexia diagnosis is not a reflection of intelligence or potential. With appropriate support and accommodations, individuals with dyslexia can excel in many areas of life. If you suspect you may have dyslexia, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional or an educational specialist for guidance and support.


Understanding the various types of dyslexia is crucial for providing effective support and interventions. It’s important to note that individuals with dyslexia often exhibit a combination of these types, and tailored approaches to learning are essential. By recognizing the specific challenges faced by each individual, we can implement strategies that empower them to overcome hurdles and unlock their full potential.

With the right support, individuals with dyslexia can thrive academically and in all aspects of their lives.


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