The Paul Rabil Foundation is committed to helping children with learning differences by creating programs and partnerships through sport and scholarship.

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What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia, is a reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols. Dyslexia is the most common form of reading, writing and spelling difficulties. It is a syndrome of varied symptoms affecting over 40 million American children and adults.

Dyslexia occurs when there is a problem in areas of the brain that help interpret language. It is not caused by vision problems. The disorder is a specific information-processing problem that does not interfere with one's ability to think or to understand complex ideas. Most people with DRD have normal intelligence, and many have above-average intelligence.

Dyslexia may appear in combination with developmental writing disorder and developmental arithmetic disorder. All of these involve using symbols to convey information. These conditions may appear alone or in any combination.

True dyslexia is much broader than simply confusing or transposing letters, for example mistaking "b" and "d."

In general, symptoms of DRD may include:
  • Difficulty determining the meaning (idea content) of a simple sentence
  • Difficulty learning to recognize written words
  • Difficulty rhyming

Dyslexia may occur in combination with writing or math learning problems.

Dyslexia may lead to:
  • Problems in school, including behavior problems
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Reading problems that persist into adulthood, which may affect job performance, particularly if the problem was not addressed early in life

Every person with dyslexia requires a different strategy. An individual education plan should be created for each child with the condition.

The following may be recommended:
  • Extra learning assistance, called remedial instruction
  • Private, individual tutoring
  • Special day classes

Positive reinforcement is important as many students with learning disabilities have poor self-esteem. Without this, many children and adults will face learning and coordination or klutzy difficulties often leading to ridicule and/or self-recrimination. Many drift into drugs and alcohol — even crime. Their loss and cost to society is incalculable. And tragically, this staggering loss was, and is, preventable!