November 08, 2022

Is Dyslexia Genetic? 

is dyslexia genetic

If you have trouble reading due to problems relating letters and words to speech sounds, you may have dyslexia. It’s a learning disorder caused by differences in brain areas responsible for language processing. 

Dyslexia isn’t a problem with hearing, vision, or intelligence. It’s an issue with language processing in the brain.

Is dyslexia genetic? Learn more below.

Is Dyslexia Inherited?

Dyslexia is a neurological condition that appears to be linked to genes that influence how the brain processes written information and language. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 5 to 12% of the population has dyslexia, but children with an affected parent have a risk of 40 to 60% of developing the condition.  

Spotting Dyslexia

It’s challenging to identify dyslexia before a child starts school, but some of the symptoms include:

  • Being slow to start talking
  • Having trouble learning new words
  • Reversing word sounds or confusing words that sound similar
  • Struggling to learn nursery rhymes

Once a child begins their formal education, it’s common for a teacher to be the first to recognize the signs. They can include reading well below the average for their age, trouble spelling, problems remembering the sequencing of things, avoiding reading-related activities, difficulty sounding out new words, and problems understanding what they hear.

Sometimes, dyslexia isn’t diagnosed until a person is a teen or adult. In those cases, symptoms include:

  • Trouble reading (particularly reading aloud)
  • Difficulty solving math word problems
  • Slow writing and reading
  • Mispronouncing words
  • Making spelling errors
  • Trouble summarizing stories 

Dyslexia Complications

People with dyslexia suffer issues beyond trouble with reading and comprehension. Not surprisingly, they typically struggle academically. 

They also may develop social problems, including withdrawal, anxiety, or aggression. In addition, children with dyslexia have an increased risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and vice versa. 

Adults with dyslexia may experience negative social and economic consequences, including failing to get jobs or promotions. 

Diagnosing and Treating Dyslexia

There is no single test or assessment for diagnosing dyslexia. Instead, doctors may administer questionnaires and perform various hearing, vision, and neurological exams. Because dyslexia is genetic, getting a detailed family history is also helpful. 

There currently is no way to address the underlying brain issues that cause dyslexia. Consequently, treatment focuses on providing educational techniques that make reading and comprehension easier for a person with the condition. The earlier assistance is provided, the better a person’s outcome tends to be in later life.

People with dyslexia may also benefit from emotional counseling. And, in general, they need understanding and compassion from those around them. But with early intervention, educational skill assistance, and support, people with dyslexia can be happy and successful. 

Learn More About Dyslexia from Baptist Health

If you suspect that you have dyslexia, your doctor can help. If you don’t yet have a Baptist Health physician, you can find one online using our provider directory.  Talking with your primary care doctor is an excellent start, and they may refer you to a neurologist for specialized care. 

Learn More.