Students & Parents » Dyslexia


What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin and is characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.

These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

Dyslexia is a language-based condition rather than a vision-based condition. Students with dyslexia struggle with the relationship between letters and sounds.

Because of this, they have a hard time decoding, or sounding out, unfamiliar words, and instead often misread them based on an overreliance on their sight-word memory. Deficits are unexpected relative to cognitive abilities in that the student’s skills are lower than their overall ability and are not due to a lack of intelligence.

Additional Resources

Center for Dyslexia / Middle Tennessee University

Dear Colleague Letter (10-23-2015)/ Office of Special Education Programs/ United States Department of Education

Decoding Dyslexia Tennessee

Florida Center for Reading Research

International Dyslexia Association (IDA)

International Dyslexia Association-Tennessee Branch

National Center for Learning Disabilities

Support and Training for Exceptional Parents (STEP, Inc.)

Vanderbilt University Research Study: Not all reading disabilities are dyslexia.

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy

Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity