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EDUCATION REPORT - Learning Disabilities, Part 2: Dyslexia - 2004-02-11

Broadcast: February 12, 2004

This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Education Report.

Last week, we began a discussion of learning disabilities. These are disorders that cause unusual difficulty for a person to develop skills needed for life. A person can have a learning disability in one or more areas like reading, writing, listening, speaking or working with numbers. Today we talk about the condition known as dyslexia.

Researchers say eighty-five percent of people with a reading disability have dyslexia. The experts say the brain fails to link letters and sounds correctly in people with dyslexia.

The most common effects are difficulties reading, spelling and writing. Some people have problems with only one of these skills. Or they may have trouble with spoken language. They may find it difficult to express themselves clearly or understand what others say.

Dyslexia also can affect a person emotionally. Specialists say students with dyslexia often think they are stupid and unable to learn. They say children who feel like this are in danger of failure and depression.

Signs of dyslexia in young children include learning to talk at a later age than others, and difficulty pronouncing words. Dyslexic children also have trouble learning or remembering letters, numbers, days of the week, colors and shapes.

Older students may have difficulty learning a foreign language. They may read very slowly or have trouble remembering what they read. Another possible sign of dyslexia is difficulty planning and organizing time.

Researchers say dyslexia continues through life and there is no cure. They say the most important part of treatment is to find the condition at an early age.

Specially trained educators can help teach people with dyslexia different ways to learn. Schools can give students more time to complete tasks and provide help taking notes. Researchers say listening to recorded books and writing with a computer can also help.

There are organizations around the world that work to improve the study and treatment of dyslexia. One group is the International Dyslexia Association. You can learn more information on its Web site. The address Again, the Web site is

We continue our series on learning disabilities next week. You can find our reports on the Internet at This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. This is Steve Ember.