What Are the 4 Types of Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder which causes the individual to have challenges reading and comprehending what they read. Marked by difficulties pertaining to spelling, writing, and comprehension, dyslexia does not mean the individual has low intelligence. On the contrary, a person with dyslexia may have a higher intelligence compared to their peers.

According to a recent 2021 study, published by the National Library of Medicine, “common estimates of the prevalence of dyslexia fall in the range of 3 to 7 percent.” Symptoms of dyslexia can vary depending on age, with younger children experiencing delayed speech, trouble learning new words, and difficulties with rhyming games. As younger children become older and start school, they have difficulties forming sentences, difficulty reading out loud, and trouble spelling or writing. When left untreated, dyslexia can impact an individual’s ability to reach their fullest potential at school or work.

Other symptoms of dyslexia may include:

  • Confusing letters for each other
  • Reading below the expected level for age
  • Grammar issues
  • Poor sentence structure
  • Lack of phonemic awareness
  • Avoidance of reading aloud
  • Difficulty copying words from a secondary source 

In addition to cognitive challenges, there may be subtle behavioral signs for children with dyslexia, including:

  • Withdrawal from peers
  • Depression
  • Misbehavior or acting out
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Peer and sibling relationship difficulties
  • Loss of interest in school
  • Appearing lazy or disengaged

types of dyslexia

What are the types of dyslexia?

Experts have developed categories to better understand several common types of dyslexia to increase the effectiveness of treatment. Understanding the specific type of dyslexia an individual has better helps parents and educators develop strategies and solutions to provide the best support for managing the symptoms of dyslexia.

Phonological Dyslexia

Marked by matching sounds to symbols and breaking down the sounds of language, phonological dyslexia is the most common type of dyslexia. Additionally, individuals with phonological dyslexia struggle to decode or sound out words. 

Symptoms of phonological dyslexia may include:

  • Difficulty learning sounds made by letters
  • Difficulty understanding letter combinations
  • Challenges sounding out new or unfamiliar words
  • Challenges spelling
  • Delayed or slow reading
  • Avoiding reading activities
  • Difficulty recognizing familiar words in new contexts

Rapid Naming Dyslexia

For people living with rapid naming dyslexia, it is difficult to recognize letters and numbers. It may take their brain longer to process the information, which may lead to slower reading times. This type of dyslexia may be linked to both reading speed and the processing speed for reading. While individuals with rapid naming dyslexia can say the names of the colors, numbers, and letters, it typically takes them much longer to come up with the correct word. 

Symptoms of rapid naming dyslexia may include:

  • Trouble retrieving words
  • Frequently substituting words or leaving words out altogether
  • Slower ability to respond orally
  • Slower ability to finish reading or writing assignments
  • Replacing real words with nonsense words
  • Using gestures in place of words

Double Deficit Dyslexia

It is very common for someone to have more than one type of dyslexia. A person with double deficit dyslexia struggles with two aspects of reading. These two aspects often include naming speed and identifying the sounds in words, (i.e., phonological dyslexia and rapid naming deficit dyslexia). When a person has both, it’s often referred to as double deficit dyslexia, and is regarded as the most severe type of dyslexia. 

Symptoms of double deficit dyslexia include:

  • Poor naming speed rate when asked to recall words
  • Weak phonological awareness

Surface Dyslexia

Also called visual dyslexia, surface dyslexia is marked by trouble recognizing whole words. While they may be able to sound out new words with ease, they fail to recognize familiar words by sight. This form of dyslexia is commonly linked to vision issues or visual processing challenges in the brain. This type of dyslexia also impacts words that need to be memorized because they don’t sound how they are spelled, making it more challenging to sound them out. 

Symptoms of surface dyslexia can include:

  • Difficulty with whole word recognition
  • Delayed or slower reading ability
  • Avoiding reading activities
  • Difficulty with spelling
  • Trouble reading words that don’t sound the way they’re spelled
  • Difficulty reading new words by sight

Dyslexia Symptoms

Diagnosing and treating dyslexia

If you or your child is dyslexic, or suspect dyslexia, you are not alone. The professionals at The Brain Workshop are here to help you receive and understand your diagnosis, and to provide cognitive skills training to help manage and overcome the symptoms of dyslexia. Our brain training programs are designed to attack the root causes of dyslexia by strengthening weak cognitive skills, in particular phonemic awareness, and auditory processing. 

Additionally, we provide professional cognitive skills evaluation using the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities, Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement, and/or the Gray Oral Reading Test to pinpoint the exact cause of learning problems. The tests evaluate all cognitive skills including memory, processing speed, visual and auditory processing, logic and reasoning, and attention.

Contact a member of our team to schedule your free cognitive assessment.

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