NOV 20, 2015 6:37 AM PST

Dyslexia a Neurological Condition, Not a Learning Disability

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Dyslexia affects over 40 million Americans, and the diagnosis is often associated with stigmas surrounding learning and intelligence. But would it surprise you to learn that 35% of successful entrepreneurs identify themselves as dyslexic? This list includes founder of the hugely popular IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, who reportedly devised the infamous naming system for his products because he had trouble remembering the numerical codes.

Though dyslexia is diagnosed as a learning disability, some argue it would be more accurate to classify it as a neurological condition. More and more evidence suggests that dyslexia is caused, in part, by genetic contributions that affect auditory and visual processing. For example, researchers found that deletion of DCDC2 gene impair detection of visual movements, while mutations in the ROBO1 gene causes the auditory link between the two brain hemispheres to weaken. It's conceivable that impairment in these systems could impair a person processing of how words appear or how sounds are associated with each word.

Dyslexia challenges conventional teaching and learning methods. Understanding the causes of dyslexia can help debunk the stigmas surrounding its diagnosis.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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