Dyslexia in Adults: Common Features and Symptoms

Specific learning disabilities make it difficult for affected children to cope with school tasks; where they must learn to read, write and calculate to meet the first challenges posed by the education system.

These childhood issues can have profound emotional consequences if they are not detected in time or publicized by a multidisciplinary team, extending into adulthood (but transforming as demands change).

In this article we will discuss how dyslexia is expressed in adults, One of the most common diagnoses in this category, and how it conditions work or other relevant areas of your life (family, friendship, etc.).

    Dyslexia in adults

    Dyslexia is a disorder that usually begins in childhood (progressive subtype), although it sometimes begins later in life (acquired subtype) as a result of a severe head injury or accident cerebrovascular. Clinically, it results in limited difficulty in reading and / or writing (omitting, adding or substituting letters), although sometimes there are also problems with mathematical calculation (dyscalculia).

    Three specific types of dyslexia have been identified: Phonological (difficulty reading long, new, infrequent or pseudo-words), superficial (good reading of pseudo-words but with a tendency to make mistakes by omission / substitution of letters and confusion of homophone words) and deep (assignment phonological and visual paths, with errors in function words, semantic errors and problems reading pseudo-words).

    Below, we’ll look at the main symptoms that can occur in adults with dyslexia, many of which are usually an extension of those experienced in childhood (in progressive dyslexia). It is essential to keep in mind that in many cases the diagnosis was not received in childhood.

    1. Work difficulties

    One of the common problems in adults with dyslexia is the difficulty of adapting to jobs that require a significant administrative burden. The preference for positions geared towards manual / automated activities is self-explanatory, as opposed to those that require more attention to multiple requests or writing texts that change the bureaucratic demands of the business.

    It is for this reason that they are often afraid of climbs in which responsibility can swing from side to side, as enormous distrust of one’s own abilities has usually been established when these involve reading or composing texts. This situation can lead to the loss of internal promotion opportunities, with which they would improve their quality of life and receive rewarded efforts in their career.

    2. Self-esteem issues

    Dyslexic adults are usually present significant erosion of self-esteem associated with poor performance in various tasksThis is accentuated in cases where a diagnosis was not received during childhood. This is because, when the problem was caught in time, the errors are often attributed to the learning disability itself and not to other causes that could compromise its own image (limited intelligence, laziness, etc. ).

    Some adults with dyslexia have had to endure teasing from their peers for having difficulty reading or writing correctly, and there are even cases where teachers have contributed to the decline in children’s perceptions of themselves and their feelings. their abilities (due to ignorance of the disorders that may affect the ability to learn). These shameful and primitive experiences of the time of life in which they took place, they can lead adults to question their intelligence and grow up insecure that they negatively shape their self-esteem.

    The situation paves the way for mood disorders and anxiety, as has been consistently found in scientific studies on this extreme. These comorbidities, as we have seen, are more common in adults with dyslexia who were never diagnosed during childhood.

      3. Difficulty reading

      Dyslexic adults have difficulty reading, as they often report that the letters seem to ‘move or even vibrate’, compromising the comprehension of longer or shorter texts that the person would ‘skip’ a line or even repeat the one who has just read) . All this is accentuated when the typography or color of letters and words is alternated. In fact, they generally have a clear preference for sans-serif type spellings (which employ the most basic strokes, without any frills or embellishments).

      The pace of reading is also altered, both “loudly” and mentally.They therefore require more time than the average person to study a document. Awkwardness can appear during pronunciation, so that the syllables that make up each word are overestimated (impairing fluency) and punctuation is ignored or exaggerated. It is an erratic and forced reading, which requires the investment of so many resources that it limits the ability to remember what has been read.

      It is very common for the person to have to reread passages or paragraphs that they have already considered; especially when they contain technicalities, neologisms, strangers, polysyllabic or infrequent words. All of this implies that it is particularly difficult to extract the central idea from a more or less broad text, as well as to separate what is relevant from what is not. Writing an abstract is often an unattainable challenge for people with severe cases of dyslexia.

      A final difficulty generally detected in reading concerns knowledge problems how the sound of certain letters is articulated according to grammatical rules. For example, the letter “c” can be pronounced soft (intrigue) or strong (rock), depending on the vowel it accompanies (“i” or “i” in the first case and “a”, “or” or ” or “in the second). It may be difficult to automatically choose the most suitable sound during playback.

      4. Lack of reading habit

      Most adults with dyslexia report noticeable reading difficulties, as it is the nuclear symptom of the disorder. Many indicate that the problem dates back to the first years of life, Although no diagnosis or evaluation has been performed. This is why they have never been able to consolidate a reading habit, preferring activities that can occur spontaneously and without as much conscious effort. In other words, recreational activities that do not represent a struggle against one’s own adversity.

      Very rarely, literature is a hobby of the dyslexic adult, who prefers short texts to long novels or with a twisted plot. Thereby it has nothing to do with the ability to understand information, But is associated with the format by which it is saved and accesses the nervous system for further processing. Receiving the same data via the auditory channels, or in the form of images, is memorized more precisely and for longer.

      5. Written communication problems

      People with dyslexia find it difficult to write, usually slowly and using calligraphy that makes no aesthetic sense. There is often confusion in the stroke of the letters, the shape is very similar or bears a specular relation (like the “d” and the “b” or the “q” and the “p”), which can also occur. in their reading (especially when they are shown in isolation and not as part of words). This slowness of writing makes writing texts perceived as a laborious or even impossible task.

      Dyslexic adults they may have difficulty copying a dictation, i.e. listening and writing simultaneously. This phenomenon is due to the fact that language processing requires such a volume of cognitive resources that shared attention cannot be managed when several stimuli of a verbal nature compete with each other (writing, listening and / or reading at the same time). and correctly). This phenomenon is evident in childhood, in dictation tasks that take place in the academic context.

      Finally, spelling is also often affected (especially deaf or similar letters when spoken). The omission of words in sentences, or even letters in words, can often be detected in their written products, making them difficult to read and understand. It is common that, in the event that they need to write in the workplace, these errors motivate complaints from colleagues.

      6. Difficulty of left / right discrimination

      Many people with dyslexia, being adults, find it difficult to quickly identify (without thinking too much) which side of their body is left and which is right, or on which of these two sides is an object in relation to one. central point .

      Symptom does not occur in all cases or with the same severityIt is also not exclusive to people with dyslexia. It is only in a very exceptional way that the sense of “up” and “down” can be compromised, which occurs in cases where spatial vision is profoundly altered (orientation, understanding of maps, etc.).

      There are also studies that have shown that people with dyslexia tend to process verbal stimuli in the left half of their field of perception more slowly than readers without the disorder (around 15 milliseconds). All of this suggests hypofunction of the parietal lobe of the right hemisphere, since we must remember that the detection of stimuli in any hemicampus is treated contralaterally.

      7. Oral communication problems

      Most adults with dyslexia communicate verbally without difficulty, but there is a percentage of them who also have problems in this area. The most common are the delay in answering questions put to them (As if they thought too long about what they would say) and reluctance to speak in public.

      This last obstacle is usually the result of emotional conflict caused by taunting classmates when reading aloud.

      Poetry recitation is especially difficult for adults with dyslexia, especially when it requires improvisation, As they have trouble finding assonant or consonant rhymes. This is accentuated by the fact that the last syllables of words are the most difficult to pronounce correctly, but also the most relevant for giving metric meaning to a poem.

      The beauty of a verbal stimulus (which is the object of poetry) is relegated to a second order of importance as opposed to aspects of a formal type.

        8. Sequence planning issues

        Dyslexic adults find it difficult to organize information sequentially, that is, to catch fragments of verbal speech in a serial fashion. Instead, they usually do non-linear ratings that cover the entire message, which helps their presentation. unconventional mental treatment strategies, Which have often been described in the literature as a potential strong point of dyslexia (creativity, divergent thinking or “out of the box” reasoning).

        However, such difficulty in sequencing can have negative consequences on daily life, namely: forgetting appointments (which is usually part of what has been called prospective memory, but it is really a function executive), problems understanding multiple instructions at once (divided attention) and disorganization (as it is difficult to prioritize and prioritize tasks).

        9. Attention problems

        Attention problems are common in adults with dyslexia, and they are often referred to as an inability to maintain prolonged concentration or a significant distraction.

        It should also be noted that irrelevant stimuli attract too much attention, making it difficult to devote sustained effort to a message if it competes with many verbal stimuli at once (such as in a cafeteria where many voices are heard).

        10. Predominance of visual skills

        People with dyslexia may find over time that they process verbal information better when they are able to structure it through diagrams or other resources that give it visual nuance, and also evoke images with more color. precision as words. This allows them to remember others more easily by their faces than by their names., And that it costs them to learn new concepts.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Protopapas, A. and Parrila, L. (2018). Is dyslexia a brain disorder? Brain Science, 8 (4): 61.
        • Hebert, M., Kearns, DM, Baker, J., Bazis, P. and Cooper, S. (2018). Why do children with dyslexia have difficulty writing and how can you help them? Language, speech and hearing services in schools, 49 (4), 843-863.

        Leave a Comment