The word dyslexia comes from the Greek words dys, meaning difficulty, and lexia, meaning language. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. Dyslexia is not a result of lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities, or other limiting conditions, but may be made worse by these conditions. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 15 percent of the American population is affected by dyslexia. Other researchers estimate that one out of five, or 20 percent, of the American population has dyslexia. 

Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result in problems with reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. (Definition from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development; adopted by the International Dyslexia Association). 

Although dyslexia is the result of a neurological difference, it is not an intellectual disability. Dyslexia is diagnosed in people of all levels of intelligence, average, above average, and highly gifted. In her book, Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level, Yale University's Dr. Sally Shaywitz describes what she calls the paradox of dyslexia:

…seemingly diverse symptoms-trouble reading, absolute terror of reading aloud, problems spelling, difficulties finding the right word, mispronouncing words, rote memory nightmares-represent the expression of a single, isolated weakness. At the same time you will learn that other intellectual abilities-thinking, reasoning, understanding-are untouched by dyslexia. This contrasting pattern produces the paradox of dyslexia: profound and persistent difficulties experienced by some very bright people in learning to read.
(From Overcoming Dyslexiaby Sally Shaywitz, M.D.) 

The following two videos, created by Sun Prairie Cable Access, were filmed to increase dyslexia awareness. You will need Quicktime installed on your computer to view the video files. Download it for free here: www.apple.com/quicktime/download.

Living and Learning with Dyslexia: Hope and Possibilities
(Time 36:59)
Dr. Julie Goceyleads a panel discussion on dyslexia with Cheryl Ward (Wisconsin Branch of the International Dyslexia Association), Layla Coleman (Wisconsin Literacy, Inc.), Pam Heyde (Dyslexia Reading Therapist), and Margery Katz (Dyslexia Reading Therapist). The program covers a variety of topics including science-based, multi-sensory instruction for kids and adults; obstacles for identifying individuals with dyslexia; and lack of training of teachers. A college student with dyslexia shares strategies for academic success.

Straight Talk About Kids and Dyslexia
(Time: 29: 36)
Interviews with Pediatrician/ Clinical Assistant Professor (UW School of Medicine and Public Health) Julie Gocey and UW-Madison Professor of Psychology Mark Seidenbergon the basics of dyslexia. This program answers questions about which parents are most concerned. What is dyslexia? What are the causes? How is it treated? What works? How can I find effective instruction for my son/daughter? It's straight talk on a problem which affects 10 to 17.5% of children.