Understanding the Different Types of Dyslexia: A Guide for Parents

Have you ever wondered if your child might have dyslexia? Perhaps a teacher suggested testing, or maybe you already have a diagnosis. But then you likely still have questions—what exactly does “dyslexia” mean? When you go online and search, you probably end up even more confused.

There’s no need to worry – that happens to every parent in your shoes! The reason is that there are actually several different types of dyslexia. And to make matters more complicated, there is debate online over what constitutes “true” dyslexia.

But here’s what really matters: as a parent, you just want real answers. You want to understand the problem so you can help your child succeed. Am I right?

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll provide simple, clear answers to help cut through the confusion:

  • What are the different types of dyslexia?
  • How to recognize signs of each type
  • What you can do to help

By the end, parents will have the information they need – no more tangled web searches or deciphering academic papers. Just practical guidance in plain language.

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Now let’s dive in!

The Most Common Types of Dyslexia Explained

When most people hear “dyslexia,” they think of seeing letters backwards, like confusing “b” and “d.” But in reality dyslexia encompasses a range of reading disabilities with various causes.

There are three major categories:

Phonological Dyslexia Also called auditory dyslexia or dysphonetic dyslexia, phonological dyslexia causes difficulties processing letter sounds. A child might struggle to:

  • Identify sounds
  • Distinguish between similar sounds
  • Blend sounds together
  • Recall sounds and words

This processing difficulty affects reading comprehension. It can also impact interpreting spoken words.

If a child had chronic ear infections early on, this might be the culprit. Other tell-tale signs are regularly confusing similar words – like “specific” and “Pacific.”

While every child mispronounces words sometimes, consistent sound confusion indicates auditory dyslexia. Targeted exercises can retrain the brain’s auditory system.

Visual Dyslexia

Also termed surface dyslexia or orthographic dyslexia, visual dyslexia affects visual processing and memory. Children have trouble picturing words and letters in their mind.

Ironically, these kids often excel at phonics. They can sound out words but then struggle with irregular sight words like “the” or “what.”

Symptoms involve reversing letters like p/q/b/d or transposing letter order. They may omit or insert extra letters when reading. Writing letters and numbers is also difficult.

Research suggests a genetic component to visual dyslexia. Exercises focusing on visual memory, discrimination, and sequencing are most effective.

Attentional Dyslexia

This type also stems from visual difficulties. But specifically an inability to track letter order left-to-right. Letters seem to migrate between words, usually the first letter.

For example, a child would read “wind king” as “kind wing.” They have trouble following the proper sequence.

Retraining visual tracking skills is the first line of defense for attentional dyslexia.

Additional Dyslexia Variants

Several other forms exist as well:

Neglect Dyslexia – Causes letter reversals, right-to-left reading, and perceiving letters out of order. Likely tied to issues distributing visual attention.

Rapid Naming Deficit Dyslexia – Difficulty quickly retrieving names of objects, numbers, letters etc. Slows reading speed and hurts comprehension. Often accompanies phonological dyslexia.

Double Deficit Dyslexia – Having two or more dyslexia types concurrently. Very common.

In many cases, multiple issues are at play like weaknesses in auditory processing and visual memory. That’s why an integrated training program covering all aspects of cognition is so vital.

Spotting Symptoms: Signs Your Child May Have Dyslexia

As a parent, you are best positioned to detect early symptoms of reading disability. While severity varies, typical signs of dyslexia include:

  • Difficulty learning letters, matching letters to sounds
  • Struggling to form letters by handwriting
  • Confusing small sight words (the, and, that etc.)
  • Letter or number reversals
  • Omitting words when reading aloud
  • Avoiding reading out loud
  • Very slow, choppy reading
  • Trouble linking words to meanings
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Difficulty summarizing passages

If you’ve noticed multiple warning signs, dyslexia testing is warranted. But what if you already have a diagnosis? How can you pinpoint the specific type to optimize help?

Carefully observe your child’s reading patterns. Compare to the dyslexia profiles above:

  • Consistent letter reversals → Visual Dyslexia
  • Omitting small sight words → Visual Dyslexia
  • Letter sound confusion → Phonological Dyslexia
  • Slow rapid naming speed → Rapid Naming Deficit Dyslexia
  • Losing their spot frequently → Visual Tracking Issues

Track types of errors and when they happen most. This helps narrow where the cognitive disconnect is happening.

Getting Help: Overcoming Dyslexia with Targeted Training

So you’ve identified possible symptoms of dyslexia, or obtained a diagnosis. Now what?

Key next steps depend on your child’s dyslexia type:

Phonological Dyslexia – Focus training on auditory processing skills like:

  • Auditory discrimination
  • Auditory memory
  • Sound blending

Weave in vocabulary building. Check for early ear complications.

Visual Dyslexia – Prioritize visual memory, visual discrimination, visual sequencing through multisensory training. Handwriting practice helps cement letter forms.

Attentional Dyslexia – Retrain visual tracking skills first. Follow up with visualization tactics like picturing words. Check for binocular vision issues.

Regardless the type, reading lab programs at school help immensely. Dyslexia tutors can also customize intervention.

While one-on-one training is optimal, some families opt for specialized apps for convenience and affordability. When choosing technology, ensure the program sharpens cognition comprehensively with lots of repetition.

Closing Thoughts & Next Steps

By now parents should understand common dyslexia categories, how to spot symptoms, and training options to overcome reading disability. With this knowledge, you are equipped to decode tricky diagnoses and take action tailored to your child’s needs.

Here are final takeaways:

  • Dyslexia has multiple forms depending on type and severity of cognitive function variation
  • Carefully note error patterns and reading setbacks to pinpoint your child’s profile
  • Targeted exercises treating root causes, plus assistive classroom tools, facilitate lifelong gains

As next steps, dig deeper via the extra resources below! Please like and share to spread awareness for families seeking to crack the dyslexia code.