Can You Develop Dyslexia in Adulthood?

2019-08-20 | By Orcam Staff

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Dyslexia in Adults: An Advantage, Not a Limitation - OrCam

How to Help Dyslexia in Adults

While dyslexia may persist into adulthood, it is essential to recognize that it can also be an advantage rather than a limitation. Adults with dyslexia can develop coping strategies to navigate their challenges effectively. One of the most crucial factors in assisting adults with dyslexia is understanding their unique strengths and weaknesses. By focusing on their strengths, such as creativity, problem-solving, and out-of-the-box thinking, individuals with dyslexia can thrive in various professions and industries. Providing access to assistive technologies, such as text-to-speech software, speech recognition tools, and dyslexia-friendly fonts, can significantly aid in overcoming reading and writing obstacles. Encouraging a supportive and inclusive environment that fosters open communication can help adults with dyslexia feel empowered and valued. Recognizing dyslexia as a distinctive cognitive trait rather than a hindrance will not only enable them to overcome challenges but also embrace their exceptional skills, ultimately contributing to a more diverse and innovative society."

 

When we think about people with dyslexia, we usually think about people who have difficulty with reading or writing. As kids, they are usually taught and even tested in a different way than kids without reading and writing difficulties. These kids grow up to be adults with the same reading and writing difficulties. This is why dyslexia in adults is just as common as it is in kids, considering the fact that the symptoms do not go away over time. On the other hand, adults may be better equipped to live with dyslexia than kids are. In the next section we'll discuss whether you can get dyslexia later in life.

Can you develop dyslexia in adulthood?

Yes, it is possible for an adult to develop dyslexia. Dyslexia is a neurological disorder that affects a person's ability to read, write, and spell. While it is most commonly identified in childhood, it is possible for dyslexia to go undiagnosed until adulthood or for it to develop in adulthood.

 

Dyslexia is believed to be caused by differences in brain development, specifically in areas that are responsible for language processing. These differences can occur at any point in a person's life, which means that dyslexia can develop in adulthood.

 

There are several reasons why dyslexia may not be diagnosed until adulthood. One reason is that dyslexia can be masked by other strengths or abilities. For example, an adult with dyslexia may have strong verbal skills, which can make it difficult for them to be identified as having a reading and writing disorder.

 

Another reason why dyslexia may not be diagnosed until adulthood is that some people with dyslexia develop compensatory strategies to help them cope with their difficulties. For example, they may rely on memorization or context to understand what they are reading, rather than decoding words phonetically.

 

If you suspect that you may have dyslexia, it is important to seek a formal evaluation from a qualified professional, such as a neuropsychologist, educational psychologist, or speech-language pathologist. An evaluation can help determine if you have dyslexia and what strategies or accommodations may be helpful for you.

 

It is also important to note that dyslexia is a lifelong condition. While it cannot be cured, with appropriate support and accommodations, individuals with dyslexia can learn to read and write successfully. Strategies such as multisensory instruction, assistive technology, and extended time on exams can be helpful for individuals with dyslexia. Additionally, many successful individuals in a variety of fields, including business, science, and the arts, have dyslexia.

 

Dyslexia as an Adult: Dyslexia is a lifelong condition that affects an individual's ability to read, write, and spell. Although it is commonly diagnosed in childhood, dyslexia can persist into adulthood and affect various aspects of one's life. In adulthood, dyslexia may manifest in the following ways:

  • Difficulty reading and comprehending written material
  • Struggles with writing, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Difficulty remembering and processing verbal instructions
  • Difficulty with time management and organization
  • Struggles with job performance and career advancement
  • Difficulty with social interactions and forming relationships

It is essential to recognize and understand these challenges to seek appropriate support and accommodations.

Dyslexia in Adults: According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia affects approximately 20% of the population. This means that millions of adults worldwide struggle with dyslexia. While dyslexia is commonly diagnosed in childhood, many adults may have gone undiagnosed and have difficulty seeking the help they need.

Adults with dyslexia may face unique challenges in various settings, such as the workplace, school, and personal life. For example, they may have difficulty with job tasks that involve reading, writing, or multitasking. In school, they may struggle with assignments and exams that require reading comprehension or written responses. In their personal lives, they may have difficulty with tasks such as reading a recipe or filling out a form.

Understanding the prevalence and challenges of dyslexia in adults is crucial to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for individuals with dyslexia.

Can You Develop Dyslexia? 

Dyslexia is a neurobiological condition that individuals are born with. However, it is possible for dyslexia to go undiagnosed until adulthood. In some cases, individuals may develop coping mechanisms that mask their dyslexia symptoms, making it difficult to identify.

It is important to note that dyslexia is not caused by lack of intelligence or effort. Rather, it is a neurobiological difference that affects how the brain processes language. Dyslexia can be diagnosed at any age, and seeking a diagnosis can help individuals access appropriate support and accommodations.

Developing dyslexia as an adult: Undiagnosed dyslexia can have significant impacts on an individual's life. Without appropriate support and accommodations, individuals with dyslexia may struggle in various settings, such as the workplace, school, and personal life.

In adulthood, undiagnosed dyslexia may manifest as challenges with reading, writing, and language processing. Adults with undiagnosed dyslexia may have difficulty with job tasks that involve reading, writing, or multitasking. They may struggle with academic assignments and exams that require reading comprehension or written responses. In their personal lives, they may have difficulty with tasks such as reading a recipe or filling out a form.

It is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of dyslexia in adults and seek a diagnosis if necessary. With appropriate support and accommodations, individuals with dyslexia can succeed and thrive in all aspects of life.

Kids With Dyslexia

Two Books Beside Two Chalks. In the Backround, a blackboard with the letters ABC written on it in white.


One of the most impacting effects on children with dyslexia is the social effect. When kids are labeled as different and often separated into smaller classrooms, they generally feel different or less capable than the rest of the kids their age. Dyslexia in adults does not have the social implications it does with kids or teenagers. With kids, these labels are much more taken to heart than with adults. Usually, adult social choices are not based on who is in your class or what your reading or writing capabilities are. Most adults have a better understanding of people being different from each other and they do not let other people’s capabilities affect their judgment about them.

 

According to the International Dyslexia Association 3-5% of the school population is diagnosed with dyslexia. One of the most noticeable traits among kids with dyslexia is their ability to develop innovative and unique methods to deal with their dyslexia. Unfortunately,  most of society still views dyslexia as a “reading difficulty” instead of a “thinking capability.” Children with dyslexia often show strong signs of creativity, good memory, and outside-of-the-box thinking. They often see the big picture and are far more curious than the average student. While most students try to answer the question, students with dyslexia try to understand why it is being asked and what are the effects of one answer or another. This often shows a higher level of curiosity and brain development that is not as common in average students.

Placement in Classes and in Jobs

can you develop dyslexia in adulthood


Kids who grow up with dyslexia can potentially be more prepared for life and its challenges. The difficulties they face at a young age in school help them develop strong learning and mental capabilities. When adults who were average students face challenges like these, they are encountering them for the first time. People who have met these difficulties throughout their school years are better equipped for facing them again in life.

 

In school, there are usually only a few different classrooms in which kids are placed. The classes are based on learning abilities so that most of the students can learn at the same pace as their classmates. In most cases, there are low, average, and high levels of learning abilities. In the same way that kids are distributed among the classrooms, adults are placed in various jobs and professions. These days, dyslexia in adults does not define available career paths as it once had. The very idea of providing special attention to students with learning difficulties is a few decades old.

 

These days, kids and adults with dyslexia can be found at every education level, including Harvard graduates. They can also be found in every type of profession. Adults with dyslexia exist in every profession that requires a high level of intelligence and advanced learning capabilities. These professions include scientists, engineers, lawyers, doctors, and many more. One of the main reasons for this is the change that the education system has gone through in providing the relevant support and educational materials for students with dyslexia. Starting in their school year, dyslexic students were taught to believe in themselves enough to be able to achieve success in academia and in the job market.

The Strengths of Dyslexia in Adults

Clear Light Bulb Placed on Chalkboard


Every reading difficulty and learning disorder can, later on, prove to be a blessing in disguise. Kids with dyslexia need to learn how to think and to perform tasks differently, and with more difficulty. In many jobs these days, thinking differently is celebrated and even applauded. While most minds think in the same way and are taught to approach questions similarly, the ones to solve problems with original innovation and outside-the-box thinking are most likely to be dyslexic. Dyslexia in adults can often prove to be an advantage where it was once thought to be a limitation.

 

Furthermore, kids with dyslexia must develop the ability to believe in themselves much more than other students. Kids with average or high learning capability in classrooms are not labeled as ones who are less capable. The mental and motivational struggles a child with dyslexia must go through plant the seeds for a strong self-esteem regardless of others’ opinions about them. Developing a belief in themselves that is instrumental for getting through life’s challenges in the future.

 

Among the most innovative inventors in history, more than a few were dyslexic. The list includes Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and many others. Each of these three made scientific breakthroughs considered revolutionary and disruptive in their times. This only adds to the claim that minds gifted with a dyslexic way of thinking are more unique and innovative.


 Helpful Reading Tools

An image of a handheld device called OrCam Learn designed to help people with learning challenges to read printed text


It would probably not surprise you that the most helpful tools for people living with reading difficulties are technology devices. People with dyslexia can use reading devices to help compensate for their reading difficulties. The challenges of dyslexia in adults can be mitigated with the help of technology gadgets. The OrCam Learn can read any printed or digital text instantly. Text reading is the main challenge people with dyslexia have. Therefore, once they use a device that reads for them, their reading capabilities are enhanced. Using this device opens doors for dyslexic students and professionals all over the world. It helps narrow the gap of opportunity and equality for people with dyslexia. OrCam Learn is the most advanced device that is enabling people with dyslexia to achieve more in life through assistive technology.


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