Definition of Dyslexia

As the condition is not fully understood it’s important to keep any definition of dyslexia simple and to the point.

Watch this video as an alternative to reading the page.

Dyslexia. Smythe I. School of Education, University of Wales, Newport.

I’m going to show you a couple of definitions for you to compare. I’ve also bullet pointed some useful ideas for you to bear in mind. These will help you to look at your dyslexia in a positive and constructive way.

Click the link to find out the most important thing to remember about dyslexia. Dyslexia. Smythe I. School of Education, University of Wales, Newport.

What does dyslexia mean?

Dyslexia is a Greek word that literally means difficulty with words.

The classically flawed definition:

"Dyslexia occurs when people of high or moderate I.Q. are unable to develop literacy skills that reflect their intelligence".

This definition is flawed because relating dyslexia to IQ level is problematic. You don’t need a high or even average IQ to learn to read. Actually, some people with low IQ’s can read very well (see evidence).

The problem with IQ tests:

Another problem is there is still a lot of contention over whether IQ tests actually measure intelligence. The main argument is that we don’t fully understand what makes a person intelligent. To attempt to measure what is not fully understood would seem to be a bit dumb.

definition of dyslexia

The Scientific Definition:

Scientifically dyslexia is considered: a literacy specific problem regardless of:

  • Level of IQ
  • Social background
  • Quality of education

Basically dyslexia is when a person has literacy development problems with no clear reason why, WELL OBVIOUSLY (see evidence).

Yeah but what causes it:

The scientific definition of dyslexia keeps it nice and simple. If, however you want to get into the much more complicated argument of what causes dyslexia then I have a whole section for you to get stuck into. Click here for causes of dyslexia.

Main facts to always remember:

Here is a rundown of what we can really say is fact.

  • Dyslexia is a literacy specific problem.
  • Dyslexia can affect anyone regardless of high or low IQ.
  • It is unknown if IQ testing is a true measure of intelligence.
  • There is no limit to what anyone can learn and the knowledge they can accumulate in a lifetime.
  • Knowing an IQ score is of no real value.
  • Holding a strong mental belief that you are an intelligent person has great practical applications.
    1. For confidence to continually learn and develop.
    2. For The motivation to never give up learning and building knowledge.


To sum it up then, a very straight forward definition of dyslexia is when a person has difficulty learning to read and write. I’m sorry if this seems like an overly simplistic way to put it, but it pays to keep it simple. However do you really need a great lengthy definition of dyslexia? All you need to know is how dyslexia affects you negatively and how you can beat it.

75% of kids with apraxia also have dyslexia, learn more: Apraxia Explained.

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Evidence for Dyslexia Definition:

Dyslexia. Smythe I. School of Education, University of Wales, Newport.

IQ Is Irrelevant to the Definition of Learning Disabilities.

An Evaluation of the Discrepancy Definition of Dys .

Paradoxes in the definition of dys .

Toward a More Inclusive Definition of Dys.