Scientific Types of Dyslexia

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The types of dyslexia below are based on modern scientific research. However it is not easy to subdivide dyslexia, so please do not pigeon hole yourself into one category. Each theory divides up dyslexia differently, and offers different methods of intervention.

The Balance Theory suggests there are three dyslexia subtypes:

  1. Perceptual or P-type: These dyslexic people read quite slowly, sound by sound. This group seems to be stuck in the early stages of reading, unable to develop speed and fluency.

  2. Linguistic or L-type: These dyslexic people try to read quickly but make many mistakes. They attempt to use linguistic strategies they are not ready for to help them read faster. (see evidence)

  3. Mixed or M-type: Dyslexic people who read slowly while making lots of mistakes. Click here for the causes of dyslexia.

The Phonological Theory argues there are two types of dyslexia:

  1. Phonological dyslexia: This type affects roughly 75% of the dyslexic population. It is claimed phonological dyslexics have difficulties dividing and blending the smallest units of speech sound (phonemes). There is a good deal of research to support this theory. Click here for dyslexia interventions.

  2. Surface dyslexia: This is not a phonological problem it’s a difficulty applying the syntax (the rules) of language. If you have this type of dyslexia you may read ‘castle’ as 'cast-le'.
    (see evidence)

Visual and Auditory dyslexia:

Auditory and visual deficits are also perfectly reasonable categories for dyslexia. For example someone may have no problem spelling but have a terrible tracking problem when reading, and vice-versa. Another person may enjoy reading with no visual problems, but be a terrible speller.

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Don’t worry, though, about what type of dyslexia you have. At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter. What matters is you know your strengths and weaknesses. Simply build on your strengths and wear down the weaknesses.

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Evidence for Dyslexia Subtypes:

The Balance Model of Dyslexia and Remedial Training An Evaluative Study.

Surface and phonological subtypes of adult developmental dyslexia.

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