I have an 18-year-old daughter who started college this year. She called me a few days ago worried because she mixing up letters and writing words incorrectly, asking if she should go to a specialist; since when she learned to read she often confused the «d» and the «b» when reading or writing.

My question is, can dyslexia appear and disappear in evolutionary periods?

Could we have missed a Dyslexia diagnose?

How will it affect her learning?


Dyslexia is a learning disorder of neurological origin, and people who suffer from it have it throughout their whole lives. The severity of dyslexia can vary from one person to another, or even in the same person, so the same person may have learned techniques to compensate for their dyslexia during their education, either with the help of a speech therapist, teacher or by themselves, but have periods when their difficulties with reading and writing are more present.

Dyslexia is not related to a lack of intellectual capacity and is not a barrier to success, so many people are able to prepare and study for the profession they want, and develope in life like anyone else. For this reason, there are times when a diagnosis could go unnoticed, if these difficulties do not affect, above all, at the academic level.

Some ways dyslexia can affect college-level learning, and some tips for dealing with them include:
  • Mistakes when taking notes during lectures. It may happen that, even if the person with dyslexia does not have vision or hearing difficulties, when taking notes and copying words that have been seen or heard, mistakes are made when writing them down, and this can derive in having the studying notes wrong. Due to the difficulties of decoding the written language of people with dyslexia, these errors go from writing a word incorrectly, to changing one word for another (often, if they are similar, such as "conversation" for "conviction", for example) or even delete some words or entire lines, if you are copying.
    • TIP: Record the audio of the lessons, and take photographs of the slides that are put in class, to later review the written notes. The recording can also be used to review in aural way, instead of in writing, and thus avoid the difficulty that could be when reading the notes.
  • Difficulty memorizing texts. People with dyslexia often have a greater difficulty memorizing unusual words in casual vocabulary or texts.
    • TIP: Similar to the previous solution, it is advisable to record yourself with the texts to be memorized. In the written notes, use different colored highlighters, highlighting the most important words in each text, and make outlines. For new words to acquire, you can have a booklet with word definitions, and you can play games with tricky spelled words until you have learned them, like the pyramid game. For example, if you always forget how to spell the word "vaccinate”, you can practice writing it like this:
  • Errors in the exams when reading the questions or writing the answers
    • TIP: Read the questions several times, and if there are several things to answer within the same question, make a small diagram of how that question will be answered, and then develop the answer one step at a time. For writing errors, it is advisable to always review what has been written.

At the university, as in previous educational stages, there are curricular adaptations for students with dyslexia, such as allowing the use of support material (computers with specific software for dyslexia, tape recorders, etc.), verbalizing aloud what is being showed in a presentation or written on the board, giving more time to do reading and/or written assignments that are done individually in the classroom or in a non-present way. Even so, to enjoy these adaptations, a diagnosis of dyslexia is necessary, and that the literacy skills are within the parameters established by the university. So, in your daughter’s case, she would need a complete academic evaluation, done by a psychologist and a speech therapist, in order to have a diagnose.

If you want to learn more about children with literacy difficulties, go to my article “How to help my child with dyslexia
Alba Sánchez Blake
Departamento de Logopedia
Alba Sánchez Blake
Niños, adolescentes y adultos
Idiomas de trabajo: Español e inglés
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