Adults with Dyslexia – What You Need to Know

adult dyslexia

Often when dyslexia is discussed, the focus is on children with this learning disability. However, it does affect adults as well.

So, how does it affect different people? What does dyslexia look like in an adult? What support can you receive? Let’s discuss all these questions and more in this guide to living as an adult with dyslexia.

What is Dyslexia?

First things first, what is dyslexia?

It’s not classified as an intellectual disability or a developmental disability, however, it is a learning disability.

Dyslexia has many challenges that will affect certain aspects of someone’s learning – it doesn’t affect learning. Meaning that those with dyslexia have a range of intelligence levels, just like those who don’t have it.

Some adults and children with dyslexia do also deal with ADHD and/or dyspraxia as well.

Dyslexia is a learning disability that causes difficulty reading because of problems identifying speech sounds and decoding (learning how sounds relate to letters and words). The disorder affects the areas of your brain that process language. It is also referred to as reading disability.

What Does Dyslexia Look Like in an Adult?

Does dyslexia affect adults differently than it does children?

While, yes, having a difficult time reading is the most common trait of the learning disability, it’s not as prevalent in adults as it is with children.

Often, adults with dyslexia have worked throughout their lives to read well, and usually have strategies to deal with those difficulties. However, these adults will typically have other characteristics, which we will cover more in-depth in the next section of the guide.

Common Traits in Adults with Dyslexia

There are quite a few different traits that adults with dyslexia can have. Of course, no two people are the same, and these will vary quite a bit from person to person. Here are some of the more common features:

  • May have struggled a lot in school as a child and college student
  • Highly intuitive
  • Might be able to sense the emotions of others
  • Easily distracted and/or annoyed by noises
  • May enjoy video games
  • Misspeaks, mispronounces or misuses words without realizing they are doing so
  • May be more prone to zoning out and daydreaming
  • Could have difficulty remembering people’s names, but may remember faces
  • Difficulty remembering directions/instructions
  • May not remember conversations or past events
  • Might have trouble reading unfamiliar fonts
  • May believer they read better to themselves, rather than out loud
  • Needs to re-read sentences to fully comprehend them
  • Poor handwriting

Again, not every adult with dyslexia is going to have all of these characteristics, however, some of them will most likely be present.

Finding Support as an Adult with Dyslexia

So as an adult with dyslexia, how can you find support? There are actually many different options depending on what your daily life looks life and what you are looking for.

Adult Education Programs

If you had previously left school early, you may be interested in finishing your high school education or college degree. There are many adult basic skill programs available that offer night and weekend classes. These programs allow you to strengthen your math, reading, and writing skills.

You may also be able to find classes for specific subjects that help you develop practical skills for your day to day life or your job.

Support Groups

For those of you who would like to connect with other adults with dyslexia, finding new friends may be easier with a support group! Having like-minded people around you to encourage and motivate you is a great. It is a way to boost your confidence and find new coping strategies and resources.

More Resources for Adults with Dyslexia

As an adult with dyslexia as a disability, it may be overwhelming to find the best resources for you. However, starting small with local groups and/or online communities is a fantastic first step.

Also, consider learning more about independent living and the Centers for Independent Living (CILs).

CILs can provide you with disability services and advocacy to promote your productivity, leadership, and independence. They will work with you as an individual. Additionally, they work with your local community to remove potential independence barriers and promoting equality.

Their core services include:

  • Peer counseling
  • Advocacy
  • Information
  • Skills training
  • Referral

Centers for Independent Living exist through the efforts of locals with disabilities, their family, friends, and anyone else who is interested. As the group becomes organized, they can begin to assess the communities’ local needs. How much interest there is in the group, and how much support they have is also assessed. The success of a CIL often depends on personal involvement, networking, commitment, etc.

Interested in learning more about CILs and other local and online resources for adults with dyslexia? Check out our resources here on At Home Your Way!

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