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Dyslexia or Visual Dyslexia?

What’s the difference between visual dyslexia and dyslexia?  They both have some commonalities: Dyslexia and visual dyslexia are both information processing problems but have different causes. Different causes that require different interventions. Visual dyslexia is not an auditory or phonemic processing problem.

Visual Dyslexia

A visually dyslexic child does not have speech problems associated with dyslexia of mixing up words, rhyming or following directions. Their problems only show up when introduced to text, so the child may be a few years old before it is detected.

Moving words, missing, transposed or reversed letters and an assortment of other visual problems are what the visually dyslexic child has to battle. They will often complain about the words moving or they always look the same.

Their problems with reading are caused by trouble seeing what is written. With the use of specialised glasses, all the words on the page will be stable, uniform and in focus.  These glasses are the visual dyslexia solution to assist in reading issues. The sufferer will no longer have to slow down or stop to guess at words. This results in an immediate increase in reading speed, fluency, and accuracy and eliminates the stress and embarrassment involved. Spelling will also improve over time as having an accurate visual memory of words makes them easier to remember.


The most common research-based theory of dyslexia is that it is a brain structure problem that interferes with processing the auditory and phonemic information in a normal manner.

Problems with speech and comprehension of speech show up prior to exposure to reading. This can often be detected at a much earlier age than visual dyslexia. The child, who mixes up words, has trouble with rhyming and sometimes following directions may have dyslexia. The inaccurate processing of speech makes learning to read a battle which leads to poor fluency, accuracy, and comprehension. When asked, dyslexics report no problems seeing text.

So, what are the symptoms of visual dyslexia?

Much like this traffic sign, visual dyslexia symptoms are going to slow your reading speed. Visual dyslexia symptoms vary and are specific to the person. When visual dyslexia symptoms exist without other dyslexia problems, removing their visual problems allows normal reading.

Visual problems involving motion

  • Seeing words as if behind a waterfall or in snowing conditions.
  • Seeing letters as if they jitter (such as bouncing or moving back or forth).
  • Seeing words as if they seem to move below or above the page where only a few are in focus at any one time.
  • Seeing lines of text merge together
  • Text seems to flow like a river 

Visual stress causing a physical response

  • Headaches
  • Clenched teeth
  • Tightness in different locations
  • Sleepy feeling

Dyslexia occurs in children with normal vision and intelligence, often they are the child that is slow to start talking, learning new words slowly and a delay in learning to read. Most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or a specialised education program. Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured.

Many people with dyslexia have overcome their problem to have amazing lives, like:

Tom Cruise grew up and succeeded despite poverty, frequent relocations, inadequate schooling, and dyslexia. Richard Branson, founder, and chairman of London-based Virgin Group, didn’t breeze through school. In fact, schooling was something of a nightmare for him. Bill Gates from Microsoft and Prince Harry also suffered from dyslexia.  Here’s a few more:

  • Henry Winkler, Actor
  • Steven Spielberg, Director
  • Mohammed Ali, World Heavyweight Campion Boxer
  • Anne Bancroft, Actress
  • Duncan Goodhew, Arctic Explorer
  • Magic Johnson, Basketball Hall of Famer
  • Bob May, Golfer

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