Dyslexia Statistics

The following dyslexia statistics give us good clues about the number of dyslexic people in the US. These numbers, from our national data on reading and learning disabilities, are the best we currently have.

Dyslexia Statistics

Mark is extremely dyslexic. Fortunately for Mark, his learning disability coincides with (related to? caused by?) gifts in other areas. Mark is highly intelligent, articulate, creative and inventive. His mind sees connections most of us cannot imagine.

Dyslexia Statistics

  • Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties.
  • Of people with poor reading skills, 70-80% are likely dyslexic.
  • One in five students, or 15-20% of the population, has a language based learning disability. Dyslexia is probably the most common of the language based learning disabilities.
  • Nearly the same percentage of males and females have dyslexia.
  • Nearly the same percentage of people from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds have dyslexia (see general dyslexia symptoms).
  • Percentages of children at risk for reading failure are much higher in high poverty, language-minority populations who attend ineffective schools.
  • The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)* found that approximately 38% of fourth grade students have "below basic" reading skills. These students are below the 40th percentile (performing below the other 60% of their peers) and are at greater than 50% chance of failing the high-stakes, year-end school achievement tests.
  • About three quarters of the children who show primary difficulties with basic reading skill early in reading development can be helped to overcome those difficulties to a large extent. Not all of these children have dyslexia (see symptoms of dyslexia in children).
  • Less than 1/3 of the children with reading disabilities are receiving school services for their reading disability.
  • The causes for reading difficulty may be neurobiological (caused by differences in the structure and function of the brain), experiential (the student could not learn because of his behavior or inability to pay attention), instructional (the teacher did not provide adequate instruction), or a combination of these factors.
  • At present, there is no genetic or neurological test to diagnose or predict whose problems are primarily neurobiological or which problems are experiential or instructional (dyslexia is a neurobiological condition).
  • About 5% of the population will have enduring, severe reading disabilities that are very difficult to treat given our current knowledge.

* The NAEP, National Assessment of Educational Progress, is a measure used across most of the United States.

Fewer Dyslexics from Spanish-Speaking Counties

Some languages are "transparent," which means they have a more predictable correlation between letters and their sounds. Want an example? When you see an 'a' in a word, you know what sound it will make. It is predictable. That is language transparency.

In English, an a makes at least five different sounds. Here are some examples. A in apple, a in safe, a in acorn, a in alive, a in wash.

In transparent languages, it is easier for everyone to learn to read, even those with dyslexia. Therefore, in a transparent language like Spanish, there are fewer children with reading and spelling problems, even though the same percentage of the Spanish-speaking population has the neurobiological differences that cause dyslexia.

This is also why some Spanish-speaking children are not found to be dyslexic until they attempt to learn to read and write English, which is not a transparent language.  

Dyslexia and the Emotions

Many students with dyslexia also have related emotional difficulties. In the early grades in school, they quickly discover that other students easily learn to read and spell, skills that seem illusive to the dyslexic student. And naturally...

...they develop negative beliefs and emotions around reading, writing and their ability to learn one or both.

The result is that when they do begin learning to read and/or spell, with a highly trained instructor and with a specialized reading program, more than their dyslexia is in their way.

Limiting beliefs, thoughts and emotions are also in the way.

This is why I often use EFT tapping with my dyslexia students.

The remedial reading programs I use help "rewire" the brain to overcome the dyslexia.

The tapping technique helps rewire the limiting beliefs and painful emotions.

International Dyslexia Association website
Overcoming Dyslexia, Sally Shaywitz, M.D.
Basic Facts about Dyslexia and Other Reading Problems, Luisa Cook Moats, Karen E. Dakin, 2008, The International Dyslexia Association.

These dyslexia statistics and this dyslexia information can help you have a greater understanding of dyslexia and how it affects the population. I hope this has increased your understanding of dyslexia. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me.

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