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While October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, it’s never a bad time to bring awareness to a topic that affects a person’s success in school and learning.

By identifying a learning disorder, you can find proactive solutions that make learning easier, leading to greater success in school and beyond. Two common learning disorders are dyslexia and dysgraphia.

Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a disability that affects a person’s ability to read, in addition to other specific language skills. “Reading backwards” is a bit of a myth, but it is common for those with dyslexia to experience difficulty with spelling, reading comprehension, learning letters and their sounds and learning a foreign language.

Dyslexia is hereditary, meaning that parents with dyslexia are likely to have dyslexic children. The disorder is usually diagnosed early thanks to school programs, but it’s not uncommon for dyslexia to be undiagnosed until later in life. In fact, it’s estimated that 15-20% of the population have some symptoms of dyslexia that can benefit from explicit instruction.

Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a learning disability that specifically affects writing abilities. Common symptoms include difficulty spelling, poor handwriting, difficulty organizing thoughts on paper and saying words aloud while writing.

Different techniques have proven effective based on a person’s age and writing experience. Each case is different, so strategies that help one person with dysgraphia may not help another. The key is patience and seeking expert help when necessary.

The only way to positively identify either of these disorders is through formal testing. You should speak to a doctor or other specialist if you’re concerned about a learning disorder like dyslexia or dysgraphia.