Causes And Risk Factors Of Dyslexia

Many individuals claim moments of dyslexia when they make a typo in an email or read too quickly and say the wrong thing. However, dyslexia is a real medical condition that affects a considerable amount of the population. At its heart, dyslexia is a learning disorder. It involves a difficulty in reading and language skills due to the individual having a problem identifying sounds and shapes and how they correlate with letters and words. There are varying types of dyslexia as well. Some may be more focused on speech, whereas others might be more focused on sight. There is no cure for dyslexia. However, methods can be used to help someone who has dyslexia live a productive life.

Family History Of Learning Disabilities

As with most disabilities and medical conditions in life, if there is a genetic precursor present, the likelihood of developing the same disability or condition is increased. For individuals who have a family history of learning disabilities, then it's likely the individual will also develop a learning disability, dyslexia or otherwise. For dyslexia, it appears to develop in the genes primarily responsible for telling the brain how to process reading and language. When these genes aren't performing their duties correctly, or are unable to communicate well, the brain has a problem in its processing functions. As such, the individual in question is unable to comprehend, at least with ease, the issue or task they are given.

While it doesn't always mean an individual who comes from a family with learning disabilities is going to also develop dyslexia, the precedence is there. Parents should keep a close eye on their child when they first enter school to determine if their learning processes are impaired or healthy.

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Low Birth Weight

One study examined how children who had low birth weights performed with reading. They discovered children who had experienced a small birth weight were more likely to have a reading deficit than those who had a normal birth weight. Not only that, but these children also had poorer cognition and behavioral problems as a whole. They also possessed vocabulary problems and attention problems. As such, it could very well be a child who has a low birth weight could end up developing dyslexia.

This is likely due to the fact a low birth weight slows the building of the brain and its processes. It can also affect their emotional stability. Both, because the brain regulates emotions, and because the individual may feel isolated when they're not performing as well as the other children. Doctors also have determined one's birth weight can typically determine how large the brain will be in adult life. Since brains and spinal chords require room the more they develop, a low birth weight doesn't allow the brain and spinal chord to have that space.

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Premature Birth

Often a cause of low birth weights, premature births are also likely to increase the risk of a child developing dyslexia. Again, if a baby is born too early, their brain hasn't had enough time to develop within the womb. The birthing process and loss of support from the mother's body could be too much of a strain for the infant to handle. As a result, the resources being put to use to develop the brain are instead allocated to other parts of the body to keep it alive. This reduction of resources for the brain means the brain stagnates and development has ceased. Processes for reading and language could be severely damaged due to this lack of development.

Researchers already determined babies who were born prematurely increased the chances of their developing learning disabilities. One study even found five percent of the babies studied who were born prematurely had a learning disability. Children born prematurely were also found to have a higher risk of developing autism.

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Certain Genes Affecting Reading And Language

Thus far, in studies covering dyslexia, there have been genes found that are associated with dyslexia. These are called dyslexia loci DYX1–9 and were named by the Human Genome Nomenclature Committee. There are, however, numerous other studies on chromosomes as well. These studies have found linkages that may result in dyslexia or similar speech and reading impairments. Because of a large number of genes available to be potentially non-functional, it's clear if you're already pre-disposed to developing dyslexia, the risk increases with each gene that appears to be not performing correctly. Certain genes affecting reading and language skills are crucial to study regarding learning disabilities.

It may very well be that you are not from a family with a history of dyslexia. Instead, it may come about because of one of the other genes assisting the reading and speaking process are malfunctioning. A different term may be given to the disability rather than dyslexia, and so knowing what specific genes are affected and not working is critical to understanding proper treatment.

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Exposure To Factors That Alter Brain Development Before Birth

Since it is critical for a mother to take care of her body while she is pregnant, when the mother chooses not to, it's no surprise the baby suffers the most from the decision. Alcohol, smoking, and other harmful practices and substances have been found to have an adverse effect on the development of a baby's brain. Exposure to factors that alter brain development before birth is a sure way to increase the risk of developing dyslexia. Another aspect of outside factors that may alter brain development rests in the environment. For instance, an expectant mother who drinks water with elements of lead can significantly alter the baby's brain development.