What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a challenge in brain connectivity that makes it difficult and frustrating to read, spell and write.

These are language skills, and reading is the most complex of them.

To read, our brain must connect letters to sounds and string sounds into words – doing it fast enough to make sentences our mind can comprehend.

People with dyslexia have trouble at the start: matching letters with sounds. The remaining steps of reading get even harder.

Haley’s Hope understands the brain connectivity issues of dyslexia, and we teach in special ways that unlock reading. It’s hands-on and paced for each student. Kids practice sounds out loud. They use tiles to combine sounds for words. Seeing, saying, and manipulating with their hands are all part of the multi-sensory approach at Haley’s Hope.

The Medical Science

The exact causes of dyslexia are not completely clear, but anatomical and brain imagery studies show differences in the way the brain of a dyslexic person develops and functions.

Most people with dyslexia have been found to have problems with identifying separate speech sounds within a word and how letters represent these sounds.

Dyslexia is not a lack of intelligence or desire to learn. It’s more like a case of cross-wiring. With the right teaching methods, dyslexics can learn successfully.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, as many as 15 to 20% of the population have some of the symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing or mixing up similar words. Dyslexia occurs in people of all backgrounds and levels of intelligence.

Dyslexia runs in families: dyslexic parents are very likely to have children who are dyslexic. The impact is different for each person. Some dyslexics learn early reading and spelling tasks, especially with excellent instruction, but later experience debilitating problems when more complex language skills are required: grammar, understanding textbook material and writing essays.

Dyslexia can affect a person’s self-image. Students often end up feeling “dumb” and less capable than they actually are. Stressed due to academic problems, a student may become discouraged about school. Parents, too, feel anxiety about homework time and what’s happening to their child.

Early identification and treatment is key to helping dyslexics achieve in school and life. Treatment comes from a tutor specially-trained in using a multisensory, structured language approach.


1 in 5 children have dyslexia yet only 30% are identified in school.

Dyslexia is a common struggle

As many as one in five people have it, from mild to strong in severity.

The good news is that dyslexia has no connection to how smart a child may be. Kids with dyslexia read more slowly, yet can be quick thinkers, tremendously creative and have strong reasoning abilities.

People with dyslexia were born with this brain difference. Evidence they may have dyslexia grows in the first years in school when language skills – reading, spelling and writing – are taught. Reading is so basic to all other school subjects that a child with dyslexia will have a harder time learning in all classes.

Dyslexia can’t be “cured,” yet we know vastly more than ever before, and it’s possible for people with dyslexia to become highly successful students and adults. Beyond teaching to read, spell and write, Haley’s Hope helps students and adults uncover many special abilities once kept hidden by dyslexia. 


Formal testing is the only way
to determine dyslexia.

Everyone is Different

There are varying degrees of dyslexia severity. The impact is different for each person. Some dyslexics learn early reading and spelling tasks, especially with excellent instruction, but later experience debilitating problems when more complex language skills are required: using grammar, understanding textbook material and writing essays.

Some people with dyslexia have problems with the spoken language, even after they’ve been around adults with good language models at home and had good instruction in school. They sometimes struggle to express themselves clearly or comprehend what others mean. Such problems can be difficult to recognize and lead to problems in school, at work and in relationships.

Use our inventory in Recognizing the signs to see some of the indicators.

Not all students with literacy difficulties have dyslexia. Formal testing is the only way to determine presence of dyslexia.

If a student isn’t progressing with supplemental reading instruction, it may be time to test for dyslexia. You are encouraged to consider evaluation at Haley’s Hope if kindergarten benchmarks are not met, and always before completion of second grade if problems persist.

This does not mean it’s ever too late to gain skills to read, write and spell more proficiently using the methods taught at Haley’s Hope. We’ve helped young children to adults who were holding back from seeking job advancement with fears of being ‘exposed’ as a poor reader or speller.


Dyslexic children can learn,
they just learn differently.


The challenges of dyslexia involve difficulty acquiring and using written language: reading, writing, spelling and math operations. These are some of the difficulties associated with dyslexia:

  • Learning to speak

  • Learning letters and their sounds

  • Organizing written and spoken language

  • Memorizing number facts

  • Reading quickly enough to comprehend

  • Persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments

  • Spelling

  • Correctly doing math operations.


A vast range of possibilities are open
to people with dyslexia.