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Adult Dyslexia Late Diagnosis: Is There Still Hope?

[30 Nov 2010 | 2 Comments | 24 views | Author: Dee Braun, DrR, CA, CCT]
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Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that affects people of all ages. Just as with other disabilities, early detection of the condition and early intervention are beneficial to the person with the disability. However, this is not always the case with dyslexia.

An Overlooked Beginning

Most of the time, the beginnings of dyslexia is overlooked, which is the reason why a lot of cases are only diagnosed during adulthood. To think of it, in present culture when a child has not yet learned to fluently read by the age of ten or eleven years, he or she would be often thought of to be lacking in motivation or intelligence.

Most people would think that they are stupid or lazy. However, in most cases, they are neither of the two. Most likely, they have dyslexia, which is a learning disability that causes their difficulty in understanding written language, even though they have normal or even higher-than-normal IQ.

Faulty Wiring And Early Detection

The most recent studies show that the difficulties in reading that dyslexic people experience are due to “faulty wiring” in specific brain areas that have a relation to learning and language. Research also shows that identifiable genetic variations or defects are the partial cause of this faulty wiring.

Early screening and detection for such variations makes it possible for you to have appropriate and timely remedial training. Most experts suggest that children should be allowed to deal with their condition to overcome it and at least learn how to read at an acceptable level. However, since dyslexia is sometimes only diagnosed during adulthood, the benefits of early detection are not maximized.

Late Detection

Adult Dyslexia Late Diagnosis: Is There Still Hope?Although there are people who only become dyslexic during their adulthood, due to stroke and traumatic brain injury, in most cases the condition is a developmental disorder. According to experts, still, the majority of cases reported of people with dyslexia are adults who have had it ever since childhood but only knew they had it when they were already adults.

This late detection of the condition is something most adult dyslexics are troubled with since early intervention is not a choice anymore. However, if you are one of those who had late detection, there is no reason to be troubled. Intervention no matter how early or late is still intervention, even though they may have varying effects.

The Issue On Brain Plasticity

Late detection becomes an issue due to the premise of brain plasticity. Research shows that younger people or even animals have a more elastic brain than older counterparts. The relevance of brain plasticity is that it is one important factor in relation to intervention.

Since the brain is more elastic when you are younger; rewiring of the brain is then possible, since it hasn’t reached its mature state and continues to develop. Thus, if ever a learning disability like dyslexia is present, then your brain can still be developed to function at a more acceptable level, where the condition has minimal effect.

A lot of adults recently diagnosed with the condition fear that intervention would do them no good, simply because their brain is not as elastic anymore as children’s. However, recent studies show that the brain’s property of elasticity is still present even with adults.

This recent finding on plasticity in the adult brain is a breakthrough for adult dyslexics. So if you are an adult that had late diagnosis, then be happy! There is still hope for your condition to improve, even if only to an acceptable level.

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  • Andrew Brereton said:

    Great article! The issue over brain plasticity is true, the younger the better. However, people as old as 80 years of age have been shown to still possess a degree of brain plasticity and neurogenesis is shown to last into old age. Therefore the poor connectivity in specific neural networks which influence dyslexia, should be positively influenced in the right circumstances.

    • Engress said:

      It seems critical to detect dyslexia early but I can see how this is hard considering it is so easily mistaken for laziness or something else. Makes sense that early intervention is better considering that the brain is so much more malleable. It is still good to know that intervening in the adult years still reaps benefits. Might be a tougher road to hoe but still well worth it in my opinion. Just seems terrible that some people might not be able to enjoy the full benefits of reading because of being dyslexic. ~Engress

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