How to Overcome Adult Dyslexia (With Images)

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How to Overcome Adult Dyslexia (With Images)
How to Overcome Adult Dyslexia (With Images)

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that accompanies people throughout their lives. Some of the things that work for children can also be useful for adults, but the situations encountered by the two age groups are quite different. In addition to the classroom, a dyslexic adult also needs to learn to navigate the work environment, community life, and the responsibilities of everyday life.


Part 1 of 4: Making Adaptations for Dyslexic Adults

Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 1
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 1

Step 1. Present written information in an accessible format

Dyslexia, like many learning disabilities, is an invisible condition and you are not able to tell whether or not you are accompanied by a dyslexic person. The ideal, therefore, is to practice accessibility at all times.

Reading justified texts is more difficult for dyslexic people as it creates irregular spaces between words and letters. Whenever possible, align your texts to the left

Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 2
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 2

Step 2. Ask what the person needs

As dyslexia has different effects depending on the person, your best source of information is the affected person. For some, the worst part is reading maps; for others, any alteration between numbers and words is difficult.

  • Don't assume you know what's best for the person. Maybe she doesn't need or want your help.
  • Always talk about this matter privately and discreetly, respecting the confidentiality of what is said.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 3
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 3

Step 3. Offer a list of possible accommodations

Prepare a list of everything you can do, letting the dyslexic person know what they can ask for in order to get extra help in the classroom or in the workplace. She can then choose one or more options, depending on her learning style. The most common accommodations are:

  • Preferred seating (for example, seating where you can see the teacher's blackboard and face).
  • Longer deadlines for assignments and exams.
  • Textual modifications (eg having someone read the questions aloud).
  • Textbooks with important excerpts highlighted.
  • Computer assisted instructions.
  • Document conversion, such as audio support for printed materials.
  • Have an assistant in the library or labs help with note-taking.
  • Other individual accommodation not listed above.
  • In order to receive official accommodations in the workplace or at university, it is important that the dyslexic person has a recent diagnosis that proves the condition. To obtain this confirmation, you will certainly invest time and resources. If you want to help an adult with dyslexia, be aware that there are some modifications you can make yourself.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 4
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 4

Step 4. Remember that the person may not know their diagnosis

If the condition has not been identified in childhood, the adult may not even know he is dyslexic. Still, that doesn't mean that the learning disability doesn't affect you in everyday life.

  • You can help him by talking about the possibility of the condition and explaining the situation further.
  • If the person doesn't seem interested in seeking a diagnosis or getting outside help, respect their choice.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 5
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 5

Step 5. Protect the person's privacy

If you are an employer or teacher of someone with dyslexia, be aware that it is not your right to expose the condition to their peers. If a student requests some accommodations, you will likely not find their diagnosis in the student file.

  • It is important to keep the person's diagnosis confidential because of the stigmas associated with learning difficulties.
  • The affected person is the only one able to choose whether or not to reveal the condition.

Part 2 of 4: Adapting Printed Materials

Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 6
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 6

Step 1. Use a friendly font

Simple, evenly spaced sans serif letters like Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, Geneva, Verdana, Century-Gothic and Trebuchet are easier to read for dyslexic people. Some prefer larger fonts, but a value between 12 and 14 is more than acceptable.

  • Avoid serif fonts, such as Times New Roman, as serifs end up deforming the letters.
  • Do not highlight information in italics as this can be difficult to read. If you want to emphasize something, use bold letters.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 7
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 7

Step 2. Avoid visual distortions

If you are a teacher or employer, be aware that you can make some word modifications to avoid visual distortions such as blurring. The modifications are small, but extremely beneficial to all readers, dyslexia or not. For example, very long blocks of text are difficult to read normally, but are almost impossible for dyslexics. Give preference to paragraphs that are short and contain only one main idea.

  • You can also break up very large blocks of text using headers and titles to summarize the subject of each section.
  • Avoid white backgrounds as they can make it difficult to concentrate.
  • Dark letters on light backgrounds make it easier to read, but avoid colors like green, red and pink.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 8
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 8

Step 3. Choose a paper that is easy to read

The sheet should be thick enough that the back is not visible on the other side. Prefer matte pages, as the glossy surfaces reflect light and increase eye strain.

  • Avoid digital print processing as they often result in shinier finishes.
  • Play around with different colored papers to find the ideal tone for the dyslexic person.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 9
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 9

Step 4. Give clear written instructions and avoid long explanations

Always use sentences that are short and written in a direct way, being very concise. Avoid acronyms or very technical language.

  • Whenever possible, use diagrams, images and graphs.
  • Use ordered and numbered lists in place of complex paragraphs.

Part 3 of 4: Using technology

Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 10
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 10

Step 1. Try out programs that turn speech into text

Dyslexic adults usually find it easier to speak than to write. If you have difficulty writing, have a motor weakness, or can't get ideas down on paper, use a speech recognition program.

  • There are several mobile apps that allow speech recognition. Get to know some by clicking here.
  • With these programs, you can dictate e-mails, compose essays or simply browse the internet.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 11
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 11

Step 2. Use the read-aloud option

Many electronic devices, such as tablets, e-readers and cell phones, have read-aloud options, both for emails and social networks and for virtual books - in the case of books, you can also opt for audiobooks. The main read-aloud platforms are tablets: Nexus 7, iPad and Kindle Fire HDX.

  • Kindle Fire HDX has an immersive reading function that synchronizes selected text with professional narration. This function is only available in English.
  • The Nexus 7 has different configurations for multiple users, which makes it a very useful option for those who share the tablet with their family.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 12
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 12

Step 3. Familiarize yourself with applications that support dyslexic people

There are several options to help you manage your cell phone without having to read or write. You can also use the standard Google keyboard to dictate what the phone should write.

Try some reminder apps so you don't miss classes, meetings, medication schedules, among other things

Part 4 of 4: Understanding Dyslexia Better

Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 13
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 13

Step 1. Know the differences in information processing

The main deficiency in dyslexic adults is the way the brain processes information. The biggest difficulty is in the ability to interpret written language, which is why most cases of dyslexia are diagnosed during childhood.

  • Auditory processing can also be affected, making conversations difficult to understand immediately.
  • In some cases, the processing speed of spoken language is slower.
  • The person can take things literally, making jokes and sarcasm difficult to understand.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 14
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 14

Step 2. Find out more about memory differences

Short-term memory is often flawed in dyslexic people, who have difficulty remembering facts, events, and plans. In this case, the ability to retain multiple pieces of information at the same time, such as taking notes during class, may be impaired.

  • A person with dyslexia can make mistakes with basic information, such as telling their age.
  • A dyslexic adult is not always able to remember information without reading notes.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 15
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 15

Step 3. Better understand communication issues

A person with dyslexia may be unable to quickly organize thoughts into words. Misunderstandings in conversations are quite common, and this issue can be quite difficult to overcome.

  • The volume and tone of the person's voice may be louder or softer than what is considered normal.
  • It is normal for the person to speak differently, including in the pronunciations.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 16
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 16

Step 4. Know that there are differences in literacy

Learning to read is normally quite difficult for dyslexics, and many adults remain functionally illiterate even if they do not have intellectual deficits. Even those who can read tend to have difficulty pronouncing and spelling words.

  • Reading comprehension is usually slower. Adults with dyslexia find it difficult to speed-read and quickly process written instructions.
  • Technical terminology and acronyms are often very confusing. When possible, use simple words or add visual cues to make it easier to understand.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 17
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 17

Step 5. Know the sensory differences

Dyslexic people are more sensitive to environmental noise and visual stimulation, unable to filter out unnecessary information or prioritize relevant visual information.

  • Dyslexia also makes it difficult to concentrate, making it easier for a person to appear distracted.
  • It can be difficult to filter out background noise and motion. A work environment with only necessary instructions can help dyslexic professionals with difficulty concentrating.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 18
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 18

Step 6. Understand visual stress while reading

It is common for some people with dyslexia to see the printed text distorted, with letters mixed in or out of focus, as if they were moving on the page.

  • Use different colors for the letter or paper to minimize visual stress. For example, a paper in pastel or creamy tones can make it much easier to read.
  • If possible, change the background color of your computer screen.
  • The color of printed ink can also affect readability. For example, a red marker on a whiteboard is nearly impossible for a dyslexic person to read.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 19
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 19

Step 7. Know that stress worsens dyslexia difficulties

According to research, people with learning disabilities are more sensitive to stress. Under pressure, upsets become more pronounced and difficult to overcome.

  • This situation can end up resulting in low self-esteem or confidence.
  • Learning to deal with stress can greatly help a person's learning.
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 20
Help a Dyslexic Adult Step 20

Step 8. Know the strengths associated with dyslexia

Those who suffer from the disorder tend to understand general information better and are better able to solve problems. It's much easier to instinctively understand how things work.

  • Individuals may also have more visual and space skills.
  • Dyslexic adults are often more creative and curious, thinking "outside the box."
  • If a project catches the attention of the dyslexic person, he or she may have a greater ability to concentrate than an "ordinary" person.


  • If you suffer from dyslexia, your employer should make adjustments to your work environment to support it.
  • You are not required to say you are dyslexic on a resume or professional application.


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