Severity levels of dyslexia

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Editorial Team

Numbers indicating the prevalence of dyslexia are really terrifying. According to ldonline, 5 to 15 percent of Americans—14.5 to 43.5 million children and adults— have dyslexia. Not only this, 1 out of every 5 individual is at risk of developing dyslexia at some point in their life. If take the whole world into account, we reach some really crazy numbers.

For those still unaware, Dyslexia is a specific learning disability in reading. Kids with dyslexia have trouble connecting the letters they see to the sounds those letters make. Dyslexia affects the part of the brain that deals with processing language and graphic symbols. Now, it becomes really important for a person to diagnose dyslexia early in life to manage it successfully. As we always say, early adaptation of a new learning process is the key to beating any learning disability.

It is important to note that the characteristics of dyslexia are not the same in every individual. The level of its severity is different in different groups. In some cases, it is near to asymptomatic, but in others the symptoms are obvious. It affects in a different way to individuals in different age groups. For some, it has no effect on their daily tasks but in others, the routines are severely hindered, such as driving on the road.

Three Levels of Dyslexia

The point is that a single definition of dyslexia is just not enough. Therefore, it is required to put these in subgroups to easily recognize what we are dealing with. Even though the classification is not medically defined, but majorly dyslexia is categorized into three levels of severity. These are mild, moderate, and severe dyslexia.

severity levels of dyslexia infographics

1. Mild Level Dyslexia

A mild level of dyslexia is generally observed in the early years. Sometimes, it is hard to differentiate this level of severity from common classroom anxiety. In some cases, it shows close to no symptoms at all. The scary part is that mild-level dyslexia may not ever be screened as parents may just consider their child to be lazy.

Fortunately, a person with mild dyslexia will continue with an ordinary career. This level doesn’t affect our daily life to that extent. Students may get slightly irritated with reading and spelling. He/She will make fewer mistakes during reading than at moderate and severe levels but still not that comparable to the other non-dyslexic individuals.

A cascading effect on other subjects or activities is generally not observed. As the year passes, the child will eventually manage to control it. Still subject must be regularly examined as there is the possibility that it ends up reaching moderate and severe levels.

2. Moderate Level Dyslexia

Symptoms of moderate-level dyslexia are a bit more severe than mild level. Student’s notebooks are often covered with red marks for correction by teachers. This level affects the literature skills of the child. Its effect has not been observed that much on other subjects. Again, students with moderate levels may end up with their ordinary careers but require intervention at the right time. Therefore, it is required to have an early intervention to prevent further worsening of the condition.

The level affects the child psychologically too. Individuals on this level will generally show some sort of classroom anxiety. They shy away from reading and engaging in classroom debates. Teachers are required to keep a regular check on the child’s behavior. An environment of care by elders is what is most required in situations like these.

3. Severe Level Dyslexia

Individuals with a serious case of dyslexia need intervention right away. Such cases are obvious by observation. It is just not anxiety anymore, kids want to completely boycott the studies, especially reading and spelling. Spelling mistakes are way more frequent than mild and moderate levels. The child could be seen as not at all comfortable while reading. The effects are very much pronounced in other subjects as well. This has been observed in a study where students with dyslexia are seen struggling in maths as well.

Directional difficulty is commonly seen in severe cases. They often struggle to understand directions such as left, right, east, and west. Adults with severe dyslexia will have trouble driving as well. This level affects daily life to a great extent. Students develop a sense of inferiority complex in them, which is then reflected by not participating in other extracurricular activities. A serious intervention is required at an early level to have a good grip on it. If possible, parents must talk to a special educator to work on their child.

Next Course of Action

Kids must be frequently rewarded for any effort they put to get over it, as it provides them a sense of accomplishment which will be very beneficial in the long term in how they observe each task. Teachers or personal tutors need to approach differently while teaching. The relaxed environment is pretty essential. Children must not be forced to be competitive right away. Give him/her time. The stress of competition can hammer any possible interest in studies.

We are aware that the numbers might scare you. Definitely, you are wondering about what level you are dealing with. The motive of this post is not at all to demoralize you but to educate you as early as possible. No need to panic. All you need to do is to consult a special evaluator. Go for a screening process with the expert. Discuss the measures required. Consult with teachers about the intervention strategies. The most effective medicine is to adapt an early learning process at an early stage.


Dyslexia: What brain research reveals about reading. (n.d.). LD OnLine.

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