Illustration depicting adults learning to manage dyslexia challenges later in life.

Can You Develop Dyslexia Later in Life

A particular type of learning problem called dyslexia impairs a person’s ability to read, write, and spell. It is a lifelong condition that typically manifests in childhood, often becoming apparent when a child starts learning to read. However, there is a common misconception that dyslexia only affects children and that individuals cannot develop it later in life. In reality, while dyslexia is often identified in childhood, it can also be diagnosed in adulthood.

Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects the way the brain processes written and sometimes spoken language. It is not related to intelligence and is believed to be caused by differences in how the brain processes information. Dyslexia can vary in severity and can affect people differently. Common symptoms of dyslexia include:

  • Difficulty in reading, including reading fluency, decoding words, and understanding written text.
  • Challenges with spelling, such as difficulty in spelling words correctly or remembering how to spell words.
  • Problems with writing, including poor handwriting, grammar, and organization of written ideas.
  • Difficulty in recognizing and manipulating sounds in words, which can affect reading and spelling skills.
  • Slow or inaccurate reading, often accompanied by a lack of comprehension.

Can Dyslexia Develop Later in Life?

While dyslexia is typically identified in childhood, it is possible for individuals to develop dyslexia later in life. There are several reasons why this may occur:

  1. Late Diagnosis: Some individuals may have had undiagnosed dyslexia in childhood, and their difficulties may have been attributed to other factors. As they get older, they may seek an evaluation and receive a diagnosis of dyslexia.
  2. Brain Injury or Trauma: Brain injuries or trauma, such as stroke, head injury, or neurodegenerative diseases, can sometimes lead to acquired dyslexia. This type of dyslexia is known as acquired alexia or acquired dyslexia.
  3. Stress or Trauma: Extreme stress or trauma can affect cognitive functioning, including reading and language processing. In some cases, this can result in symptoms similar to dyslexia.
  4. Age-Related Changes: As people age, they may experience changes in cognitive function, including changes in reading and language processing. While not necessarily dyslexia, these changes can impact reading ability.
  5. Environmental Factors: Environmental factors, such as changes in education or work demands, can sometimes highlight previously undiagnosed dyslexia in adults.

Challenges Faced by Adults with Dyslexia

Adults with dyslexia may face various challenges in their personal and professional lives. These challenges can include:

  • Reading Challenges: Difficulty reading printed materials, which can impact academic and work-related tasks.
  • Writing Challenges: Struggles with spelling, grammar, and organizing written ideas.
  • Time Management: Difficulties in managing time, which can be related to challenges in reading and processing information.
  • Self-Esteem: Low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy due to struggles with reading and writing.
  • Career Challenges: Difficulties in certain careers that require strong reading and writing skills, such as law, journalism, or academia.

Strategies for Managing Dyslexia in Adults

While dyslexia is a lifelong condition, there are strategies that adults with dyslexia can use to manage their challenges and lead successful lives:

  1. Seek Diagnosis: If you suspect you have dyslexia, seek a formal evaluation by a qualified professional. A diagnosis can help you understand your strengths and challenges and access appropriate support.
  2. Use Assistive Technology: There are many assistive technology tools available to help adults with dyslexia, such as text-to-speech software, speech recognition software, and electronic organizers.
  3. Develop Reading Strategies: Work with a tutor or reading specialist to develop strategies for improving reading skills, such as using colored overlays, breaking text into smaller sections, or using audiobooks.
  4. Improve Time Management: Use tools such as calendars, planners, or apps to help manage time effectively and stay organized.
  5. Build Self-Esteem: Focus on your strengths and accomplishments, and seek support from friends, family, or a therapist to build self-esteem and confidence.
  6. Advocate for Yourself: In academic or work settings, advocate for accommodations that can help you succeed, such as extended time on tests or assignments, or access to assistive technology.


Dyslexia is a lifelong condition that can affect individuals of all ages. While it is often identified in childhood, it is possible for adults to develop dyslexia later in life due to various factors. Adults with dyslexia may face challenges in reading, writing, and other aspects of life, but with the right support and strategies, they can manage their condition and lead fulfilling lives. If you suspect you have dyslexia, seek a formal evaluation and explore the resources and support available to you. Remember, dyslexia does not define you, and with determination and support, you can overcome its challenges.

Aahana Khan is a versatile content writer who skillfully combines her expertise in biotechnology with creative communication. Her strong educational background in biotechnology provides a scientific lens to her writing, making complicated ideas easy to understand for a wide range of readers. Driven by her passion for effective communication, she seamlessly transitioned from her biotechnology roots to a thriving career in content writing.

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