Illustration depicting the different types of dyslexia

What are the Different Types of Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide. It is characterized by difficulties in reading, writing, and spelling. While dyslexia is a broad term encompassing a range of challenges, there are different types of dyslexia that manifest in unique ways. Understanding these types can help individuals, educators, and professionals provide targeted support and interventions.

Types of Dyslexia

Phonological Dyslexia

Phonological dyslexia, also known as dysphonic dyslexia or auditory dyslexia, is one of the most common types. Individuals with phonological dyslexia struggle with phonemic awareness, which refers to the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in words. They may have difficulty associating letters with their corresponding sounds, leading to challenges in decoding and spelling words. Phonological dyslexia often affect reading fluency and comprehension.

Surface Dyslexia

The main symptom of surface dyslexia is impaired visual word recognition. People who have surface dyslexia have trouble seeing words with their eyes and mostly rely on phonetic decoding techniques. Since they primarily rely on hearing out each letter or syllable when reading, they could have trouble with words that are spelt irregularly. Reading comprehension can be hampered by surface dyslexia, especially when reading words that are new or have strange writing patterns.

Rapid Naming Dyslexia

Rapid name dyslexia, sometimes called rapid automatized naming deficiency, is characterized by problems articulating and recalling recognized objects, colors, or symbols appropriately and rapidly. People who have fast name dyslexia may have delays in word retrieval, which can lead to a decrease in reading fluency and speed. This kind of dyslexia frequently affects how automatically words are recognized and can reduce reading efficiency in general.

Double Deficit Dyslexia

Double deficit dyslexia is characterized by difficulties with rapid naming as well as phonological processing. People who have double deficit dyslexia have trouble reading words and identifying them by sight. This kind of dyslexia frequently results in inaccurate reading, sluggish reading, and worse comprehension. Comprehensive intervention techniques that target both phonological and quick naming deficiencies are necessary for treating double deficit dyslexia.

Visual Dyslexia

Visual dyslexia, also known as visual-spatial dyslexia, involves difficulties in processing visual information. Individuals with visual dyslexia may struggle with perceiving and manipulating shapes, letters, and numbers. This can affect their ability to accurately recognize and distinguish between similar-looking letters or words, leading to challenges in reading and writing. Visual dyslexia is often associated with difficulties in spatial orientation and visual memory.

Auditory Dyslexia

Auditory dyslexia, or auditory processing disorder, affects an individual’s ability to process and interpret auditory information. This can result in difficulties in distinguishing between similar sounds, following verbal instructions, and decoding phonetic elements in words. Auditory dyslexia often impacts reading accuracy, phonetic decoding, and phonemic awareness.

Orthographic Dyslexia

Orthographic dyslexia involves difficulties in processing and recognizing visual word patterns and orthographic rules. Individuals with orthographic dyslexia may struggle with word retrieval, visual memory, and letter sequencing. This can make it challenging for them to develop efficient reading skills and may lead to difficulties with spelling and writing.

Attentional Dyslexia

Attentional dyslexia is often associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Individuals with attentional dyslexia have trouble sustaining focus and attention while reading, which can significantly impact reading comprehension and retention of information. The difficulties in attention can lead to frequent reading errors, lack of engagement with the text, and challenges in organizing and summarizing the content.

Intersecting and Co-occurring Varieties of Dyslexia

Dyslexia encompasses overlapping or co-occurring types, resulting in intricate reading challenges. Certain individuals may exhibit characteristics of multiple dyslexia types simultaneously. Here are some examples:

Phonological Dyslexia and Surface Dyslexia:

Some individuals face difficulties in both phonemic awareness and recognizing entire words, which hampers reading and decoding skills.

Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) Dyslexia and Visual Dyslexia:

Challenges related to swift naming and visual processing often coexist, leading to difficulties in promptly identifying symbols and distinguishing between similar letters or words.

Attentional Dyslexia and Auditory Dyslexia:

Dyslexia can co-occur with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and difficulties in auditory processing. This combination poses challenges in sustaining attention during reading tasks and processing and discriminating sounds in language.

Orthographic Dyslexia and other variations:

Orthographic dyslexia, characterized by difficulties in recognizing and remembering the visual patterns of words, can also accompany other types of dyslexia, exacerbating reading and spelling challenges.

The presence of intersecting or co-occurring dyslexia types further complicates reading difficulties and necessitates a comprehensive assessment and customized intervention approach to address the unique needs of each individual.

Diagnosis and Intervention


  • Dyslexia diagnosis involves a comprehensive assessment conducted by qualified professionals, such as educational psychologists or speech and language therapists.
  • Assessment methods typically include standardized tests, observations, interviews, and analysis of reading and language abilities.
  • The evaluation aims to identify the specific types of dyslexia, assess the severity of difficulties, and rule out other possible causes.


  • Effective interventions for dyslexia are typically multisensory and evidence-based, focusing on strengthening areas of weakness and providing targeted support.
  • Orton-Gillingham and structured literacy approaches are commonly used, incorporating systematic phonics instruction, multisensory techniques, and explicit teaching of reading skills.
  • Individualized education plans (IEPs) and accommodations can be developed to meet the specific needs of students with dyslexia, providing additional support and accommodations in the classroom.


Dyslexia is a complex learning disorder with different types that affect individuals in distinct ways. Understanding the various types of dyslexia can assist in identifying specific areas of difficulty and tailoring appropriate interventions. By providing targeted support and strategies, individuals with dyslexia can overcome challenges, develop their reading skills, and thrive academically and personally.

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