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Common Dyslexic Terms to Know

Being diagnosed with dyslexia early or late in life brings many new vocabulary words. Most of those words are way too hard to spell, and when you google them full of random jargon. Today we are breaking down some of the most common dyslexic terms and what they mean in plain old English (well dyslexic friendly English).


  • According to most of the internet (The Yale Center For Dyslexia and Creativity and the British Dyslexia Association), dyslexia is a "learning disability that affects reading and writing."

  • We don't feel like this definition is encompassing enough. A better description is dyslexia is a neuro-diversity that utilizes different areas of the brain to process information, allowing individuals to form a unique set of strengths and challenges.

Note: If you want to learn more about what dyslexia is, check out our blog, What is Dyslexia, or download our free comprehensive guide on dyslexia HERE.


  • The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is a law passed in the United States that protects individuals with dyslexia (and other disabilities).

  • This protects us from harmful work discrimination and entitles us to reasonable accommodations, as long as the accommodation does not create an undue hardship to the employer.

  • The ADA does not use the word dyslexia but defines a disability as a "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity."

  • Check out this site for more readable information on the ADA and what it means for dyslexics!

Equalities Act of 2010:

  • The UK version of the ADA, The Equality Act of 2010, legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace (and broader society).

  • The Equalities Act of 2010 says that employers have to make appropriate and reasonable adjustments to reduce the impact of your disability.

  • Dyslexia, again, is not mentioned by name. Still, the act defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities."

  • Check out this site for more information on the Equality Act of 2010!


  • According to Merriam-Webster, "to occur at the same time or in the same place."

  • In the context of dyslexia, this refers to two (or more) neuro-diversities occurring in a person at the same time. It is widely accepted that co-occurrences are the rule rather than the exception.


  • The differences in how individual brains function compared to normal brains.

  • If your brain does not fit the neuro-typical mold, you fall into the neurodiversity bucket.


  • A term used to describe someone who thinks differently than others because of the physical formation of their brain.

  • Neurodivergent is a non-medical term used to describe a wide array of conditions.


  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the difficulty regulating attention. It often leads individuals to get hyper-fixated on something or be unable to force their brains to get interested in something.

  • Roughly 40% of people with dyslexia also have ADHD.


  • A problem with movement, spacial awareness, and coordination of physical actions.


  • A challenge with numbers. The struggle can range from mixing numbers around to reading digits backward.

  • Sometimes called Math Dyslexia, less research has been done on dyscalculia than dyslexia.


  • A struggle with physically writing (not a physical disability).

  • It is thought that an issue with fine motor skills causes dysgraphia.

  • Individuals with dysgraphia have messy handwriting and struggle with writing full thoughts or sequences.

Working Memory:

  • Working memory is your brain's post-it note, where it stores information for a few seconds and then processes it in some way.

  • Working memory allows you to hold information and then do something with it.

  • Part of the brain's executive functions.

Word Recall:

  • According to Merriam-Webster, recall is "to bring back to mind."

  • Also called word retrieval, an individual has a hard time finding the right word or remembering the name of something.

  • Stress and fatigue make word recall worse. Connected with your working memory.


  • Burnout, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as "exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration."

  • Dyslexic people work significantly harder to achieve the same results as their peers.

  • This hard work leads people with dyslexia to ignore the warning signs of burnout.

Dyslexic Masking:

  • Masking is the hiding of your authentic self to become more socially accepted.

  • In other words, it is making changes to your actions so that you can fit in and be seen as 'normal.' Masking is like being in a play; it is the idea that you are acting rather than being your true self.

  • Dyslexic masking is hiding your dyslexia and fighting against it to appear normal.

Time Blindness:

  • Time blindness or Dyschronometria (its scientific name) is when a person can not accurately assess how long a task will take or tell how much time has passed since starting something.

  • Research is still really young, but already researchers are seeing links between dyslexia and time blindness. If you have dyscalculia, you are more likely to struggle with time blindness.

While this is not a comprehensive list, and we know we are missing some terms, this should be a good starting place for anyone looking to learn more about dyslexia! If you have words you would like to see us define, drop a comment down below!

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