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Dyslexia and the College Student

Children with dyslexia grow up to be young adults with dyslexia; however, there seems to be a popular common misconception that individuals with dyslexia can’t read. That’s really not usually the case. Most young adults with dyslexia can, in fact, read, but there are some real challenges that they face.

College students who have dyslexia, have one primary and pervasive symptom by far, and that is they are very, very slow readers. Reading is very labor intensive and college students with dyslexia take a significantly longer time to get through reading assignments. As the complexity of the readings increases, the effort involved to read the material increases exponentially.

These students still exhibit significant difficulties with phonological processing, that is, they continue to struggle with sounding out words; especially complex words. These phonological deficits show up on tests of phonological processing as well, even as adults. Spelling also continues to be quite problematic since spelling relies heavily on key components of phonological processing. College students with dyslexia oftentimes rely on spell-checking software to mitigate some of spelling challenges they have.

Reading comprehension is usually not an issue for the college student with dyslexia, as long as they can get through the actual basic reading process well enough to fluently string the words together. Listening comprehension is also usually just fine.

If reading is slow and laborious and spelling is a challenge, then naturally, the student’s writing becomes slow and laborious as well. Assignments that involve any significant writing then become labor-intensive tasks that take extra time to complete.

Some students (who have been identified as having dyslexia and some who haven’t) have compensated for these challenges through elementary, middle, and high school, but have a harder time due to the nature and amount of reading and writing required at the college level. Their strategies just break down. Those students who have been formally evaluated and identified may be eligible for accommodations.

For more information or if you need to schedule an evaluation, please contact us at or 865-974-6177.