As noted in many texts; there are a variety of definitions which help define the characteristics of dyslexia. I have previously used an operational definition, as used by Reid (2009 p.4). However, it can be sourced in his textbook, noted on the recommendations page.

  • Dyslexia is a difficulty [challenge for students with literacy difficulties] where students have processing difference, often characterised by difficulties in literacy acquisition affecting reading, writing, and spelling. It can also have an impact on cognitive processes such as memory, the speed of processing, time management, coordination, and automaticity. There may be visual and/or phonological difficulties, and there are usually some discrepancies in educational performances. There will be individual differences and individual variation (Reid, 2009, p. 4).


In comparison, Caskey’s (2017) research has not defined dyslexia, due to the complexity of the challenges that are faced by adult students with dyslexia. Caskey (2017) noted that adults students with dyslexia, perceived they have a marred Social Identity. The Social Identity has affected their functioning of everyday life activities. The perceptions of adult students were retesent of the barriers experienced by them socially. These barriers included four facets:


  1. Personal Life Histories: In schools and family life, adult students perceived they had barriers to learning and at home with members of the family or extended family.
  2.  Perceived discrimination: Many adult students had difficulties in workplaces and with other employees within workplace contexts and perceived this was a social issue which affected their everyday activities.
  3.  Perceived feelings and managed emotions: adult students have experienced a sad and unsuccessful life, due to the difficulties they have experienced in learning, with family members, work colleagues and others socially. As a result of these barriers, many adult students have experienced feelings that have lead to perceived stress and anxiety. Often crying and perceiving that this anxiety led to hospitalisation. However, many had learned so to manage their emotions.
  4. Perceived difference: Adult students’ perceived they were different from their peers. The majority of students’ with dyslexia perceived they were treated differently, compared to peers, their brains functioned differently, and they perceived they were and felt different (Caskey, 2017 pp.98-107).

In Caskey’s (2017) study, all adult students with dyslexia achieved success in learning with the majority of students gaining employment after the completion of the course. In the following section, is what other academics say about dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome, often another challenge that some people with dyslexia experience.


Some people with dyslexia have reading, writing, spelling, textual processing difficulties,  proofreading their own written text,  numeracy challenges, organisation of materials and assignments, social communication within workplaces and in educational contexts, on-task behaviours, timekeeping and making a plan for the time required for assessment, planning activities  and family history and context (Reid, 2016, p. 56). In addition Reid (2016 p.56) identified that people often suffer from low self-esteem of which Caskey (2017) concurred. Factors which Caskey (2017) identified in her research, were stress and anxiety, the emotional factors and  family issues, where difficulties within family contexts and for families of adult students with dyslexia (Caskey, 2017 Chapter 4; Reid, 2016, p. 56).


Irlen Syndrome is known as ‘scotopic sensitivity syndrome ‘ (SSS) and recently known as Meares-Irlen Syndrome and Visual Stress Syndrome (2000). In Australia, Dr Paul Whiting from the University of Sydney developed the first Irlen Dyslexia Centre in Australia (Whiting, 1993, 2000). Similar centres remain covering many states within Australia. There are research results  from websites who test people with Irlen Syndrome.

Caskey (2017) reported the cases in her research, who had Irlen Syndrome suffered from migranes, print moved on the pages when reading, concentration when reading and headaches (pp.111,113).


Reid (2009) Dyslexia: A practitioners handbook. London: John Wiley and Sons (p.4).

Reid, G. (2016). Dyslexia: A practitioner’s handbook: John Wiley & Sons. (p.56).

Whiting, P. (1993) Irlen coloured filters: summary of emerging research and indications of help for those appearing to be learning disabled and others, The Bulletin for Learning Disabilities, 3, 1, 66-81.

Whiting, P.R (2000). Evaluation of a computer-based program to teach reading and spelling to students with learning difficulties. Australian journal of learning difficulties V5, 4.