According to Merriam-Webster, dyslexia is: 

a variable often familial learning disability involving difficulties in acquiring and processing language that is typically manifested by a lack of proficiency in reading, spelling, and writing


Dyslexia is a learning disability characterized by problems identifying speech sounds and learning how to connect them to letters and words, according to the Mayo Clinic. Its chief symptoms include difficulties with spelling, reading, pronunciation of words and processing auditory information. It is a common learning disability among children, although adolescents and adults with dyslexia often exhibit symptoms as well.

The term “dyslexic” is used by some organizations as a noun and as an adjective in a non-pejorative way; however, using the word as a noun (describing a person as a “dyslexic”) appears to be falling out of use.


NCDJ Recommendation: Refer to someone as having dyslexia only if the information is relevant to the story and if the person has been formally diagnosed by a licensed medical professional. Use people-first language, stating that someone “has dyslexia” rather than referring to him or her as “a dyslexic person.” Avoid using “dyslexic” as a noun, as in, “She is a dyslexic.”