Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 203–217 | Cite as

Adult perceptions of children with dyslexia in the USA

  • Anabel CastilloEmail author
  • Jeffrey W. Gilger


This study examined adult perceptions of dyslexia among US adults. Participants (n = 623) answered survey questions pertaining to characteristics, views, and possible causes of DYS. Exploratory factor analysis revealed five distinct factors: (1) psychosocial causes, (2) external causes, (3) biological causes, (4) consequences, and (5) controllability. Three-way ANOVA’s were conducted to determine the effects of ethnicity, gender, and parental status on how DYS was perceived. The results revealed ethnic, gender, and parental status differences. Males endorsed psychosocial causes and external causes more often than females. Those who self-identified as Asian viewed DYS as more controllable in comparison to Whites. Results also revealed a three-way interaction regarding controllability. Understanding the public’s perceptions about developmental disorders helps distinguish true from erroneous beliefs, and understanding differences that may exist in particular groups can help implement targeted actions to improve awareness, care, and interventions for families.


Beliefs Dyslexia Ethnic differences Perceptions USA Views 



We gratefully thank Jan Wallander, Linda Cameron, and Shana Cohen for their comments on drafts of this article.


This study was funded by the Carlston Cunningham Endowment and the University of California, Merced Graduate Division.


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Copyright information

© The International Dyslexia Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychological Sciences & the Consortium for Research on Atypical Development and LearningUniversity of California, MercedMercedUSA

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