ZocdocAnswersAre learning problems passed on from parent to child?

Question

Are learning problems passed on from parent to child?

I am a 29 year old dyslexic with a 1-year-old. Can I have passed my dyslexia down to him?

Answer

Understanding the possible genetic contributors to learning disabilities is an interesting area in medicine right now. There certainly are genetic conditions that can lead to learning disabilities, such as fragile X syndrome, and these are strongly hereditary. However, most of the genetically inherited forms of learning disabilities tend to be more severe. It is harder to know what to make of an isolated disability such as dyslexia in terms of prediction. The fact that you had this problem as a child probably puts your child at higher risk of also having it. However, the association is not clear cut or straightforward, and there are a lot of other factors that play into the development of learning disabilities. Importantly, these days we have excellent support services for children with minor learning disabilities like dyslexia. Therefore, the most important thing is to pay close attention to your son's learning as he grows up and ask his teachers to do the same. If there are any signs of difficulty, he should have not trouble plugging into the school's special education services, and he should do quite well over the long term. Talk to your pediatrician for more information about this issue.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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