What is Dyslexia?

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Dyslexia is a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) that affects the way information is learned and processed. It is a neurological difference and usually runs in families. Dyslexia occurs independently of intelligence. It can have a significant impact on education, especially when it comes to reading and writing.

Dyslexia is not only about literacy, even though weaknesses in literacy is often it’s the most visible sign. Dyslexia affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved, affecting memory, the speed of processing, the perception of time, organisation and sequencing. Dyslexics may also have difficulty navigating a route or may mix up left and right.

Dyslexia is found in populations around the world but rates can be particularly high in countries where the written language uses irregular spelling or features combinations of letters with different sound possibilities. English is full of these combinations (such as the ou in cough and through) as well as different spellings that all make the same sound (such as the o sound in stole, coal, and bowl). It is estimated that 10% of the UK and 15% of the U.S. population suffers from dyslexia.

We have selected some dyslexic historical figures and some contemporaries who have flourished within their fields.

Portrait of Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone and thought to be dyslexic. Dyslexic people have chronic difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling. Despite being bright and motivated, a child with dyslexia will have great difficulty making connections between spoken and written language. Dyslexics may be intelligent and creative people but suffer from low self-esteem or anxiety brought on by their learning difficulty.

There have been and will be plenty more famous people with dyslexia. Children who are dyslexic should know that they can succeed at all career paths, whether they want to be an inventor like Alexander Graham Bell, an actor like Keira Knightley, an artist like Pablo Picasso, or a writer like Agatha Christie.

Portrait of Agatha Christie

All those people and many more were diagnosed as or thought to be dyslexic.

Neurodiversity is a great thing let’s give all our children the support they need in education and they will be the success they want to be.

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