Dyslexia – what do we know?

Dyslexia – what do we know?

With Dyslexia Awareness Week recently behind us, and 10% of the UK’s population said to suffer from it in some form or another, it seems an appropriate time for us to open up and understand more.

What is Dyslexia?

  • It is one of a family of Specific Learning Difficulties.
  • Many people who have dyslexia have strong visual, creative and problem-solving skills.
  • It is not linked to intelligence but can make learning difficult.
  • It is a life-long condition which has a substantial effect on an individual’s day to day activities and is classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010.
  • It varies from person to person and no two people will have the same set of strengths and weaknesses.
  • It often co-occurs with related conditions, such as dyspraxia, dyscalculia and attention deficit disorder.
  • Dyslexic individuals often have difficulty processing and remembering information.

Adults with dyslexia are all different

Many older people who suffered with undiagnosed dyslexia in their schooldays left education being unable to read or write properly which has hampered their lives. Often ashamed to admit they are illiterate they avoid circumstances where they have to apply for jobs or benefits. They can be very clever at disguising their lack of skills and miss out on many pleasures in life.

Not only is the pleasure of reading denied to them but written information can be an obstacle to getting healthcare.

Some dyslexic adults feel unable to cope with their difficulties, whilst others have found ways to get round their problems, but changing demands at work or a new venture in life can present tough challenges.

Some adults have known about their dyslexia for years, whilst others wonder whether they might be dyslexic, or are coming to terms with a recent diagnosis. It is estimated that dyslexia affects as many as 1 in 10 of the population to some degree. One person in 25 is severely dyslexic.

People with dyslexia think and learn differently from others. They sometimes feel as if their mind is ‘differently wired’. Some of the signs and symptoms of dyslexia may include:

  • The hiding of reading problems.
  • Poor spelling or someone who relies on others to correct spelling.
  • Avoiding writing or someone who may not be able to write at all.
  • Conversely a sufferer can often be very competent in oral language.
  • The reliance on memory – many people that suffer from dyslexia have an excellent memory.
  • They often have good “people” skills.
  • Often they can be spatially talented; professions include, but are not limited, to engineers, architects, designers, artists and craftspeople, mathematicians, physicists, physicians (esp. surgeons and orthopaedists), and dentists.
  • May be very good at “reading” people (intuitive).
  • In jobs, often working well below their intellectual capacity.
  • May have difficulty with planning, organisation and management of time, materials and tasks.
  • They are often entrepreneurs.

Studies have suggested a link between dyslexia and success and concluded that millionaires are significantly more likely to suffer from the condition than the rest of the population.

The list of famous people who have the condition include Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver, Prince Harry, Darcy Bussell and Kirstie Allsopp none of whom have let the condition hold them back.

There is help out there, including specially printed books and helpful information from the British Dyslexia Association. For more information visit www.bdadyslexia.org.uk or telephone 0333 405 4555.