Some people may be surprised to know that dyslexia is not only about reading and writing.
Today (Wednesday) for Dyslexia Awareness Week we want to raise awareness on how dyslexia affects everyone in different ways.
Dyslexia affects approximately one in ten people in the UK, that’s over 6 million people. However, much still needs to be done to raise awareness to help everyone understand the difficulties that people face.
Dyslexia Action’s Director of Education Dr John Rack said: “Dyslexia affects people in various ways, at different times in a person’s life. It can make some things harder to learn and put barriers in the way of progress. However, those barriers can be overcome, once dyslexia is identified so the right kind of help and support can be put in place.”
What is affected?
Defined as a specific learning difficulty, dyslexia primarily affects the ability to learn to read and spell, and sometimes maths is affected too. It comes from a difficulty in dealing with the sounds of words, which make it especially hard to learn to read words using phonics (sounding out the letters in a word).
Along with slowness in learning to read, write and spell, other signs of dyslexia may include: continuing to make visual errors in reading, for example saying ‘was’ for ‘saw’ or ‘bad’ for ‘dad’; problems carrying out three instructions in sequence; spelling a word in several different ways; struggling with mental arithmetic or learning times tables; and, seeming bright in some ways but unexpectedly struggling in others.
Dr Rack added: “There is much that can be done to remove or minimise the difficulties for those with dyslexia once it has been identified. Without the right training, some teachers still find it difficult to identify dyslexia and need to seek outside help.
How dyslexia affected me
Although Talitha is a confident pupil, she finds it hard to remember things and learning to read and remember her maths was a real struggle.
Robert was confused because he didn’t know why he couldn’t keep up with the work and had real problems putting things down on paper when he knew he was intelligent:
‘Tests were pretty much ‘out of the window. I remember getting an A for my History and other coursework but a D in my exams. I went through my whole school career up until the final year of university without knowing I was dyslexic’.
Sarah is a mother of a dyslexic child. She said: ‘They think in pictures, movies, music, feelings and movement. They are full of talent, but often feel slow, stupid, different and misunderstood. I learned that Dyslexia is so much more than a learning difficulty related to reading and writing. Dyslexia is a gift. As a parent with a dyslexic child I had the responsibility to provide my child with the encouragement, education, and tools to become who she was meant to be’.
Holly was a student at university when her dyslexia was identified: ‘I just thought I was illiterate (when I was at school). I found essay writing really hard. There was nothing more frustrating than knowing what you wanted to write, methodically constructing a logical plan, ticking all the relevant check points and then the final essay to be somewhat unrepresentative of what was initially intended’.
Ben was speaking two languages by the age of six but although he was bright he was unable to read or write. This affected his confidence and he consequently became shy and withdrawn.
For signs of dyslexia in children, click here.
For signs of dyslexia in young people and adults, click here.