Definition of Dyslexia

 There are many different perceptions of dyslexia and there are many definitions available.
The following working definition of dyslexia has been developed by the Scottish Government who describe dyslexia as; 'a continuum of difficulties in learning to read, write and/or spell, which persist despite the provision of appropriate learning opportunities. These difficulties often do not reflect an individual's cognitive abilities and may not be typical of performance in other areas'.
Dyslexia can be a barrier to learning, but this depends on the learning and teaching environment that individuals experience. Common difficulties associated with dyslexia can include:
  • auditory and /or visual processing of language-based information (how text/language sounds or looks)
  • phonological awareness (matching sounds with letters)
  • oral language skills and reading fluency (expression in words, speed & accuracy of reading text)
  • short-term and working memory (familiar information/names, word finding and working problems out in your head)
  • sequencing and directionality (letter/number/calendar etc, left/right appreciation, following instructions)
  • number skills (mathematical concepts, mental maths)
  • organisational ability (planning, arranging and keeping order)
  • motor skills and co-ordination may also be affected (clumsy/incoordinated movements, handwriting, balance & posture)
Dyslexia is considered to be a life-long condition which appears to 'run in families'. It is not related to intelligence, race or social background and is often seen in more males than females. Dyslexia varies in severity and often occurs alongside other specific learning difficulties, such as Dyspraxia or Attention Deficit Disorder. The challenges of having dyslexia can result in low self esteem, high stress, atypical behaviour, and low achievement. The effects of dyslexia can also be minimised, as Dyslexia Action describes; by targeted literacy intervention, technological support and adaptations to ways of working and learning.

Many people with dyslexia describe perceiving the world slightly differently, positively, this can result in:
  • great visual-spatial abilities
  • atypical creativity
  • 'thinking outside the box' strengths
  • high level conceptualisation skills. 
One of many books which focus on the positive aspects of having dyslexia - The Dyslexic Adantage by Dr Eide.
info sheet
From Dyslexia Scotland 'What is Dyslexia?' information sheet.

If you have concerns about someone you know showing signs of Dyslexia and would like more advice - click here 

For further information please check out out Dyslexia Scotland's useful Information Sheets - Here


Clips about having dyslexia:

Newsround - My Dyslexic Mind (12 yr old Ben tells his story) - My Secret Past (Shayne Lynch - Boyzone)

Kara Tointon also made gives her perspective of having dysleixa, which include good examples how visual experiences of text can be for some dyslexics. Click here for 'DON'T CALL ME STUPID'. 
UK research shows that 35% of US entrepreneurs and 20% of UK entrepreneurs are dyslexic - with Sir Richard Branson a famous example. There are many other famously successful dyslexics, like Tom Cruise, Jackie Stewart, Robin Williams, Keira Knightly, Whoopi Goldberg, Jerry Hall, Jamie Oliver & many more..... click here. With current estimations of dyslexia affecting 10% of the International population, there are many more 'less famous but still successful' dyslexics optimising their skills and talents in the fields of; arts, design, leadership, entrepreneurship, engineering, sciences, business and technology. 
Maybe you are, or already know some one?!
Tom Pellereau, winner of 2011 The Apprentice is dyslexic and credits this to his ability to visualise and perceive things differently to other people, find out more here. Lord Alan Sugar is ALSO dyslexic! Entrepreneur and TV star Theo Paphitis has struggled with reading all his life. He explains why he wants to help others with Fellow dyslexic Duncan Ballantyne describes how he became

Richard Branson has contributed to a children’s audio book. Award winning campaigner, Kate Griggs of Xtraordinary People, is the inspiration behind these enlightening stories. She says: “the stories are fun and entertaining as well as informative, written from a dyslexic child’s perspective to give a real insight into being a dyslexic child.” The audio books are downloadable from here. More

New Zealand's leading dyslexia organisation also have lots of useful information (& a cool song!!) Please Click Here.

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