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What is dyslexia?

'Dyslexia' comes from two Greek words and it means 'difficulty with words'.

Dyslexia affects reading, spelling, writing, memory and concentration, and sometimes mathematics, music, foreign languages and self-organization. Some people call dyslexia 'a specific learning difficulty'. A dyslexic person does not see words, with their letters in order, as most people see them. The letters may appear to jump around, or be hazy, and their eyes will move unevenly over the words as they read. They will find it extraordinary hard to remember the letters of a word in order.

Dyslexia is caused by a difference in the part of the brain that deals with language. There is evidence gathered from brain imaging techniques that dyslexic people process information differently.

Dyslexia tends to run in families. Dyslexia continues throughout life. Around 4% of the population is severely dyslexic. A further 6% have mild to moderate problems.

Dyslexia occurs in people from all backgrounds and of all abilities, from people who cannot read or write to those with university degrees. Dyslexic people may have creative, artistic, practical skills. They can develop strategies for their areas of difficulty.

Dyslexia is a puzzling mix of both difficulties and strengths. It varies in degree and from person to person.

Possible DifficultiesPossible Strengths
Reading HesitantlyInnovative Thinkers.
 Misreading, making understanding difficult.Excellent trouble shooters.
Difficulty with sequences, e.g. getting dates in order Intuitive problem solving.
Poor organisation or time management Creative in many different ways.
Difficulty organising thoughts clearly Lateral thinkers.
 Erratic Spelling