In my first article (The ignored geniuses of Africa), I explained what a learning difficulty is and stated that there are many types of learning difficulties. Furthermore, I provided the list of some of them and their definition. As promised the focus will be now on the most common learning difficulty, dyslexia.
What is dyslexia? Dyslexia is not a disease; it is a condition associated with the difficulties in the acquisition of literacy skills. It also affects other areas like memory, motor skills, sequencing and spatial awareness skills.
Intelligence Dyslexia does not affect people’s intelligence. In general, dyslexic people are intelligent or highly intelligent.
Dyslexic people strengths The strengths of dyslexic people are: innovation, problem solving skills, good interpersonal skills, creativity, intuition, determination, lateral thinking, simultaneous multiple thoughts processing...
Negative aspects Dyslexic people often have difficulties with reading, writing, spelling, memory, spatial awareness, mathematics, sequencing, organisation and concentration.
Statistics of dyslexic people According to the British Dyslexia Association, 10% of the population is dyslexic. Hence, based on the estimate of the world’s population of 7 billion in 2012 (World Bank Data and UN), there are about 700 million dyslexic people worldwide from which the number of dyslexic individuals in the countries listed in the following table is shown
Table 1 – statistics of dyslexic people
Dyslexia and success Dyslexia is not an obstacle to success. With the right support, dyslexic people can achieve in their studies and careers.
In western countries, many celebrities and famous people are dyslexic. Below is the list of some of them.
• Albert Einstein – German mathematician • Gustave Flaubert – French author • Pablo Picasso – Spanish painter, sculptor • Leonardo da Vinci – Italian scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer • Walt Disney – American co-fondator - Walt Disney • Tom Cruise – Amercian actor • Orlando Bloom – British actor • Patrick Dempsey – Amercian actor • Oliver Reed - British actor • John Lennon – British musician (The Beatles) • Keira Knightley – British actress • Cher – Amercian actress, singer • Whoopi Goldberg – Amercian actress, singer, comedian • Steven Spielberg – Amercian films producer • Danny Glover – Amercian actor, director • Mohammad Ali – Amercian professional boxer • Magic Johnson – Amercian professional basketball player. • George Washington – Amercian President. USA • Thomas Jefferson – Amercian President. • John F. Kennedy – Amercian President. • Winston Churchill – British PM • Will Smith – American musician, actor
Signs of dyslexia To label a person as a dyslexic requires a thorough and elaborated evaluation performed by a dyslexia specialist. So, having some reading, writing and spelling problems does not necessary mean that a person has dyslexia. However, this will call for additional investigations with regard to the dyslexia types of signs displayed.
The signs in question are mentioned below in different areas. So, you or your child might be dyslexic if you experience the problems below:
Memory Forget appointments Problem remembering what was just said Get confused with long verbal instructions Difficulty with memorisation
Maths / Sequencing Mental calculations difficulty Problem working with money/change Difficulty telling the time Problem with times tables/formulae Problem with Maths terms / concepts
Reading Dislike reading Often re-read passages Misread words or insert words Lose track or eyes become tired Words become blurry, funny
Spelling/Writing Persistent spelling mistakes Inconsistent spelling mistakes Difficulty in putting ideas down on paper Problem with grammar / punctuation Difficulty in composing essays
Spatial awareness Confuse left and right Confuse up and down Find it difficult to read maps Get lost easily
Organisation /Concentration Problem with organising work and other aspect of own life Concentration difficulties Easily distracted
--- Delali Idrissou, Dyslexia Specialist MA Inclusive Education, MA FE Practitioner Postg SpLD Dyslexia - AMBDA Dip. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Dip. Adult Numeracy Member of PATOSS Member of Institute for Learning (MIfL) - QTLS [email protected]