6 Cognitive impairments, including dyslexia
6.3 Dyslexia (a specific learning difficulty)
In Section 2.4, I tried to give you a flavour of what it's like to have dyslexia. However, there are many different forms of dyslexia and it would be dangerous to think that this disability is easily characterised. Although difficulties with reading and writing are most commonly linked with dyslexia, it can also go beyond the level of words or sentences and affect the way in which people comprehend the totality of concepts.
The British Dyslexia Association provides a useful description of dyslexia, its effects, and the numbers of people affected. The following description comes from their website.
The word ‘dyslexia’ comes from the Greek and means ‘difficulty with words’.
It is a difference in the brain area that deals with language. It affects the underlying skills that are needed for learning to read, write and spell. Brain imaging techniques show that dyslexic people process information differently.
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 to those with university degrees. Dyslexic people, of all ages, can learn effectively but often need a different approach.
Dyslexia is a puzzling mix of both difficulties and strengths. It varies in degree and from person to person. Dyslexic people often have distinctive talents as well as typical clusters of difficulties.
According to the Association's website, Winston Churchill, Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein were all dyslexic.