What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning difference. Children with dyslexia especially have difficulty with reading, spelling and with learning foreign languages. However, it is important to note, that dyslexia does not affect the intelligence of a person. It actually is said, that a most dyslexics have average or even above average IQ’s and in addition they also tend to be more creative and better logical thinkers. (Barnes, 2014)
It is also important to note, that dyslexia is very common. According to the European Dyslexia Association, 5-10% of the population has dyslexia, but the number can even be as high as 17%. This definitely makes dyslexia the most common learning difference. (Dyslexia Help at the University of Michigan, 2022)
Dyslexia is a learning difference that gets passed on genetically. In my family for instance, my grandma, mom, and I all have it. But not all family members have to necessarily be dyslexic. For instance my younger brother does not have it.
Dyslexia is caused by a different wiring in the brain. This different wiring makes it harder for a dyslexic person to decode words when reading, but at the same time, it permits people with dyslexia to think more creatively and laterally.
Dyslexia is diagnosed through a series of tests of memory, vision, spelling, and reading skills.
Dyslexia is part of my identity. It will always be by my side. I used to struggle with it a lot in elementary school. Now I’m in Highschool and I have learnt how to deal with it. I have actually found, that the older I get, the more I like being dyslexic. I think dyslexia is definitely misunderstood by most people and more seen as a burden than a gift. Therefore I think it is absolutely crucial, that more awareness should be shared on dyslexia so that the world can also learn about the great gifts of dyslexia, that hardly anyone talks about.
Here is a link by the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity sharing ways to help spread awareness: https://dyslexia.yale.edu/advocacy/toolkit-for-parents-educators-and-students/what-you-can-do/
Assumptions about Dyslexia
It is a rumor that dyslexic people are less intelligent than non dyslexics but in general dyslexics have average or above average IQ`s which a lot of unique strengths that differentiate them from other dyslexics.
It is another common rumor that students with dyslexia will never achieve success in their adult life. This common assumption is invalid because dyslexic people are just as successful as non-dyslexics. Many influential personalities such as Albert Einstein, Galileo Galilei, Leonardo Da Vinci, Winston Churchill, and Thomas Edison were dyslexic. Many of today’s famous entrepreneurs also have dyslexia; Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates. (Barbour 2020)
But dyslexic people are successful in many more areas. For example, some of the most influential artists, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollack, Andy Warhol, and Leonardo Da Vinci, had dyslexia. Without their unique creativity, our art museums would look completely different. But there are influential dyslexics in many other fields. For instance, famous actors such as Kiera Knightly, Orlando Bloom, Jenifer Anniston, and Whoopi Goldberg have dyslexia. The renowned basketball players Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson are also part of the dyslexic community. AS you can see, the list of dyslexic people continues endlessly, proving that dyslexic people make up a valuable part of our society.
When dyslexic children receive the crucial support they need at elementary school level with reading and writing, anything is possible.
Possible Downsides of Dyslexia
Dyslexia becomes a problem when it goes undetected. When parents and educators are not aware of the signs and symptoms of dyslexia, getting the necessary support for struggling dyslexic children will be very difficult. Reading and writing are skills that are essential to most school subjects. An unsupported child with dyslexia may have a disadvantage later in school and college life since having a solid base in reading and writing is vital to keep up with fellow peers. Left untreated, dyslexia may lead to low self-esteem, behavior problems, anxiety, aggression, and withdrawal from friends, parents, and teachers. Therefore early assistance is very beneficial for dyslexic children to thrive later in life.
Barnes, Peter (2014) “Dyslexia & Intelligence: Is There a Connection?” Dyslexia & Intelligence: Is There a Connection?, https://blog.learnfasthq.com/dyslexia-intelligence-is-there-a-connection.
“Frequently Asked Questions.” Dyslexia Help at the University of Michigan, 2022, http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/answers/faq.
Barbour, Heather. “Famous People with Dyslexia [a List of 200+ Actors, Athletes, Musicians & Scientists].” Ongig Blog, 2020, https://blog.ongig.com/diversity-and-inclusion/famous-people-with-dyslexia/.