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"Being dyslexic can actually be a big advantage"- Dyslexia Awareness Week 2020

Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,277 Pioneering
edited October 6 in Learning difficulties

It's Dyslexia Awareness Week this week, so I thought I’d write a little bit about what dyslexia is, how it can be a strength, how it’s portrayed in the media, and what support there is available for those living with dyslexia.

What is dyslexia?

The following information has been taken from the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) website, where you can read more about what dyslexia is, and what support there is available. 

Dyslexia is a learning difference that mainly affects reading and writing skills, but is actually about the way someone processes information. People with dyslexia may have difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear, which can affect learning, and the acquisition of literacy skills. Dyslexia can also influence other abilities, such as organisational skills.

Dyslexia can have a significant impact during education, in the workplace, and in everyday life. As each person is unique, so is everyone’s experience of dyslexia. It can range from mild to severe, and it can co-occur with other learning differences. It usually runs in families, and is a life-long condition.

It's not uncommon, either. Around 10-15% of people in the UK have dyslexia, so it's really important that we all try to understand the condition a bit better.

person reading book sitting with cross legs

Can dyslexia be a strength?

The theme of Dyslexia Week this year is ‘dyslexia creates’. Dyslexia creates artists, entrepreneurs, and game changers, but we know that it also creates challenges, inequality, and prejudice.

People with dyslexia are often more creative and better at problem-solving, and some jobs are known to have far higher numbers of dyslexics, including: 

  • Actors
  • Mechanics
  • Architects
  • Video game designers
  • Engineers

Here are some people with dyslexia who have become highly successful in their chosen field:

  • Muhammad Ali
  • Keira Knightley
  • Orlando Bloom
  • Albert Einstein
  • Agatha Christie
  • Richard Branson (who said the quote in the title of this post)

How is dyslexia portrayed in the media?

Dyslexia is one of the more commonly represented learning differences in the media, but that’s not to say that these portrayals are always accurate. They are often based on simple stereotypes, and fail to explore the impacts of dyslexia beyond difficulty reading and spelling. They also tend to focus on the impacts of dyslexia of children, and omit the experiences of adults with the lifelong condition.

A TV show I watched recently that explored the longer-term consequences of not adequately supporting children with dyslexia in school was Channel 4’s ‘The Write Offs’. The show depicted a group of illiterate adults, many of whom had dyslexia. They were each given intensive, personalised, one-to-one tuition, and were set tasks that would take them out of their comfort zone and test their skills of reading and writing. By the end, they had all made massive improvements in their literacy levels, but also gained the confidence to further improve their skills and become more independent.

What support is there available?

The following information has been taken from the European Dyslexia Association website

Without appropriate support, children who are dyslexic can sometimes struggle in school. However, they can be helped to learn with teaching that is success orientated, structured, systematic, and evidence-based. 

They will also require a great deal of support and encouragement, as dyslexic people are often so used to being wrong that they are afraid to take risks and lose all belief in themselves and their abilities. They often underestimate their skills and knowledge and seem to assume, because they have difficulty in reading, spelling and writing, that they can't do anything well.

What support can the BDA offer?

  • A national helpline offering free advice
  • Campaigning for better diagnosis and support in education
  • Championing and share new research and ideas
  • Raising awareness

What support can I get at school and work?

Education

  • Teaching in small groups with a learning support assistant
  • One to one lessons with a specialist teacher
  • Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP)

The workplace

If you have dyslexia, you could qualify for reasonable adjustments at work, including:

  • Assistive technology, e.g. digital recorders, speech to text software
  • Verbal instructions rather than written instructions
  • Extra time for tasks you find difficult
  • Providing information in accessible formats
You can read more about what support you might be able to access on this NHS webpage.

Did you watch Channel 4’s ‘The Write Offs’? What did you think?

What do you think schools and employers could do to support people with dyslexia to reach their full potential? 

Do you know of any other famous or successful people who have dyslexia?

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Replies

  • vikingqueenvikingqueen Member Posts: 165 Pioneering
         My son-in-law is dyslexic and kept it to himself for a long time. Since having children they sit down with daddy and teach him to read and write and he is no longer ashamed.. He runs his own very large business with the help of my daughter and the children and I couldn't be prouder of him. My step-daughters boyfriend on the other hand uses it as a tool to claim benefits and tells people he is disabled because of it, he just doesn't want to try.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,277 Pioneering
    You should definitely feel proud of your son-in-law, he sounds like he's made a real success of himself @vikingqueen :) 

    I wonder why he doesn't want to try... Perhaps he's worried he might fail? 
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  • vikingqueenvikingqueen Member Posts: 165 Pioneering
       Thank you @Tori_Scope I couldn't be more proud of my son-in -law, he works extremely hard for his family but needs to balance family life and work sometimes ..
      As for the other one he is just lazy and quite happy to sit on his rear doing nothing. Some people just don't want any help
  • dolfrogdolfrog Member Posts: 427 Pioneering
    @Tori_Scope
    Dyslexia is a man made problem concerning decoding and recoding the visual notation of speech, or the graphic symbols society chooses to represent the sounds of speech.
    Dyslexia is language dependent.
    There are two types of dyslexia. Acquired Dyslexia, also known as Alexia, is caused by brain injury, stroke, atrophy, etc which is concerned with those loosing or have lost the previously acquired skills to decode and recode the visual notation of speech. And Developmental Dyslexia which has a genetic causes. There are three cognitive subtypes of Developmental Dyslexia - Auditory, Visual and Attentional. Which means that an Auditory Processing Disorder, a Visual Processing Disorder, an Attention Deficit Disorder, or any combination of these issues can cause the Dyslexic Symptom
    So those who are classified as being dyslexic need to identify the underlying cognitive / clinical / medical cause of their dyslexic symptom, so that they can fully understand the nature of their own specific disability, and the limitations it or they impose. And more importantly identify the alternative compensating skills and abilities that they will be best able to access to work around their personal limitations.
    This will also prevent others who do not have one of these disabilities from falsely claiming to be dyslexic.

    Some Research papers:
    A case study of an English-Japanese Bilingual with monolingual dyslexia
    Cracking the Code: The Impact of Orthographic Transparency and Morphological-Syllabic Complexity on Reading and Developmental Dyslexia
    Cognitive subtypes of dyslexia.
    Cognitive subtypes of dyslexia are characterized by distinct patterns of grey matter volume
    A multidisciplinary approach to understanding developmental dyslexia within working-memory architecture: genotypes, phenotypes, brain, and instruction.
    A structural–functional basis for dyslexia in the cortex of Chinese readers
    The neurological basis of developmental dyslexia
    Theories of developmental dyslexia: insights from a multiple case study of dyslexic adults
    Neural Noise Hypothesis of Developmental Dyslexia
    Unstable Representation of Sound: A Biological Marker of Dyslexia
    Auditory Processing in Noise: A Preschool Biomarker for Literacy 
    For Reading Development, Auditory Processing Is Fundamental
    Auditory Roots of Literacy Skills
    Visual word learning in adults with dyslexia
    Sequential Prediction of Literacy Achievement for Specific Learning Disabilities Contrasting in Impaired Levels of Language in Grades 4 to 9
    Children With Reading Difficulty Rely on Unimodal Neural Processing for Phonemic Awareness
    Does audio-visual binding as an integrative function of working memory influence the early stages of learning to write?
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11145-019-09974-3#Abs1 

    and may like to have a look at " Some PubMed Dyslexia Research Paper Collections" 
    https://www.evernote.com/shard/s329/sh/b7ee9497-d963-4b30-a328-0d7b087e0d09/2f19fea1f77027b91566b316fb1989f0   

    Dyslexia is a shared symptom, and the underlying cognitive causes should be clinically diagnosed :-
    Auditory Processing Disorder by an Audiologist
    and or
    Visual Processing Disorder by an Optometrist
    and or
    Attention Deficit Disorder by a Psychiatrist



  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,277 Pioneering
    Thank you for all of the extra resources @dolfrog! Certainly a lot of food for thought
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  • dolfrogdolfrog Member Posts: 427 Pioneering
    @Tori_Scope
    I am dyslexic, and The temporal type of Auditory Processing Disorder is the underlying cognitive cause of my dyslexia symptom.
    There are many more symptoms due to my Auditory Processing Disorder, which is a listening disability, or the brain having problems processing what the ears hear. Which includes all sound based communication, such as speech, and the visual notation of speech, the written word.  

    The biggest problem is the corrupt dyslexia industry, which does not want to begin to understand the research that explains the underlying cognitive causes of the dyslexia symptom. They only want to make money marketing and selling programs, and then there are those who so called professionals who make money bogusly diagnosing a shared symptom as a condition, such is the high level of corruption
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,277 Pioneering
    That's interesting @dolfrog, I hadn't realised the two could be linked. 

    I'm wondering what you wish the professionals would do to help people like yourself? Is there a gap in provision for people with auditory processing disorder that you wish was being filled? 
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  • dolfrogdolfrog Member Posts: 427 Pioneering
    edited October 13
    That's interesting @dolfrog, I hadn't realised the two could be linked. 

    I'm wondering what you wish the professionals would do to help people like yourself? Is there a gap in provision for people with auditory processing disorder that you wish was being filled? 
    I was the first Adult in the UK to be clinically diagnosed as having Auditory processing Disorder back in 2003.
    I had previously been identified as being dyslexic sin 1996.
    I have had Auditory Processing Disorder all of my life but was only diagnosed in my late 40s

    I was asked to set an Auditory Processing Disorder support organisation in 2002 to help the UK Medical Research Council gain government funding for a 5 year Auditory Processing Disorder research program.
    I set up APDUK in 2002-2003 and the Medical Research council got their funding in 2004. The research program was run at Nottingham University, and run by Prof. David Moore, who I have met on numerous occasions. (APDUK was wound up in 20014)
    The research program recommended that those of us who have Auditory Processing Disorder should be assessed and diagnosed by a multi-discipline team Audiologists, Speech and Language, and Psychologists.
    Unfortunately here in the UK even trying to find an audiologists who is trained and qualified to assess and diagnose Auditory processing disorder is almost impossible, such is their negligence.

    Back in 2012 /2013 I was asked to publicise the 2013 International Dyslexia Symposium by Prof. John Stien which was held at oxford University. The symposium was for a week, where they discussed the three underlying cognitive causes of the the dyslexia symptom Auditory Processing Disorder, Visual Processing Disorder, Attention Deficit disorder, and also memory issues, genetic issues etc. They also held an open day, at the end of the week to discuss these issues with adult dyslexics, parents of children who are dyslexic and various related professionals.

    So there is a massive gap in assessment and support provision.
    Basically those who identify dyslexia(including educational psychologists) need to refer those identified as being dyslexic need to then refer these individual to the one or more of the clinical professionals trained and qualified to assess and diagnose the various underlying causes of dyslexia. specifically - Audiologists, and or Optometrists, and or Psychiatrists.

    And those suspected of having Auditory  Processing Disorder should be assess and diagnosed by a multi-discipline team - Audiologists to assess and diagnose the Auditory processing disorder issues.
    Speech and Language to assess  the speech and language issues caused by the underlying Auditory Processing Disorder
    Psychologists,to assess the issues such as stress and anxiety caused by having to live with Auditory Processing Disorder, and may be not being able to develop and use alternative compensating skills and abilities to work around our life long sound processing limitations. 
    You might find my new Evernote web page of some interest 

    I have also just compiled a list of my Evernote Auditory Processing Disorder web pages, which includes some graphics which try to help explain the specific web pages 
    "My Evernote Auditory Processing Disorder Web Pages & Some Graphics".

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,277 Pioneering
    Wow, well it certainly sounds as though you've done a lot for the cause @dolfrog! I've bookmarked those two links so that I can have a read of them at some point. It seems like a really interesting topic, so thank you for sharing.

    Encouraging multi-discipline teams makes sense, and I think it's something that could be applied to the diagnosis of, and creation of personal action plans for, many different impairments. 

    I'm sorry that you got diagnosed later on in life, but hopefully your awareness-raising is making a real difference. I think I read in another thread that you run a Facebook page for people with Auditory Processing Disorder? 
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  • dolfrogdolfrog Member Posts: 427 Pioneering
    Wow, well it certainly sounds as though you've done a lot for the cause @dolfrog! I've bookmarked those two links so that I can have a read of them at some point. It seems like a really interesting topic, so thank you for sharing.

    Encouraging multi-discipline teams makes sense, and I think it's something that could be applied to the diagnosis of, and creation of personal action plans for, many different impairments. 

    I'm sorry that you got diagnosed later on in life, but hopefully your awareness-raising is making a real difference. I think I read in another thread that you run a Facebook page for people with Auditory Processing Disorder? 
    I set up my Facebook Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) group in 2009, to try to expand the discussions which in most other APD groups is dominated by parents of children who may have APD.
    Unfortunately they tend to looking for a quick fix for what is a life long disability, and they tend to be easily manipulated by those trying to market and provide programs . (one of these programs was marketed by a USA university, the program was developed by one of their academics. I later found out that the university employed its students to telephone market the program , to help improve the universities facilities including new building etc.)
    So my Facebook group was set up to enable and encourage adult who have APD to explain what it like to live with APD, especially as children who a diagnosed as having APD grow up to be adults living with APD,
    Some parents do not even explain to their children that they have APD, and it is only as adults many have to find out what living with APD is about. 
    Currently my group has just over 16,000 members mainly from the USa but there are members from all around the globe.
    In the 2000s I ran an Yahoo adult APD group the OldAPDs which and some of the members participated in an online Adult APD research program Run by Australian Psychologist Damien Howard, and the main resulting articles "Controlling the Chaos" and "The Trouble with Stangers" can be downloaded from articles page of Damien's web site at 
    http://www.eartroubles.com/articles.html 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,277 Pioneering
    That's really impressive @dolfrog. It's tricky when parents decide against telling their children about a diagnosis, but it's good that you've created such a large support network for adults across the world :) Keep it up!
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  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 10,556 Scope community team
    Really interesting post! :)
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  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Administrator Posts: 755 Pioneering
    This was a great read, thank you Tori :) 
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