An obvious task, a tool for collecting and accumulating information, an everyday activity, a key to communication and learning. For some, reading goes very smoothly. For others, it takes a little more time to learn how to join those disobedient letters into words and understand what those crazy symbols stand for. Things are somewhere there, placed in the surrounding space, can be touched and manipulated, and they are clear and simple. But when a ‘thing’ becomes a word, reading and understanding it can get tricky.
As a matter of fact, letters switching places, syllables falling out, and inverted writing are the most simplified ways how non-dyslexic people imagine dyslexia. Actually, it is way more complicated: for people with dyslexia, words might move while they try to read them, spaces between letters appear, words might even vanish. On top of that, it takes additional practice to memorise what a particular written expression represents. Finally, depending on the severity, dyslexia can affect other functionalities.
According to the official definition proposed by the International Dyslexia Association, “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities <…>”. Other sources present dyslexia as a difficulty with words, and not as a disability. Dyslexia is a condition that requires different ways of reading and coping with written material (and some other cognitive tasks). But different, as in any other case, does not mean inferior.
Dyslexia affects the way that the human brain decodes written material. Thus, it is not about defects of vision organs, and has nothing to do with intelligence. The brain of a dyslexic works differently in comparison to those of non-dyslexics. That means in addition to difficulties, dyslexic individuals have a particular approach towards the surroundings, which frequently is perceived as innovative and artistic. Clear three-dimensional visual thinking is sometimes called their usual strength. Frequently these are the people who naturally think ‘outside the box’, or, in other words, outside the ‘severity of the words’.
Before you leave:
A guide of tools and ways of helping people with dyslexia to read and understand more efficiently:
A quick checklist of dyslexia symptoms:
Dyslexia simulation project for dyslexia awareness:
NINDS Dyslexia Information Page
Written by Gintarė Kudžmaitė
Communication Trainee at TermCoord
Student at the University of Luxembourg