Dyslexia and Specific Difficulties: Overview

Information contained on this page includes:

1. What is Dyslexia?
2. How it feels to be Dyslexic.
3. Where to look for help.
4. Advice and Information.
5. Other sources of help.

1. What is Dyslexia?

  • The word 'dyslexia' comes from the Greek and means 'difficulty with words'.
  • It is a life long, usually genetic, inherited condition and affects around 10% of the population.
  • Dyslexia occurs in people of all races, backgrounds and abilities, and varies from person to person: no two people will have the same set of strengths and weaknesses.
  • Dyslexia occurs independently of intelligence.
  • Dyslexia is really about information processing: dyslexic people may have difficulty processing and remembering information they see and hear. This can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills.
  • Dyslexia is one of a family of Specific Learning Difficulties. It often co-occurs with related conditions, such as dyspraxia, dyscalculia and attention deficit disorder.
  • On the plus side, dyslexic people often have strong visual, creative and problem solving skills and are prominent among entrepreneurs, inventors, architects, engineers and in the arts and entertainment world. Many famous and successful people are dyslexic.

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2. How it feels to be Dyslexic.

‘I see things from a different perspective.’

‘I can come up with solutions no one else has thought of and I think fast on my feet.’

‘When I am reading, occasionally a passage will get all jumbled up, but when it happens I have to read and re-read the passage over again.

‘I know what I want to say, but I can never find the right words.’

‘In formal situations, although I know what I want to say, I struggle, lose focus and then my mind goes blank and I panic.'

‘I have the right ideas, but I can’t get them down on paper.’

‘It’s like my computer crashing with too much information!’

‘Sometimes when I am being told what to do, the words I hear get all jumbled up in my mind and I just can’t take in what is being said to me.’

‘In general conversation with family, friends and colleagues they usually accept that I tend to ramble, forget and repeat,…. because that’s part of me’.

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3. Where to look for help.

Further information sheets in this section for Adults and Employers offer extensive information and details of sources of advice.

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4. Advice and Information

Contact the B.D.A's National Helpline. The Helpline is completely free and confidential for all those who are in touch with dyslexia for every age group.

All information, advice and signposting is completely confidential and impartial enabling the caller to make important choices and decisions for themselves.

Some Local Dyslexia Associations have helpliners specialising in information for dyslexic adults. Others have general helpliners who may be able to help with adult enquiries.

Assessment, Advice, Tuition.

There is a list of B.D.A. Organisational Members available. Some of these offer services to dyslexic adults. They usually charge for these services.

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5. Other sources of help.

  • The Disability Employment Advisor at your local Job Centre.
  • Adult Basic Education Centre.
  • C.A.B: Citizens' Advice Bureau.
  • Your council's Neighbourhood Office.
  • Your trade union, if applicable.
  • Your local Disability Information Service (http://www.dialuk.info)

British Telecom services.

  • Free Directory Enquiries is a service for anyone who is unable to use a Telephone Directory easily. It is available to people with dyslexia.
  • For registration details call free on Tel: 195.

Email discussion group.

This is a dyslexia forum and includes discussions by and for dyslexic people.

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