Understanding Dyslexia – Knowing the Facts

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By Emma M Hamilton

Changing Attitudes to Dyslexia

When I was at school, mid-seventies to mid-eighties, being dyslexic meant you had “special needs” and were sent to the “remedial class” – or, as it was more commonly known, the “numpty class”. In those days there seemed to be a common understanding amongst kids (and many teachers) that dyslexic students were ‘slow’, ‘lazy’ and unlikely to achieve much in life.

Today, thankfully, we have a much better understanding of dyslexia. We know, for example, that dyslexia can cause certain difficulties in processing code-based information such as language. We also know that it can inhibit concentration, memory and recall, leading to the appearance of disorganisation and ‘scattiness’.

We are also more aware of the range of talents displayed by dyslexic people, such as a tendency to be more creative, more innovative and more visually perceptive than their peers. More advanced methods of diagnosing dyslexia has allowed for the development of coping strategies and alternative learning approaches which allow people with dyslexia to achieve their full potential.

Greater awareness also alerts us to a range of dyslexic role models. Some of our most talented individuals are or were dyslexic. Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein and Thomas Eddison are interesting examples of celebrated dyslexic minds, along with people like Richard Branson and Tom Cruise.

Learning with Dyslexia

My own knowledge of dyslexia has come mainly from my students. When I first began teaching English and Communication in a Scottish College, I knew very little about the positive side of dyslexia. Working with dyslexic students and helping them to find strategies for overcoming their learning difficulties has been an exciting and rewarding eye-opener.

A dyslexic mind can bring a whole new dimension to the learning experience. In fact, a dyslexic student can often offer approaches to learning and teaching that make me look like an amateur! The coping strategies that even the least aware dyslexic develops over the years can often help non-dyslexic students see things from a different perspective and enhance their learning too.

My most successful dyslexic students are those who have spent years hiding their difficulties for fear of ridicule, only to find a new confidence and freedom in understanding their dyslexia and learning how to work to their strengths. And although I am still moved each time I find a perfectly intelligent, capable adult shirking in the corner for fear of being ‘discovered’, I now also experience a thrill in knowing that they will soon be making my job a whole lot easier!


Coping with the symptoms of dyslexia is so much easier when you have a clear diagnosis of your specific difficulties as this enables you to adopt a range of methods for overcoming these.

Do you think you may be dyslexic? Would you like to find out? Click on the links below for your FREE dyslexia checklist and find out today. http://www.onlinedyslexia.com http://www.squidoo.com/dyslexia-test-online

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