Dyslexia Explained

“I think dyslexia is an extraordinary characteristic, and it is certainly not something that needs to be fixed, or cured, or suppressed! We think outside the box precisely because we have never been in one.”

Jack Horner, famous palaeontologist

Dyslexia is a specific learning difference occurring in individuals with an average to a superior IQ. Any difficulties are inconsistent with the overall intelligence of the dyslexic individual. Dyslexia is genetic in origin and is found in at least 8% of the population. It is a different wiring of the brain, and manifests as a different way of processing information.

It is not only an issue with reading and spelling skills, but more to do with the frustrations of a poor working memory (short-term memory), and difficulties with traditional ways of processing and organising thoughts.

“It’s not a disability, it’s an attribute.”

Luke, engineer with dyslexia

Dyslexia is not a disability but a different ability.

It is a pattern of brain organisation and information processing which will predispose a dyslexic individual to the development of certain valuable skills.

“We’re not slow, we’re different. We think in different ways. You need a different way of thinking, without the dyslexics it wouldn’t be so creative, it would be a different world – Leonardo da Vinci, all that he created, Edison, Darwin, Gates, Ford  – there would be no light bulbs, evolution, telephone, all the biggest inventions, things you see everywhere – there would be no electricity, cars, laptops, we couldn’t stay in contact with everyone in the world.”

Tadhg, a teenage dyslexic

Dealing with dyslexia is about finding creative solutions that will empower people with dyslexia to succeed.

“It’s more common than you ever could imagine, you’re not alone. And there are ways to accelerate your skills. You can dart between the raindrops to get where you want to go, and it will not hold you back.”
Steven Spielberg, film director

“The way I write and the way I see the world is part and parcel of my dyslexia. Us dyslexic people, we’ve got it going on – we are the architects. We are the designers.”

Benjamin Zephaniah, poet

“The advantage of dyslexia is that my brain puts information in my head in a different way.”
Whoopi Goldberg, actor

Illustrations by Danielle Sheehy