October is “Dyslexia Awareness Month” and this period aims to help spread the word and open up conversations surrounding this learning disability.
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What is dyslexia?
People with dyslexia generally have difficulty with language-based tasks like reading, writing and spelling. It is classified as a learning disability, and for many, the condition can have severe consequences. It is important to note that people with dyslexia are not necessarily lacking in intelligence, in fact, it can be the contrary.
Experts agree that early detection is important and can have dramatic impact on a person’s future. Issues that arise from an individual with dyslexia’s comprehension and learning capabilities can also have serious social implications. This can include: low self-esteem, behavioural issues, anxiety and general withdrawal from others.
Diagnosis often occurs when a child starts learning to read but, it can also be identified later in life. Indicators may include difficulty forming words or even remembering nursery rhymes for the very young. School-aged children may have difficulty processing what they hear or have a tough time remembering simple sequences. Another indicator may be that they are avoiding activities that involve reading.
Children with dyslexia also have an increased risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and vice versa. This can make treatment more difficult, where such individuals are prone to impulsive behaviour and general hyperactivity.
For adults, difficulty with spelling, mispronouncing names, difficulty memorising things, and even struggling to summarise a story are all possible signs of dyslexia.
Don’t let dyslexia stop you
With or without early intervention, dyslexia should not stop you from pursuing your goals. There’s a long list of people with dyslexia who have eventually become famous and successful, and here are some of them:
- Billionaire Richard Branson once said, “(my dyslexia condition) made me who I am”
- Walt Disney dropped out of high school and was rejected from the army before trying his luck on movie production and animation
- Hollywood A-lister, Jennifer Anniston, was diagnosed with dyslexia in her 20s. Because of her dyslexia, she always thought she wasn’t smart enough. She was quoted saying: “I just couldn’t retain anything. Now I had this great discovery. I felt like all of my childhood trauma-dies, tragedies, dramas were explained.”
- Master Filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who has touched our lives with movies like E.T and Jurassic Park, was diagnosed with dyslexia in his 50s
- Award-winning novelist and screen writer John Irving regards his dyslexia experience positively. He once said, “One reason I have confidence in writing the kind of novels I write is that I have confidence in my stamina to go over something again and again no matter how difficult it is—whether it is for the fourth or fifth or eighth time. It’s an ability to push myself and not be lazy. This is something that I would ascribe to the difficulties I had to overcome at an early age.”
Finding the right support
There’s an extensive range and types of support currently being offered for people with dyslexia. These consultations and services are offered specifically to address individual situations and cases.
Aside from seeking medical help from a doctor, you can also check out these pages and the service that they offer:
- pre-assessment page of the Australian Dyslexia Association’s website
- Australian Dyslexia Association’s business directory page
- Institute for Multisensory Structured Language
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