Explaining dyslexia
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Genevieve Dawid on Dyslexia



As a dyslexic, writing my first, recently published book, ‘The Achiever’s Journey’ (www.theachieversjourney.com) I quickly realised that people were generally not well informed about dyslexia – what it is and how it affects people’s daily lives. Some people see it as a stigma, others believe it to be brain damage; neither of which is true.

Through my research I have identified more than 70 definitions for dyslexia. This further encouraged me to provide a straightforward explanation to help inform the general public on the subject.

Although dyslexics consistently experience difficulties in learning, reading and interpeting numbers, it is well documented that they are highly gifted in other areas. When I was involved in senior recruitment over a ten-year period, I discovered that some 40% of MD’s and CEO’s employed by companies were dyslexic; interestingly, a large number were not university graduates.

Often people are surprised to learn that many individuals live with dyslexia, manage to become highly successful in their particular field. There is also evidence of a strong link between dyslexia and entrepreneurship.

Dyslexia is not brain damage. We don’t read books from the last page to the first. And it is not contagious! It’s estimated that around 10% of the UK population have dyslexia, in varying degrees. It is a specific learning difficulty, generally affecting the ability to read and spell. Many dyslexics also have difficulties with arithmetic, and learning and recalling numbers and related facts.

Although dyslexia is a life-long condition, its effects can be minimised by using specific methods of learning and flexible ways of working. Dyslexia is not influenced by or related to intelligence, race, sexual orientation, gender or social background. Dyslexia varies in severity and often occurs alongside other specific learning difficulties, such as dyspraxia (partial loss of ability to coordinate, and perform routine tasks such as driving, cooking, and grooming - caused by perceptual difficulties), or attention deficit disorder, ADD. As a result dyslexic individuals have differing strengths and weaknesses.

Dyslexia tends to run in families: one study suggests that 80% is hereditary. The degree to which dyslexia may cause difficulties in learning and coping with common everyday chores and situations depends on many factors. These include the severity of the dyslexia, other strengths and abilities a person may have, and the type of education and support they are given.

Dyslexia should not be a barrier to achievement and success if it is properly recognised in society, especially within education and the workplace. Steps should be taken to provide suitable teaching and training in schools and universities, and in the work place, along with compensatory strategies and resources.



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