A person painting on a canvas. On the person's head there are graphics of a cat, a book, a plant, a clock and other objects super-imposed, to show that they are a visual thinker.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dyslexia

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability. Despite this, it is still not commonly discussed in social, professional or educational environments.

So, we’re bringing you everything you need to know in this article!

To show you just how important learning about dyslexia is, consider that it has been identified all over the world.

People from all abilities and cultural backgrounds have it. The International Dyslexia Association estimates that up to 20 per cent of the population has traits of dyslexia. So, a massive number of people can benefit from dyslexia awareness and accessibility.

What is Dyslexia?

The exact causes of dyslexia are not completely understood, though it involves differences in the brain’s ‘phonological’ processing system, which is responsible for sorting out, analyzing, and sequencing sounds heard in spoken language, as well as environmental risk factors (which scientists are still learning about).

People with dyslexia usually have a cluster of ‘expressions’ of it, and these can vary from person to person. People with dyslexia present difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. This can include trouble spelling words, reading quickly, writing words, ‘sounding out’ words, pronouncing words when reading aloud and understanding what one reads.

Although it is sometimes assumed, dyslexia is not related to intelligence and is not an intellectual disability.

Dyslexia often runs in families. Parents with dyslexia are likely to have children with dyslexia.

Interesting (and Cool) Effects of Dyslexia

Dyslexia is often called a learning disability because it can make it difficult for a student to succeed academically in a typical educational environment. However, this ‘disability’ is what many see as their greatest strength, because it is often associated with high levels of creativity, strong problem-solving, strong three-dimensional thinking abilities and giftedness.

Here are some things that people with dyslexia tend to express more than others.

1. Visual Thinking

Research has found that that children with dyslexia have enhanced picture recognition memory and better memory of pictures than words.

Many people with dyslexia often think in images as opposed to words, which is attributed to the unique activations in their brains.

People with dyslexia are also more likely to form 3D spatial images in their minds than non-dyslexic people. This unique spatial ability can be correlated with higher performances in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) areas. Students who may lag in reading can excel when spatial expertise and problem-solving abilities are more heavily required.

2. Entrepreneurial Skills

A much greater percentage of people with dyslexia are entrepreneurs, when compared to the general population.

This might not be so surprising, because entrepreneurship is all about seeing the big picture, problem-solving, and learning from mistakes. These are all skills that people with dyslexia often learn at a young age.

Famous entrepreneurs Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver and Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad all have dyslexia.

Additionally, many entrepreneurs cite good communication as a key factor in their success.

“Entrepreneurs are masters at communicating with their team, their customers and the media. They have a clear, uncomplicated style of communication that wins hearts and minds,” said Julie Logan, Professor of Entrepreneurship at London’s Cass Business School.

3. Heightened Creativity

Although there is no conclusive data showing that people with dyslexia are more creative than the general population, musicians, artists and authors with dyslexia are extremely plentiful, so it’s easy to believe there is a connection between dyslexia and creativity.

This has also long been an area of scientific study, and researchers are looking into possible connections between dyslexia and creativity to this day.

Communicating and Working with People with Dyslexia

Dyslexia is often misunderstood in social life and the workplace, and this can create significant access challenges for people with dyslexia.

Here are some ways you can ease communication, and bring out the best, most innovative thinking in the workplace.

  • Use the OpenDyslexic font for text. This font is uniquely designed to boost readability with increased boldness in the base of letters, such as ‘d’ and ‘b’. It’s available in our live captioning service and provides support for people with dyslexia.
  • Highlight essential information. Sometimes information or directions are written in paragraph form and contain many units of information. These can be overwhelming for people with dyslexia. Underline or highlight the significant parts.
  • Make information available in written and audiovisual formats for review. Replaying and reviewing allows someone the opportunity to clarify their understanding.
  • Use assistive technology where appropriate. Assistive technology products such as tablets and text-to-speech programs can be useful to tailor content to fit accessibility needs and preferences.
  • Combine verbal and visual information. Verbal information can be provided with visual displays (e.g., a handout supplementing the presentation).
  • Provide a copy of any notes. Offer a copy of notes to those who have difficulty taking notes during meetings or presentations. Professional note-taking services can help.
  • Provide an outline of presentations and meetings. An outline enables one to follow along successfully and make appropriate notes. Moreover, an outline helps one to see the organization of the material and ask timely questions.

Making an Effort

There you have it! Dyslexia is a dynamic disability, and chances are that you know someone who has it.

Making an effort to make your communication and information accessible for people with dyslexia will make a huge difference to many people.

Get in touch with us at Ai-Media if you’re interested in learning more about captioning in the OpenDyslexic font.

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