What is Dyslexia

The word dyslexia comes from the Greek words dys, meaning difficulty, and lexia, meaning language. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. Dyslexia is not a result of lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities, or other limiting conditions, but may be made worse by these conditions. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 15 percent of the American population is affected by dyslexia. Other researchers estimate that one out of five, or 20 percent, of the American population has dyslexia.  Dyslexia is also genetic, so it not uncommon for multiple members of an extended family to be diagnosed with dyslexia.

Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result in problems with reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. (Definition from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development; adopted by the International Dyslexia Association.)

Although dyslexia is the result of a neurological difference, it is not an intellectual disability. Dyslexia is diagnosed in people of all levels of intelligence, average, above average, and highly gifted. With the right support and intervention, however, people with learning disabilities can succeed in school and go on to successful, often distinguished careers later in life.

Here are a few famous and successful people that have been diagnosed with a learning disability:

Albert Einstein Nelson Rockefeller Gen. George Patton
Galileo Mozart Danny Glover
Pablo Picasso Cher William Butler Yeats
Greg Louganis Henry Winkler John Lennon
Robin Williams Charles Schwab Walt Disney