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Dyslexia refers to a problem people have with writing words. The same people may have very little or no problem with speaking words. These problems with writing words may include:

  • funny and inconsistent spelling of words.
  • untidy handwriting.

How many people have it?

It seems to affect about four in every hundred people but many more may be a bit dyslexic.

Why is dyslexia a problem?

People with dyslexia tend to get frustrated because their ability to write is so much worse that their ability at thinking and talking - and this may lead them to thinking that they are no good at anything.

Does it happen because you are not trying hard enough at your spelling and writing?

No. The problem is not to do with how hard you try (though unfortunately dyslexia is sometimes mistaken for laziness) and actually with some dyslexics the harder they try the worse it gets.

What other things do we know about dyslexia?

  • it tends to be more common in boys.
  • it tends to run in families.

People with dyslexia:

  • may have been a bit clumsy early in life, and crawled and walked late as well as learning how to speak and read late when they were younger.
  • may find it harder to learn the days of the week and multiplication tables.
  • may find it harder telling right from left.
  • lose their place very easily when reading.
  • may have difficulty following instructions.
  • may find that the problems with dyslexia get worse when taking exams.

What do you do if you think that you have it?

There are special word and spelling tests, usually done by psychologists (who are linked to schools) which help show whether you have dyslexia or not.

Tell your school/college

If you know that you have dyslexia it is very important that your teacher at school or college knows about it - so do please tell them and not try and hide it away. Getting extra help in school if you have dyslexia can be a struggle but it is worth trying to get it. It is possible for college students with dyslexia to get help in the form of a Disabled Student's Allowance from the Local Education Authority (LEA). This allowance is only available for undergraduate students. To be considered for the allowance you need to:

  • have been accepted by a college or university.
  • receive an award from the local education authority.
  • have been proved to be disabled.

Things to help if you are dyslexic

  • Relax and make sure you don't get overtired particularly before exams
  • When studying take regular breaks as people with dyslexia have problems with the length of time that they can concentrate for. Work for half an hour or less before taking a five minute break.
  • Work in a quiet room without music, TV or other people distracting you.
  • Keep the place where you are working neat and well organised.
  • Try filing all your notes from work immediately you have made them, and keep a diary of all your school and social activities and homework deadlines.
  • Try and use a computer to write with if you can - because the word processing programmes like spell check will help you.