Dyslexia is a condition that affects perhaps 1 out of every 10 people. Dyslexics do not perceive things the same way as do non-dyslexics. When they read or look at symbols, their eyes get the same images, but their brains do not interpret them the same way. This causes problems in reading, spelling and going back and forth between the written and the spoken words.
Over the last 25 years, great advances have been made in the study and understanding of dyslexia. We now know, for instance, that having dyslexia does not mean mental impairment, that dyslexics simply process information differently. We also know that dyslexia is widely prevalent, affecting perhaps 105 of the population. Once it is detected, it can be dealt with routinely. In the last 10-15 years it has become common practice to screen all school-age students for dyslexia symptoms at an early age 讀寫障礙.
Any child that exhibits any significant dyslexia symptoms is now routinely screened out and given full dyslexia testing. If the child is found to be dyslexic, he or she is fully diagnosed and then given special training to overcome any problems that might have been identified in the dyslexia testing.
But those of us who graduated from elementary school more than 15 years ago had no such luck. All of us went through the educational system before teachers were trained to look for dyslexia symptoms. And before screening for dyslexia and dyslexia testing became commonplace and widely available.
And so, at that time, the dyslexics amongst us were on their own, with no help and no sympathy from the educational establishment. Most were unfairly and mistakenly branded as “slow learners”, “under-achievers” or a bit slow, not the brightest bulb in the box. Most were embarrassed by their problems, ashamed that they were “different”. Most learned to hide their problems and many devised elaborate defensive mechanisms.
Today approximately 95% of adult dyslexics are unaware that dyslexia is the root cause of their problems with reading, reading aloud, spelling, keeping to a schedule, writing down what someone tells them and other dyslexia symptoms. Unaware of their dyslexic reality they go around still unnecessarily plagued by these problems. They do not know that they could be helped and that almost all of these problems could be easily overcome.
The problem with diagnosing dyslexia in these adult dyslexic individuals is twofold. First off, they don’t know they are dyslexic. Secondly, they consciously and/or unconsciously conceal and cover up their dyslexia symptoms. If you know anyone who has trouble reading, shuns reading aloud, has problems spelling or taking down messages given over the telephone, please encourage them to explore dyslexia testing. Suggest that they take a full dyslexia test to determine, once and for all, whether they are dyslexic or not.
If you have or if anyone you know has any dyslexia symptoms, by all means get yourself or them tested. The test can be done over the internet, from the privacy of your own home or office. It takes half an hour or so and costs less than dinner for two at a medium-good restaurant.