Dyslexia refers to a difficulty in learning to read in a person who has good intelligence, strong motivation, and who has received appropriate teaching.
Logic says such a child or adult should be a good reader, and yet, he or she struggles to read. And so, dyslexia represents a paradox, particularly in our society, where reading is often taken as a proxy for intelligence. It is assumed if you are a good reader, you are also highly intelligent and if you struggle to read you must not be so smart.
Dyslexia violates that assumption because people who are dyslexic are highly intelligent, but struggle to read. In fact, children and adults who are dyslexic often excel at problem solving, reasoning, seeing the big picture, and thinking out of the box. Sometimes because dyslexic children are so bright and seem to have all the cognitive "equipment" seemingly necessary to read, their continuing struggles are blamed on lack of motivation or not trying hard enough.
Nothing could be further from the truth; dyslexic children want to learn to read. They work very hard at what they see their classmates do so effortlessly and yet, reading often remains difficult. Fortunately, scientific studies, including brain imaging, now explain why such bright dyslexic children, through no fault of their own, have to work so hard to read. Dyslexic children's brains are wired differently; some parts having to do with reading may have a few glitches while other parts having to do with creative thinking, empathy, and analysis may work especially well.
Strong scientific progress has now identified the best approaches to identify and to treat children and adults with dyslexia at all levels and at all ages. In all, many now have a much broader view of dyslexia, one that includes reading difficulties but also encompasses a whole different way of thinking and perhaps, of seeing the world.
Copyright 2008, The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity ‰¥¢ Yale School of Medicine