What does it feel like to have dyslexia?

Dyslexia is the most common learning disorder; estimates suggest it affects around 10% of the world’s population.


According to the British Dyslexia Association, “a student with dyslexia may mix up letters within words and words within sentences while reading. They may also have difficulty with spelling words correctly while writing; letter reversals are common. However dyslexia is not only about literacy, [it also] affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved, with problems of memory, speed of processing, time perception, organisation and sequencing”.


Over the years, misunderstanding and ineffective management of the condition has damaged lives; according to UNESCO illiteracy affects around 1 billion people worldwide – a large proportion of whom suffer from a learning difficulty such as dyslexia – while studies show that dyslexic people are over-represented in prisons, and among those with mental health issues.


Graphic Design graduate and dyslexic Sam Barclay’s book I Wonder What It’s Like To Be Dyslexic illustrates, through typography, a variety of different dyslexic reading experiences.






“Being dyslexic, one thing always stood out,” Sam explains.”The available help was always aimed at making me read better. Very little effort was made to help the people around me understand what it feels like to struggle with reading.


“People that have difficulty reading are often capable of thinking in ways that others aren’t. Encouraging those with reading difficulties… to excel in ways that make sense to them is not just important, it’s crucial.”




There are strong links between creativity and the condition. In a 1997 study on 360 foundation students from Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design, London, psychologist Dr Beverley Steffart found that three quarters of those assessed had a form of dyslexia.


“We tend to be very curious, we’re very innovative” said dyslexic fashion designer Paul Smith.


Scientist Albert Einstein, businessman Richard Branson and artist Leonardo da Vinci are just three of a number of highly successful dyslexics.


Do you have dyslexia?


If so watch out for our next blog on the best ways of dealing with the condition while studying.


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