James Martin didn’t know about his condition until he was 30 years old – the symptoms

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When in conversation with Radio 1 host Mollie King who also has dyslexia, James Martin admitted that he had received critical tweets about his presenting style and also never read an adult book due to having the condition. Dyslexia as defined by the British Dyslexia Association is a learning difference which primarily affects reading and writing skills. But people can also have trouble remembering information they see and hear and organisation skills.

 

According to NHS data, it is estimated that one in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia. Although symptoms differ from person to person there are common signs to look out for as a child and as an adult.

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Delayed speech and jumbling up phrases

Common in preschool aged children, individuals may seem to be developing slower in comparison to other children.

Struggling to pronounce longer words or jumbling up phrases for example saying “beddy tear” instead of “teddy bear” and difficulty with learning nursery rhymes. This can also develop into putting letters and figures the wrong way round when the child starts school.

These symptoms often arise when young people start learning more complex skills such as grammar and reading comprehension. Teachers and caregivers are more likely to notice the development of these symptoms.

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Poor phonological awareness and word attack skills

Keith Stanovich, Professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the University of Toronto states to successfully learn to read and write individuals must learn that words are made up of smaller units of sound. By isolating or blending them sounds together you are able to form words and learn how to spell them.

For people with dyslexia this is a very challenging task. Tests such as a Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing is used to determine whether an individual has difficulty hearing or processing these individual sounds of language.

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Poor handwriting and note-taking

When reaching secondary school education pressures begin to mount including writing essays and completing examinations.

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Although someone with dyslexia can be extremely knowledgeable about a certain topic or can express themselves creatively and artistically at the same time they will struggle in other areas.

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Many students will not be able to take extensive notes while in class or in essays find themselves losing their point quickly.

Behavioural and societal problems

Dyslexia goes beyond that of reading and writing skills, also affecting your social and behavioural skills.

According to Michael Ryan, M.D. and the International Dyslexia Association, individuals become frustrated by their inability to meet expectations and this can lead to them seeming immature and clumsy in relation to others.

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Michael Ryan M.D. said: “My clinical observations lead me to believe that, just as dyslexics have difficulty remembering the sequence of letters or words, they may also have difficulty with social cues. They may be oblivious to the amount of personal distance necessary in social interactions or insensitive to other people’s body language.”

Due to this many people with dyslexia have to concentrate harder and more effort is required to be put into social interactions, which can also lead to them becoming excessively tired.

Compared with the general population, a higher number of children with dyslexia also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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According to some estimates, 30 percent of those with dyslexia also have ADHD, compared with three to five percent of the general school population experiencing both conditions.

Cannot distinguish between directions

Some general symptoms that can make every day tasks tricky for people living with dyslexia include confusing directions.

This can be as simple as not knowing your left and right or develop into more complex symptoms such as undetermined hand writing preference.

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Having a lack of navigation awareness is contributed to by the general forgetfulness that dyslexic people tend to have. They struggle to remember large pieces of information or instructions which can make organisation incredibly difficult.

Symptoms whether experienced in childhood or adulthood do differ for every individual and if you are experiencing some recognisable symptoms it is important to go for further tests.

The British Dyslexic Association states that the first action to take if you are concerned about dyslexia is a screening test. A checklist can also be carried out by a Special Educational Needs Coordinator within schools.

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If an adult is concerned about whether they may be dyslexic or not they will also be screened and checklisted. A formal Dyslexia Diagnostic Assessment is then carried out and a formal report is written.

Although there is no formal cure for dyslexia, the most common way to deal with it is adaptation within your environment. For school children they can receive special educational support and for adults there is a range of technology such as word processors and electronic organisers to aid in everyday life.

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