Dyslexia adversely affects many children and teenagers during their school years and, if it is not addressed, it will continue to affect them throughout adulthood.
Dyslexia affects approximately 1 in 10 individuals, many of whom remain undiagnosed and receive little or no intervention services. For some individuals who have never been diagnosed, dyslexia is a hidden disability which may result in underemployment, difficulty navigating academic environments, difficulty on the job, and reduced self-confidence.
Dyslexics in the workplace can display a number of characteristics:
- Employed in a job that hides difficulties in reading, writing or spelling.
- Hides difficulties from co-workers, friends and sometimes family.
- Becomes frustrated at planning meetings and sequential tasks; just wants to get on with it.
- Becomes frustrated or overwhelmed with long forms or sequential processes.
- Thrives in careers where visual-spatial/hands-on talents can be realised, for example: business owner, engineer, trades (carpentry, plumbing, electrical), interior decorator, actor, musician, police/investigation, athlete, and business executive (usually with staff or assistant).
- May pass up promotions or advancement opportunities which require more administrative work.
- May have difficulty focusing and staying on one task, yet may feel comfortable managing many different tasks simultaneously.
- Difficulty with tests – passing standard tests can be a barrier to career advancement.
- Highly successful, over achiever.
- May be a perfectionist and overreact when a mistake is made.
- Outside-the-box thinker.
- Very controlling and operates according to very strict rules.
- Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.
The stress associated with tests and exams may lead people with dyslexia to avoid further education and also some types of jobs. They are frequently very bright individuals and their frustration may be worsened by ending up in a boring and intellectually unchallenging type of job.
With specific regard to reading, writing and spelling, adults with dyslexia may experience some of these phenomena:
- Likes larger, clear print over unusual fonts.
- Avoids reading out loud. May dislike public speaking.
- Has adopted compensatory tricks to remember spelling and words that sound the same (their, there, they're), or has poor or inconsistent spelling.
- Frequently has to re-read a sentence in order to understand it.
- Gets tired or becomes bored quickly while reading.
- Relies on others (assistants, spouses, significant others) for written correspondence.
- Uncertainty with words, punctuation, and spelling when writing. Reliance on spell-check and grammar-check.
- Poor handwriting; poor or inconsistent spelling.
- Writes with all capital letters, or mixes capital letters within words. Abbreviates words frequently.
Many adults with dyslexia hold resentment and disappointment for not having achieved their potential in the workplace and in their personal lives. They may find that they get frustrated at themselves, or blame others for their unhappiness. They may experience bouts of anger and/or depression.
Nevertheless, there are many dyslexics who have overcome their difficulties and lead successful and happy lives. Examples of famous and successful people with dyslexia include Orlando Bloom, Richard Branson, Tom Cruise, Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Whoopi Goldberg, John F Kennedy, George Washington, George W Bush, John Lennon, Jamie Oliver, Pablo Picasso and Steven Spielberg.