Approximately 10% of people suffer with dyslexia and about 5-10% from dyspraxia. There is no single type of either dyslexia or dyspraxia - but groups of characteristics that often overlap. It is often the case that both dyslexia and dyspraxia affect the same person.
What are Dyslexia and Dyspraxia?
They are not mental health conditions or diseases that can be passed from one person to another. They are a condition caused by how the brain works and it is even thought that people with SLD are part of the evolutionary process that allows humans to adapt and think about new ways to cope with changing environments and situations.
The right side of the brain is best at looking at the ‘whole picture’, working with pictures, shapes and colour, expressing emotions, thinking in designs and intuitive understanding. People with dyslexia and dyspraxia are said to be right brain dominant and so have difficulties with the language based learning approaches but work well with images and colour.
Schools have gotten much better over the past 20 years at recognising dyslexia and dyspraxia, and ensuring that young people are tested and given additional support.
This may be an individual Learning Support Assistant provided to help read, scribe and understand what is being taught, or additional time for exams and other activities. The Dyslexia Action group, The Dyspraxia Foundation and other charitable organisations can carry out assessments if your school has not done so. They also offer specific programmes to help support you in overcoming and living with your dyslexia. These range from practical activities to help develop the left-brain functions, as well as strategies such as using images or colour to help with memory and learning.
Activities that involve left and right side coordination are thought to allow the development of pathways in your brain between the left and right side, which can then be used for other functions such as language learning.
For example, learning a musical instrument like the piano, recorder or guitar which requires both hands to do different things, physical activities such as climbing, crawling, touching your toes with the opposite hand, balancing on beam or wobble boards, playing rugby, gymnastics and swimming are all things that need you to use both sides of your body independently.
Having dyslexia and/or dyspraxia does not mean you cannot succeed. There are many people that are exceptional in their chosen careers that are known or thought to have dyslexia. Here are just a few:
Having dyslexia and/or dyspraxia does not need to hold you back. The more you can learn about your condition means that you can be creative about how you overcome your difficulties and how you can get support from those around you to help you succeed.