It has been known for many years that dyslexia is hereditary, possibly going back generations. Members of my own family are dyslexic, on both sides, so it is not surprising all my children have been diagnosed with dyslexia.
Statistically, if dyslexia is apparent in the families of both parents there is an 80% probability of their children having dyslexia. This reduces to 50% if only the father is dyslexic and 40% if the mother is dyslexic. It is also recognised that males tend to be affected more by dyslexia than females.
With the advent of formal education, the literacy aspects of dyslexia has now been well documented identifying the characteristics and traits of dyslexia. Traits which can be traced back through our ancestry to a time when the three-dimensional and visuo-spatial skills of dyslexia would have been in much demand.
‘…dyslexia is best described as a combination of abilities and difficulties which affect the learning process in one or more of reading, spelling and writing’ – Dr. Lindsey Peer, International Dyslexia Consultant
It should be understood that what we have inherited is not a reading difficulty because that is the social aspect. Dyslexia is a biological phenomenon.
‘…the genetics and brain differences of dyslexics lead to one significant life-defining fact; the core phonological deficit’ – Rosemary Scott; Dyslexia and Counselling
Phonology is a key aspect of dyslexia and points towards the specialised approach of the specific teaching required in the remediation of developmental dyslexia. This is a method of teaching which uses structured ‘phonics’ which includes multi-sensory learning and over-learning.
However, another characteristic of the dyslexic profile is the negative ‘self-belief’ of the individual who has dyslexia and the impact it can have upon their early educational and social experiences. For those with dyslexia, their self-esteem and success are constantly being determined by the demands of literacy and its related academic achievements; and these things permeate every last detail of a modern society.
The reality of living day to day with dyslexia can be challenging for the individual particularly if they are undiagnosed, as many problems arise out of a lack of understanding and an awareness of dyslexia by their peers and others, often starting with bullying at school. But if the individual receives early diagnosis about their own dyslexia, they can develop their own understanding and coping strategies.
In the end, it is important to remember that we all see the world in different and unexpected ways, and this is a positive thing. Even if someone is diagnosed with dyslexia, they can still appreciate there is an incredible potential for them and the unique ways in which they can bring their personal creativity to the world.
For more information, contact the British Dyslexia Association – the voice for the 10% of the population that are dyslexic.