At long last the British educational system is actually investing some money in respect of specialist support for dyslexic children(BBC News 22/06/09). Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary has announced 10m(GBP) to help train teachers in coping with dyslexic children and how to spot the signs. One of the biggest dyslexia charities in the UK, Dyslexia Action, has welcomed it.
Classic Dyslexia - word blindness as it used to be called - is only one manifestation of the condition: being married to one and having both son's suffer from it, I can vouch for this. It is evident throughout my wife's family, stemming from my father-in-law who, along with my sister-in-law are "classic" sufferers.
My wife and eldest son suffer from a curious form in that they cannot tell which way round any writing they are viewing is actually written or printed: my eldest son has also been described as having "eccentric spelling".
The condition is no barrier thanks to the dedication of carers, enlightened teachers and parents and I suspect a lot of people wouldn't realise just how many house-hold names are sufferers. Look here for just a sample.
My youngest son has what has been described by one specialist as "dyslexia in extremis". It manifested itself at the age of two, when most children are starting to communicate: he didn't. One of the unusual symptoms was that he seemed to find it strange that the group of sounds that made up words never changed, the concept was totally alien to him. Slowly but surely, with the expert tuition and help from our local primary school, he is coming to terms with it.
One point that rarely seems to get mentioned in any article, conversation or discussion on the condition is that of the frustration that comes with it. Not just for the parents and carers of the sufferer but of the sufferer themselves. My son has been tested for ADHD more than once because of his extreme frustration at not being understood, and I can understand why being the subject of his rage more than once.
It is nice to know that in these cases, the best medicine is not some form of oral medication but just being there to hug and cuddle this poor, confused, frustrated child until his anger and rage passes.
And to answer those of you out there who would pose the question, would you have it any different?.... yes and no I would love for him not to have to suffer this extreme version of the condition, but would he be the same loving, forthright, outgoing person that it has made him into?
Most importantly, he is my son, and I love him dearly.