Dyslexia Action

Do you think that the the word "Dyslexia" is misleading? Should it be changed?

Dyslexia means a discomfort with words. Well I accept that of course it is exactly that, but doesn't it also mask the many other underlying problems with Dyslexics.

I am apparently "Severely Dyslexic" I don't however have great difficulties with reading or writing but it is a problem for me. Many of the other symptoms are far more pronounced in my case. I have been told a few times that I cant be Dyslexic because I don't write my letters backwards and I can read.

I find this very frustrating as to then try to explain my Dyslexia suddenly starts sounding like I'm trying to make excuses for my failings and im pretty sure that quite often people don't believe me.

36 Replies

I dont like the word dyslexia, one because its hard to spell and say but two because people dont understand what it means, i actually had an employer say that i couldnt be dyslexic because i was good at filing in my reports. Apparently she believed that people with dyslexia couldnt write! Ignorance is a real problem.

I had another occasion where I had an interview (i informed them that i was dyslexic and have irlen syndrome) After the interview i got a rejection email. I asked for feedback, they stated that it was disrespectful for me to be wearing sunglasses during the interview (i wear slightly blue tinted glasses to help me throughout the day) Unfortunately it was made worse by the fact that it was for a SEN position in a school!

So yes it should be changed, or at least their should be public awareness campaigns.



this is the wrong approach. just because somebody or people mis understand or don't have greater knowledge on a subject , doesn't mean the subject should be changed. it means the subject needs to be taught in many ways for others to understand in their own way, just like somebody understanding subjects like maths, English etc, we all learn at different rates of speed and understanding but doesn't mean the topic word needs changing to suit the few that don't understand.


"noun /dis'lekse?/

A general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence"

"A severe difficulty in understanding or using one or more areas of language, including listening, speaking, reading, writing, and spelling."

so your short worded meaning is incorrect and misleading "Dyslexia means a discomfort with words"

its simply your misguided understanding of the meaning thats wrong.

there are many ways and functions that are effected by it , not just somebodys way of reading and writing


mathewlisett, I find your response just a little pedantic and insulting to be honest.

"Word Origin & History


c.1887, from Ger. dyslex, from Gk. dys- "bad, abnormal, difficult" (see dys-) + lexis "word," from legein "speak" (see lecture). Dyslexic (n.) is first recorded 1961; dyslectic (adj.) from 1964.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Cite This Source

American Heritage

Medical Dictionary

dyslexia dys·lex·i·a (dis-lek'se-?)


A learning disorder marked by impairment of the ability to recognize and comprehend written words.

dys·lec'tic (-lek'tik) n.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary

Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Cite This Source

American Heritage

Science Dictionary

dyslexia (dis-lek'se-?) Pronunciation Key

A learning disability marked by impairment of the ability to recognize and comprehend written words."

I understand exactly what dyslexia is! im saying that because it is generally misunderstood by nearly everybody I talk to that maybe a name change would be an opportunity to describe the condition more effectively. I really dont think that without a major re-education of the general public and to raise public awareness (as Laura suggests) and that will never happen, it will always be just a difficulty with words and it clearly goes far beyond that.


"mathewlisett, I find your response just a little pedantic and insulting to be honest"

first and foremost let me point something out. "pedantic" means stating something in very minute detail.

secondly your insulted by what i said.

ok well, not my problem if you are insulted by the fact im being detailed in my approach with the answers i give considering YOU gave the question requesting answers. if you are insulted, then maybe its you that has the issue not anybody else.

and as ive said before, just because in general people misunderstand a meaning by the word of a subject does not mean that word needs changing to satisfy the understanding of those who may not understand. it would be those that dont understand or may be misguided by the word to take a position and learn more about the word and meaning behind it.

if we took the stance of changing many words that we know of to simply satisfy and make somebody's understand of those words easier, then we would be changing each word on a constant basis. it would also mean the dictionary would be useless, the spell check would be pointless and the education system as we know it (even though that's currently being looked at) would have no point to it.


You appear to be a little lost or confused on this, Oh well, I tried.


Oh do please explain, because unless you do. your comments will just look empty


Im sure you can understand what im saying!


What im starting to understand is that when you dont seem to like a reply, or dont have a response. you will infact do replies like this and wind the other people like me up.


or maybe I just cant be bothered to argue with you, I shouldn't bother getting wound up about something so trivial. Keep calm and move on!!


Dear RATTER 15,

I, on the other hand, find nothing amiss with the thoughtful and thorough response that mathewlisett gave. He himself is a dyslexic, and has studied and written much about his own personal experiences in hopes of educating those of us with the diagnosis as well as the world at large so that all may better understand and cope with our problems.

Cheers! digits


mathewlisett, after re-reading your definition of Dyslexia you also appear to be under the impression that dyslexia is just a difficulty with language.

How about the following symptoms taken from a couple of dyslexia sites.

•May avoid reading and writing tasks.

•May have poor memory skills.

•May pay too little attention to details or focus too much on them.

•May have difficulty with planning, organizing and managing time, materials and tasks.

•Avoids writing; may not be able to write.

•Often has good "people" skills.

•Erratic spelling.

•Difficulties with sequences e.g. date order.

•Inaccurate number work.

•prone to motion-sickness

•Can count, but has difficulty counting objects.

•Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.

•Reads and rereads with little comprehension.

•Has extended hearing; hears things not said or apparent to others; easily distracted by sounds.

•Difficulty putting thoughts into words.

•Can be class clown.

•Prone to ear infections.

•Strong sense of justice; emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection.

•Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health.

•Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced.

•writes everything as one very long sentence.

•becomes visibly tired after reading for only a short time.

•Writing is a slow, laboured, non-automatic chore.

•frequently loses his/her place when copying.

•They have extremely messy bedrooms, lockers, desks, backpacks, purses, offices, and garages.

•Has poor confidence and self-esteem.

•Has areas of strength as well as weakness.


"mathewlisett, after re-reading your definition of Dyslexia you also appear to be under the impression that dyslexia is just a difficulty with language. "

where have you read this?

and to me, language is information, from speaking, reading, writing, communication, the way our body's move, the sound that is created from us or around us.


10 out of 10 for trying. :-)


are you now simply trying to act like a troll. as you are coming across rather disrespectful towards me.


Troll! never, just not worthy pursuing this conversation.


not worthy? your the one putting my replies into question and im the one questioning you as you are literally accusing me of somethign being said and i wont stand for that




I dont care what you call it, its how you explain to people the areas of difficulty you personally have, and how Dyslexia isnt just about reading and writing and youre not stupid either. I have 16 of the above 27 symptoms.I wasnt diagnosed till I was 50 (54 now) but had problems all through school and beyond. I was told when I was tested that I "have above average intelligence". I can read, write and spell well enough, though I read very slowly because it never makes sense right away. I struggle with sequences, co-ordination, and memory. I am a "blue dyslexic". I suppose Id call Dyslexia a mental malfunction of communication.


Hi, can you tell me what is Blue Dyslexic please?


If i put a sheet of blue plastic over what im reading, it makes it easier to read. Dont ask me how,lol. Some people are yellow!!


My 12 year old just diagnosed with Dyslexia. Reading is extremely hard for him. Is there a proper name for the blue plastic overlays? We are also battling writing and speech and language issues. Thanks for your help !


Err, not sure if theres a name for blue (or yellow) overlays. I was just told that when I was diagnosed.


Thank you for getting back to me, going to check out a teachers store today. =)


I used use pink plastic and had pink glasses too but got told they were sunglasses and never used them again.


Very good reply bumblebee!

I think like most things, if people are not effected by a certain topic then it gets miss-understood and then suddenly everyone has an opinion about it, rightly or wrongly.

In the context of the word dyslexia, yes I think it is misleading. But has already mentioned, people jump on it and just think it's a problem with reading, writing or spelling. I do think it's more to do with ignorance and miss-judgment. Of course we have a label for everything these days which can be good but equally cause problems. I don't know if anyone has experienced this but many times I've heard the expression in an office, training, school environment when someone can't remember how to spell something and they say... "god I'm so dyslexic!" when they are not, they are just exaggerating because they've heard it from someone else.

I think what would be a good idea, is if dyslexia was made a compulsory lesson or subject at school at a very early age, so that it would not only be identified but also accepted and understood so that children do not have any inhibitions about it, then people would accept it, adapt to it and utilise it so that a person with dyslexia can then choose to learn how they know best. I'm not suggesting for a minuet that we teach kids how to be dyslexic, I'm simply saying that in english lessons why not study the field of dyslexia so that we understand it?

For example: English school (infant) children don't really learn another language whilst other European children get taught early how to speak other languages, therefore they understand what another language is. A typical english child (usually) wouldn't have a clue! - I think that says it all really... I think I am making sense?

I don't however agree it should be considered "learning disabled" because we are learning machines and just because one person doesn't learn a certain way shouldn't mean they have a learning disability in which some people describe it... education and social must have the flexibility to adapt when needed.


Dear John-clayton-nlp, you are spot on when you say: "just because one person doesn't learn a certain way shouldn't mean they have a learning disability in which some people describe it... education and social must have the flexibility to adapt when needed."

Please read Thomas G. West's book "In the Mind's Eye". He explains that there are many forms of dyslexia, and one of them affects arithmetic skills. It is called dyscalculia. He goes on to show us that several of the greatest minds in our world had dyscalculia, they did not succeed at elementary or secondary maths, yet they made huge contributions to math and science. These were individuals like Edison, Einstein, Poincare, Maxwell, Faraday.

Another person with much wisdom to impart is Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who could not get high school geometry, yet she now designs world class humane cattle processing facilities. Two of her books ar "Thinking in Pictures" and "Animals in Translation". Her videotaped lectures on You?Tube are also eye-opening.

The school system is stuck in a mode of teaching and learning which only works for about one half of the population. It is up to all of us to work whatever way we can to get them to understand how our minds work and to design different curricula for us. Cheers! digitd


I totally agree John, as Dyslexics we can still learn, we just learn in a different way, maybe it should be termed a "learning difficulty" instead of a "learning disability"



Definitely Ian, or what about the term "reverse organised learner" lol


well its actually named as both, it always has been. its noticed as a disability. but also TERMED as a difficulty


Lol, Yes, we will re-write the books!!


I think some of the points and notes helped thanks to all


"Alternitive method of learning"?? I think I may be Dyspraxic too.I have difficulty with co-ordination, balance, sequence etc. I cant ride a 2wheeled bike, never been able to do a jig saw, and quite awkward with handling stuff, cant do those puzzles where you have different shapes that when put together make a square or whatever. I used to like DIY and putting flat pack furniture together, but couldnt understand and follow the instructions. so Id just look at the pieces and think "that looks like it goes there". Ive just bumbled through life really,lol.


i fell that the would should be changed as it is a difficult word to spell and it dose not present the true meaning of what dyslexia actually is i am also dyspraxic with is very closely related so the word should include this


I find the fact it means "Word Blindness" is very missleading. People think one or both of two things:

1. Dyslexia means you see words move around, or flip over, or blurred ect.

2. Dyslexia is just a reading and writing problem.

Both of these statements are totally false, while some people with dyslexia may see words move around this is caused by a separate condition. And any dyslexic would know, there is soooooo much more to dyslexia than reading and writing.

Even a lot of dyslexics don't know what dyslexia actually is. Dyslexia effects me every single day, so I look out for anything I can learn about it and its helped me overcome a lot of my difficulties. I find that, like myself, most dyslexics worry about the less commonly known symptoms of dyslexia (such as bad coordination, poor memory ect) and they become depressed and confused because all they hear is "all your dyslexia is, is reading and writing".


Amanda, I totally understand, that is exactly what I am talking about, if only Dyslexia was confined to reading and writing.


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