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What Exactly is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disability derived from a neurological developmental disorder. Persons with dyslexia do not necessarily manifest any physical, psychological nor sociocultural disorders. They experience difficulty reading as a consequence of an impairment related to visualizing words. Persons with dyslexia usually invert the words in whole or in part, jumble the letters, write the same word in different ways and have difficulty distinguishing the left from the right, among other symptoms.

Dyslexia is not related a person’s intelligence, but it does affect learning. A person can be as intelligent as any of their peers. However, because in most  education systems, children learn all subjects, not only language and literature, through reading, students with dyslexia may find themselves at a disadvantage, as most of their effort while studying is devoted to deciphering the written word. Often, parents and teachers incorrectly interpret this difficulty as lack of interest and pressure the child to make a greater effort, but they do not know that, in reality, they are making things worse.

However, having dyslexia does not mean that a person cannot get ahead. In the long list of successful persons with dyslexia we can find the likes of actress Whoopi Goldberg; film director and producer Steven Spielberg; the lieutenant governor of California, Gavin Newsom; or fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. But what matters most to us is that, among successful persons with dyslexia, we can also find a linguist: the Linguistics graduate and doctor of Computer Science Luz Rello.

Despite having had many difficulties during her childhood as a student, or rather, thanks to that and her two degrees, this Spanish linguist has developed Dyseggxia, an application for mobile phones that helps children with dyslexia to overcome their problems of reading and writing in Spanish through games. In addition, it allows parents to learn what their child’s most frequent mistakes are. By creating this application, she has been awarded the prize for best young researcher in Europe in 2016.

It is hard to imagine that a person with this disorder has dedicated her life to the study of the language, right? It seems impossible, but Ms. Rello showed us that is very much possible. Are there anytranslators with dyslexia around here? Come on! Now that you know it, do not be shy and raise your hand!