"Dyslexia is a combination of abilities and difficulties; the difficulties affect the learning process in aspects of literacy and sometimes numeracy. Coping with required reading is generally seen as the biggest challenge at Higher Education level due in part to difficulty in skimming and scanning written material. A student may also have an inability to express his/her ideas clearly in written form and in a style appropriate to the level of study. Marked and persistent weaknesses may be identified in working memory, speed of processing, sequencing skills, auditory and/or visual perception, spoken language and motor skills. Visuo-spatial skills, creative thinking and intuitive understanding are less likely to be impaired and indeed may be outstanding. Enabling or assistive technology is often found to be very beneficial." (SASC)



  • having to reread text in order to retain its meaning, such as including books, emails and reports
  • finding it challenging to break down and sound out unfamiliar words when reading
  • taking time to process what is being read and therefore reading becomes effortful
  • finding to put thoughts onto paper and producing work that flows well
  • spelling, grammar and punctuation difficulties
  • having to work so much harder than others to produce the same results

Some people report difficulties with text moving around the page, the letters looking blurry, eyes feeling tired, etc. This isn't dyslexia. This may be due to some visual difficulty even if a standard eyesight test has come back as 'normal'. If text distortion is experienced, it's advisable to find an optometrist before a dyslexia assessment is conducted.


It can be helpful to know that having a specific learning difficulty doesn't mean that you can't achieve your goals. Indeed, many people with SpLDs have careers that play to their strengths which might include creativity, lateral thinking, being empathetic, etc. Over the years, I've assessed many artists, architects, entrepreneurs, engineers, vets, headteachers, nurses, GPs, A&E consultants, psychiatrists, an international human rights lawyer, a high profile comedian, a GB Olympian and a very famous YouTuber.


Here are names of just some famous people with dyslexia who haven't let their difficulties hold them back:                                             

Film, television and music: Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney, Mollie King (from the Saturdays), Noel Gallagher, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Kara Tointon, Joss Stone, Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg, Harrison Ford, John Lennon, Robbie Williams, Cher

Authors and poets: Hans Christian Anderson, Agatha Christie, Benjamin Zephaniah, Liz Pichon (Tom Gates books), Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants books) 

Architects and artists: Richard Rogers (architect of the Millennium Dome), Leonardo Da Vinci, Picasso, Rodin, Andy Warhol

Successful business people: Bill Gates (Microsoft Chairman), Steve Jobs (founder of Apple), Richard Branson. William Hewlett 

Chefs: Marco Pierre White, Jamie Oliver

Others: Prince Harry, Sir Steven Redgrave, Holly Willoughby, Maggie Aderin-Pocock (amazing astrophysicist whose highly inspirational video about her dyslexia can easily be found online)