What is Dyslexia? The Polarising Question

Dyslexia is often thought of as a learning difficulty that affects a person’s ability to read and has been described as a learning disorder that is neurological in origin.

When I sat down to write this post, I had every intention of writing about dyslexia and some of the tell-tale signs to look out for. I felt this was important because no parent ever wants their child to fall behind in their education.

Of course, the web is flooded with information about what dyslexia is – you just need to google the word dyslexia to find an abundance of articles and information to choose from.

As I began to write, I had this gnawing feeling welling up inside of me to stop – just stop!

And I found myself questioning what dyslexia really is?

The answer to such a polarizing question really depends on which side of the fence you sit.

Is dyslexia a learning disorder that is neurological in origin?


Is it a problem that sees dyslexic children with neurological differences fall behind in their education due to society’s lack of understanding in meeting their learning needs?

I sincerely believe it’s the latter.

If so, have we, as a society, inadvertently and without intent, created the learning difficulties that are often faced by dyslexic learners?

Would dyslexia be considered a learning disorder at all if we taught dyslexic children in a way that was compatible with the way they learn?

Perhaps it’s time to put some context around what dyslexia really is.

The old narrative surrounding dyslexia still largely promotes the idea that there is something innately wrong with an individual who fits this neurological profile.

The reading and learning difficulties that dyslexic children often encounter are positioned as a neurological disorder which only reinforces the message within society that they are ‘broken’ and need to be ‘fixed.’

But is this really the case?

The constant repetition of this narrative only reinforces the stigma and shame brought about by a view that in my opinion is fast becoming outdated.

There is a powerful movement gaining momentum every day toward celebrating the strengths of the dyslexic mind. The narrative around dyslexia is changing and a new story is being told – one that champions and celebrates the incredible gifts of the dyslexic thinker.

New discoveries are being made in cognitive science each year, that challenge existing research and ideologies, enabling new frontiers in learning to emerge.

So, to answer my earlier question, about what dyslexia really is, I will say this:

Whilst dyslexic children experience difficulties in learning to read, I think the notion needs to be put in context and reframed in a way that truly reflects the position of the dyslexic learner.

Dyslexia is neurological in origin and represents a difference in the way an individual thinks, learns and processes information.

Dyslexic individuals often experience difficulties in learning to read when they are subjected to educational approaches and learning environments that are not compatible with their natural way of thinking, learning and processing information.

When we know more, we have a responsibility to do more.

Isn’t it time we embraced the difference.

 More information about The Reading Switch and Dual Code Reading can be found on our website. www.thereadingswitch.com

About Author

Brylee Langley

Founder of The Reading Switch,
Mum of Two Dyslexic Children, Lived Experience,
Parenting Dyslexic Thinkers

Recent posts
Follow us on