3 Talented People with 1 Thing in Common: Dyslexia

Written by the Kurzweil Blog Team

What do Steven Spielberg, Agatha Christie and Richard Branson have in common? Aside from the fact that they are all talented—and wildly successful—people, they all have dyslexia.

Regardless of whether you are famous or not, there is a common thread that runs throughout people who have dyslexia; school is inherently difficult. Not only is the schoolwork difficult, but it often leads to teasing from other students and a low self-esteem.


In support of Dyslexia Awareness Month, join us in reviewing the areas where students with dyslexia struggle most through the experiences of these 3 very talented people.

Steven Spielberg: Reading
"In my case, I was 2 years behind the rest of my class. And of course I went through what everybody goes through...teasing. I dreaded going to school, because if I was called on and I was told to stand in front of the class and read from the book ...that day would be another long day in a long series of the worst days of my life."

People with dyslexia struggle with reading. Children with dyslexia usually have difficulty processing language sounds. These difficulties in connecting language sounds to letters cause delays in reading and lead to poor test results where conventional phonetic rules are used to decode words.

Technology can help. Tools such as Kurzweil 3000 can help people with dyslexia overcome the challenge of reading by reading the text to them. Geared towards students with dyslexia, users can fully customize the reading speed and read text books, tests, as well as articles on the web.

Richard Branson: Comprehension
"I had no understanding of schoolwork whatsoever. If Iím not interested in something I donít grasp it. As someone who is dyslexic, you also have some bizarre situations. For instance, Iíve been running the largest group of private companies in Europe, but havenít been able to know the difference between net and gross—so the board meetings have been fascinating."

People with dyslexia have to work much harder to comprehend text. They first need to overcome the impossible task of decoding words, which their brains are not wired to do. Text-to-Speech readers can help them overcome this first challenge so that they can then start to develop the vocabulary and language fluency needed to improve their reading comprehension—ultimately allowing them to learn at the same level as their peers. Learn how Kurzweil 3000ís built-in tools can help with reading, vocabulary and fluency.

Agatha Christie: Writing
"I, myself, was always recognized...as the Ďslow oneí in the family," Christie reportedly once said.* "It was quite true, and I knew it and accepted it. Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me. My letters were without originality. I was...an extraordinarily bad speller and have remained so until this day."

Writing starts with developing a thought, organizing how to write it (this is where it gets difficult) then performing the physical act of writing (OK, now it is impossible). Whatís makes it so hard? Sequencing in the brain of a person with dyslexia makes it difficult to organize and then structure their thoughts. This often results in words ending up in the wrong place or the original thought being lost altogether as they try to keep all of the pieces in play. Whatís the solution? Eliminate the obstacles Ė read to them Ė and provide organization tools to enable students to retain the important information and organize their thoughts. Learn more about Kurzweil 3000ís study and writing skills software.

Join us in spreading the word about Dyslexia Awareness Month by sharing this blog. Educating faculty, teachers and other students about the facts of dyslexia is important so that we can help students with dyslexia overcome the challenges they face and enable them to achieve success alongside their peers. Together letís make schoolwork less of a burden for students who have dyslexia, and give them the gift of enjoying learning.


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