What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a word we use to describe a difference in the way that someone's brain works. It means that your brain looks at information like letters and numbers in a different way. This can make it hard to read and write, or make maths tricky. It can even make concentration and organisation harder.

Everyone with dyslexia is different so each person will have their own strengths and weaknesses. It's important to remember that dyslexia doesn't mean that you're not clever. There are lots of very successful people who are dyslexic such as Tom Cruise, Darcey Bussell, Steven Spielberg and Richard Branson.

Dyslexia can make you feel frustrated and angry at times because it's harder to do things like schoolwork that some of your friends may find easy. Sometimes it's really hard to talk about these feelings with your friends and family, but there are organisations that understand and can give you help and support.

  • What's good about being dyslexic?

    As Jo Crawford, the British Dyslexia Association's Youth Ambassador, says in her video - 'Remember the positives of being dyslexic'.

    There are positive things about thinking differently to other people. Some common strengths are:

    • Creativity;  
    • The ability to visualise things; 
    • Practical and problem solving skills;  
    • Lateral thinking skills;  
    • Being able to see the big picture (global thinkers) in terms of strategies and problem solving;  
    • Good visual-spatial awareness; 
    • Good verbal communication skills;  
    • High levels of motivation and persistence.


  • Assessments

    If you, your parents or your school think that you might be dyslexic they may arrange an assessment. This is a test to help find out what you find hard, and what you find easy to do. There is no right or wrong, it is purely to help find out whether or not your difficulties are due to dyslexia.

    If you are found to be dyslexic the assessment will help your school to give you the right support.

  • Support and advice

    Anxiety UK: Stressed Out Anxiety UK also have a text service: 07537 416 905, and and Infoline: 08444 775 774 (Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5.30pm)

    British Dyslexia Association Helpline online contact formThe British Dyslexia Association also have a telephone Helpline: 0333 405 4567.

    Young Minds: The voice for young people's mental health and wellbeing.

    ChildLine: Information and support online, on the phone, anytime.

  • More information

    Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid part 1 (Youtube)
    In this four part documentary former Eastenders actress and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Kara Tointon explores her experience of dyslexia.

    Don't Call Me Stupid part 2

    Don't Call Me Stupid part 3

    Don't Call Me Stupid part 4

    Youtube: Dyslexia Explained: What's it like to be dyslexic? (Nessy)

    Nessy: Dyslexia Survival Guide for Kids

    Dyslexia Assist: Kids blogs

    Kids HealthThis article explains how children learn to read and what it feels like to have dyslexia.

    'My Dyslexic Mind' – A Newsround Special This is presented by 12-year-old Ben who is dyslexic himself. During the programme he interviews Dominic from 'Dick and Dom' who only found out he was dyslexic when he was 15.

    Studying with Dyslexia blog Information and inspiration for supporters of dyslexic learners.

    Dyslexia Assist: Help for children and Teens

    Why my pages are pink by Matilda McEwan, BDA Dyslexia Award winner