Vital: DYSLEXIA DOESN'T SPELL FAILURE; Difficulty with Words Need Not Hinder Learning or Development. Here We Give the Lowdown on How Sufferers Can Win Through

Article excerpt

Byline: By Lisa Adams

DYSLEXIA can actually spell a life of success. That's what Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was keen to hit home when she announced last week that her 16-year-old daughter Princess Beatrice suffers from the letter muddling condition.

'Beatrice is so sweet,' said Fergie. 'She told me she wanted people to know so that other children will get the help they need. She is quite proud of the fact that she has overcome this and doesn't think it is anything to hide.'

In fact, many of the most successful people on the planet are dyslexic.

Hollywood heart-throb Tom Cruise, Virgin tycoon Richard Branson, Scotland rugby hero Kenny Logan and actress Keira Knightley all admit dyslexia meant they found school a struggle.

Today experts believe dyslexia is often a sign of creativity and with the right treatment sufferers can achieve anything they want in life.

Here are the facts about the condition.

WHAT IS DYSLEXIA? The word dyslexia comes from the Greek meaning 'difficulty with words'-and that's exactly what it is. Reading, writing and spelling are a struggle.

It affects 10 per cent of Scots, with four per cent severely affected. However, literacy experts know it is not related to intelligence.

It is not known exactly what causes the condition but it often runs in families. If one parent is dyslexic, there is a 50 per cent chance their children will inherit dyslexia.

Some medical tests have shown differences in the make-up of a dyslexic brain compared to a non-dyslexic brain. In a dyslexic's brain the language area is often unusually symmetrical and there may also be tiny differences in the layout of nerve cells and the way they connect.

Research from the Dyslexia Institute reveals that three times as many boys as girls receive additional teaching because of their dyslexia.

HOW TO SPOT THE SIGNS Children are born with dyslexia, however it's only when they begin to learn, using words and numerical symbols, that it becomes noticeable.

Words become jumbled when reading and problems with numbers and reading music are also very common. Other signs to look out for include confusing words like up/down or in/out, jumbling up phrases and writing letters the wrong way round. The difficulties dyslexia cause can be hugely damaging to self-esteem. If teachers say your child refuses to listen and is disruptive, it may be a sign of dyslexia.

About 60 per cent of dyslexic people also find it difficult to sort out the sounds within words.

WHAT TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE? …