Useful facts

Dyslexia is not a recent discovery. Academics have been talking about it for more than 100 years.

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Changing perceptions

The term ‘dyslexia’ was first coined in 1887 by Rudolf Berlin, an eye doctor from Stuttgart in Germany. 

In 1896, Dr W Pringle Morgan published the first article on dyslexia in the British Medical Journal. He talked about a 14-year-old boy called Percy whose inability to read was ‘so remarkable, so pronounced that I have no doubt that it is due to some congenital defect... The schoolmaster who has taught him for some years says that he would be the smartest lad in the school if the instruction were entirely oral.’

Thanks to research and groups like Dyslexia Scotland, many people in the 21st century have heard of dyslexia.

Perceptions have changed, and the misconception that dyslexia is ‘stupidity’ has been wiped out for the most part.

Definition of dyslexia today

In 2009, the Scottish Government, Dyslexia Scotland and the Cross-Party Parliamentary Group developed a definition of dyslexia

Did you know?

  • The word ‘dyslexia’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘difficulty with words’.
  • One in 10 of us is thought to be dyslexic in some way. That makes over half a million people in Scotland.
  • Each person with dyslexia has a unique set of difficulties, and abilities – like musical talent, or good verbal skills.
  • Early recognition, appropriate teaching and support at school and reasonable adjustments in the workplace can mean people with dyslexia don’t have to lose out.

Famously dyslexic

As well as our President Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, many well known, successful people have spoken publicly about their dyslexia, including:

  • Irvine Welsh
  • Holly Willoughby
  • Sir Richard Branson
  • Jamie Oliver
  • Jennifer Anniston
  • Keira Knightley
  • Orlando Bloom
  • Princess Beatrice
  • Kara Tointon
  • Sir Steve Redgrave