Definition from the International Dyslexia Association

Dyslexia is a neurologically-based, often familial, disorder which interferes with the acquisition and processing of language. Varying in degrees of severity, it is manifested by difficulties in receptive and expressive language, including phonological processing, in reading, writing, spelling, handwriting, and sometimes in arithmetic.

Dyslexia is not the result of lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities, or other limiting conditions, but may occur together with these conditions.

Although dyslexia is lifelong, individuals with dyslexia frequently respond successfully to timely and appropriate intervention.

Famous People with Dyslexia

Tom Cruise - Steven Spielberg - Robin Williams - Channing Tatum - Beethoven - Cher - Leonardo Da Vinci - Pablo  Picasso - Charles Schulz - Tommy  Hilfiger - Agatha Christie - Mark Twain - Magic Johnson - Pete Rose - Mohammad Ali - Richard Branson - Winston Churchill - Dwight D. Eisenhower - John F. Kennedy - Alexander Graham Bell - Albert Einstein - Henry Ford - and many many more...

Careers that take advantage of dyslexic strengths

There are many successful adults with dyslexia working in all professions, however the following are a few which many dyslexic adults truly excel in.

  • Architecture
  • Interior Design
  • Psychology
  • Politics
  • Marketing, Sales
  • Culinary Arts
  • Performing Arts
  • Engineering
  • Computers
  • Carpentry
  • Electronics

Areas of Strength

  • Art - especially 3-D expression and visualization
  • Athletics
  • Music
  • People skills
  • Highly intuitive
  • Mechanical skills
  • Inquisitive and Imaginative
  • Creative and Innovative
  • Global thinkers - "think outside of the box"
  • Problem solvers - good at seeing the big picture
  • Strong verbal communicators


A brain difference which causes difficulty with phonological learning, most significantly resulting in difficulty with learning to read and spell. The same brain difference also causes distinct strengths in creativity, engineering, entrepreneurial skills and/or athleticism.

Dyslexia is different for everyone. Some people have a mild form and can learn to compensate by using their strengths. Others have a more severe form of Dyslexia and will struggle immensely if they don't receive specialized help. The Barton Reading and spelling System is an excellent tool that will help dyslexics to become fluent readers and proficient spellers setting them up for success.


Dyslexia brings about many challenges, especially in the classroom, however dyslexia is also the root of many strengths and talents.  It is imperative that a young dyslexic is given the opportunity to discover and develop these strengths so that they are able to see and feel their own potential and are not constantly feeling like they don't measure up to those around them.


In Preschool

  • Delayed speech
  • Mixing the sounds and syllables in long words
  • Chronic ear infections
  • severe reactions to childhood illnesses
  • Constant confusion of left vs. right
  • Late establishing a dominant hand
  • difficulty learning to tie shoes
  • Trouble memorizing their address, phone number or the alphabet
  • Trouble memorizing the days of the week or the names of the months
  • Can't create words that rhyme
  • A close relative who has dyslexia

In Elementary School


History of the above symptoms plus:

  • Dysgraphia (slow, non-automatic handwriting that is difficult to read)
  • Letter or number reversals continuing past the end of first grade
  • Extreme difficulty learning cursive handwriting
  • slow, choppy, inaccurate reading aloud
  • terrible spelling
  • Often cannot remember sight words (they, were, does) or homonyms (their, They're, there)
  • Difficulty telling time on a clock with hands
  • Trouble with math, such as memorizing the multiplication tables
  • When speaking, difficulty finding the correct word
  • Extremely messy bedroom, backpack and desk
  • Dreads going to school

In High School

History of the above symptoms plus:

  • Extremely poor written expression
  • Unable to master a foreign language
  • Difficulty reading printed music
  • May drop out of high school

In Adults

Educational history similar to above, plus:

  • slow reader
  • May have to read a page 2 or 3 times to understand it
  • Terrible speller
  • Difficulty putting thoughts onto paper
  • Still has difficulty with right vs. left
  • Often gets lost, even in a familiar city
  • Sometimes confuses b and d, especially when tired or sick