Counterpoint: A sensitivity alert on dyslexia

  • Article by: DEB DWYER
  • Updated: June 12, 2014 - 6:24 PM

Blog post headline was an opportunity to educate the public on learning disability.

In a June 10 post for the commuting blog “The Drive” by Tim Harlow, the headline “Call it a case of directional dyslexia for MnDOT” caught my attention. Quoting the state employee who made those uninformed and hurtful remarks to the dyslexic community is understandable.

However, using it as your headline is where you caught my attention and the need for this response. Dyslexia is considered a condition that is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and your headline is as offensive as making fun of someone in a wheelchair.

The beneficial aspect is you’ve given me a chance to talk about dyslexia. At its most basic understanding, “dys” means difficulty and “lexia” means words. Dyslexia simply means “difficulty with words.”

Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects a person’s ability to process and interpret information, which results in difficulty interacting with words in reading, writing, spelling and sometimes speaking. It’s also common for dyslexics to have difficulty with directionality and sequencing or learning multiplication tables. Some have difficulty learning to tie their shoes or ride a bike. Every dyslexic struggles with unique issues, and different ages have different signs and/or symptoms.

Early identification of dyslexia is vital for a struggling child. It can mean the difference between success and defeat. Dyslexics must have appropriate instruction to help them learn to read and write. We all need to remember that while dyslexics usually struggle with the written word, they have strengths that serve them outside of the classroom.

Our world has been affected by dyslexics such as Gen. George S. Patton, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Henry Winkler, Richard Branson and more (

Deb Dwyer lives in Duluth.

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