A Brief History of Dyslexia to understand the learning disorder

A Brief History of Dyslexia

The history of Dyslexia is not too old. In fact, the term Dyslexia was not even used until the late twentieth century. Before the term Dyslexia was coined, this condition was simply thought of and described as a reading or learning difficulty faced by the children during their school/college days. Sir Francis Galton, a professor, is considered as the first person to explore dissimilarities in the intellectual skills of the children as early as in 1869.

brief history of dyslexia

  1. Pringle Morgan, a British doctor during the 19th century was the first person associated with the medical field to write about this condition. But he also thought of this condition as a kind of trouble in of proper identification of words. One Scottish ophthalmologist James Hinshelwood also thought in a similar manner and he coined the phrase ‘congenital word blindness’ for this condition.

In the year 1925 a neurologist Samuel T. Orton coined the term ‘strephosymbolia’ for this condition. Orton thought that people wth this disorder view the different alphabets as reverse images of the same.

During the nineteenth century, advancement in the medical field lead to the acknowledging of this condition something more than just related to visual error. And the condition was then described by the term ‘Dyslexia’. This added a new dimension to the history of Dyslexia. Still the some of the researchers had their own reservations over using of the term ‘Dyslexia’ for describing this condition. Such people have opined that there needs to be a different term like ‘specific learning disability’ for the different aspects related to this condition and the term ‘Dyslexia’ should not be used for the same.

It was only after the publication of The Code of Practice (Department for Education and Employment, 1994) by the government that the term ‘Dyslexia’ was officially recognized as the one to be used to described such learning difficulty where the affected person finds it difficult to properly read, write, speak and learn. This also resulted in acknowledging of this condition related to learning disability/difficulty and the need for specialized education for children suffering with this condition.

It was also only during this period that besides the medical community different private institutions too came forward with their agendas related to development of specific educational activities/programs for helping dyslexic people. Different kinds of guidelines for the treatment and care to be provided to the affected people, also came out during this period.

During the present times Dyslexia has been acknowledged and fully accepted as a condition related both to the fields of medicine as well as education. This has resulted in a wide range of research activities from different view points. All of this has helped in bringing out new and advanced options to control the spread of this condition to a great extent. It has also resulted in the use of the treatment methodologies in a much more concerted and directed manner.


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