Growing up in the USA, ten-year-old Steven was asked in school to read aloud a passage from a newspaper. The article described the opening of the first Disneyland. However, all the poor boy could see on the paper was this—“In a grand ceremony Disneyland opened in California to delirious applause.” Steven Spielberg did not know it at the time—and indeed until he was formally diagnosed several years later—that he was dyslexic.
Dyslexia comes from the Greek words “dys”, which means a problem and “lexis” which means language. According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. People with this condition find it difficult to form relations between sounds, words, and spellings. Hence, reading long passages and comprehending them is a challenge. They also find it difficult to follow a sequence of instructions or directions.
Since it is not a “disease”, there are no medicines or “cure” for dyslexia. Individuals with this condition often find ways to work around it. These people do not have low intelligence or developmental issues; their brains are just wired differently. However, ill-conceived perceptions often lead to one thinking of dyslexic children as "not working hard". But, with the right kind of help, these kids can do just like their peers or even better.
Early diagnosis of dyslexia goes a long way in helping these kids. In India, the National Brain Research Centre has developed a tool called DALI (Dyslexia Assessment for Languages of India) to help assess dyslexia. It is a free screening and assessment tool for psychologists to evaluate children for dyslexia in 4 regional Indian languages.
It is now history that in his 40-year career as a film director, Steven Spielberg has crafted some of the masterpieces like Schindler’s List, Lincoln and Bridge of Spies. With widespread awareness about this condition, many more can escape from the jaws of dyslexia and look forward to a fulfilling life.