Photographic Image: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a very famous person with Dyslexia.
Dyslexia defined by Google search is a: “Developmental reading disorder is a reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols.” Wow, that is so clinical and precise.
Dyslexia is much more than a learning disability. Yet before the 1900′s, this childhood development was the subject of much conjecture and how children learned was still pretty much theorised.
A plethora of terms was used to describe the problem such as “word blindness” or “strephosymbolia.”
It was 1878 when German neurologist, Adolph Kussmaul, coined the phrase “word blindness” describing what we know as dyslexia today.
He had a special interest in adults with reading problems who also had neurological impairment.
He noticed that several of his patients could not read properly and regularly used words in the wrong order. He introduced the term ‘word blindness’ to describe their difficulties.
The phrase, word blindness, then began to be used regularly in the medical journals to describe adults and children who had difficulty learning to read.
This phrase also conveyed the fact that these patients were neurologically impaired. ~ Understanding Dyslexia: A Guide for Teachers and Parents: The history of dyslexia
In 1887, a German opthalmologist, Rudolf Berlin, was the first to use the word ‘dyslexia’ but it wasn’t widely used or accepted to replace the “word blindness” as of yet.
It’s like Manic Depressive Disorder perfectly describes the condition… Whereas Bipolar Disorder took a while to catch on. Seems the same was true for “word blindness” that perfectly describes dyslexia, where we skipped words, suffixes and endings.
“Dyslexia appeared in 1891 with a report in The Lancet medical journal by Dr Dejerne.”
Ah, ha just when you think Dyslexia would go mainstream:
“Dr James Hinshelwood, a Scottish eye surgeon, published an account of a patient who had reading difficulties and also a congenital defect in the brain related to eyesight.
From this evidence, he concluded that the cause of reading difficulties was a malfunction of eyesight as a result of a brain defect.
Dr Hinshelwood’s work reinforced the use of the term word blindness and this phrase persisted throughout the early twentieth century.”