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Can blind people be dyslexic?

As we know, dyslexia is a series of neurological issues that exist strictly within the brain of the individual who has it. What exactly causes dyslexia is unknown, but there are many theories at work that describe possible causes for the disorder.

But one of my professors is blind so this was just one of those “popped in my head” questions. I thought of this when I was in class earlier today. I asked my professor this question and here’s a summary of what he said.

He said, “when people think dyslexia, they think vision problems. Dyslexics see letters and numbers backwards if they can read at all. That’s the common thought, but only one aspect of dyslexia. Dyslexia is a reading disorder, not a vision or “seeing” disorder.”

I looked into this deeper and I found that braille readers can also be dyslexic. Anneli Veispak published an article in the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness that discusses this problem. This is still a new branch of research in both the fields of visual impairment and dyslexia. There is very little in the way of information connecting visual impairment with dyslexia.

Braille is reading. That’s a fact. Many sighted teachers of braille read it visually, and individuals who are blind read braille with their fingers. “But wait,” you say, “ doesn’t the touch take a different path in the brain than the eyes?” Yes, but that’s like taking the interstate to your mother’s house. Follow this example:  You and a friend are meeting in a town that is halfway between where you both live. You both take different highways to get there and approach your destination from different directions, but the last road is the same. Now, it turns out the city is doing roadwork at the intersection of the street that you both turn on to, slowing down all the traffic. It doesn’t matter how you got there, the construction still slows you both down. That roadwork is dyslexia. Your Thoughts?

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3 thoughts on “Can blind people be dyslexic?

  1. Very interesting post. I’m currently doing research on neurological and psychological conditions. One of which is dyslexia and the question “can blind people have dyslexia” popped into my head. Which lead me to this blog post.
    Since dyslexia is neurological in nature and there are fabulous brain scans to show the different paths a dyslexic brain takes to read and to communicate language–I thought there must be blind individuals that have similar brain functions that don’t necessary face the same disabilities as dyslexics that are not blind. I would be very interested in seeing brain scans from blind individuals while reading brail. It might be easier to locate blind dyslexics through their abilities rather than disabilities. Dyslexia also comes with a number of gifts which are associated with right brain thinkers/ intelligence. It is sad if we look at dyslexia only as a disability rather than a gift into a different and extraordinary brain.

  2. People can be dyslexic with right brain dominance and have sight problems which can worsen over time leading to blindness as can non dyslexics who can also suffer sight loss.

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