30 years ago, when Christian Boer was first learning how to read while growing up in the Netherlands, he made a lot of mistakes. His teacher didn’t attribute his challenges to what would eventually be diagnosed as dyslexia — she just told Boer to try harder, occasionally even calling him lazy and stupid. (One wonders if she’d have said the same thing to more famous dyslexics like Richard Branson or Henry Ford.)
Fortunately, awareness of dyslexia is much higher these days, and most of us have at least a vague sense that, for instance, dyslexics see the letter “b” as “d” or “p.” Yet it’s still common to assume that we can “train” dyslexic children out of their habits or that they’ll eventually outgrow the affliction on their own.
But, Boer warns, that’s not the case at all. “Dyslexia is a lifelong neurological condition,” he says. “You can explain the difference between letters to me today, but it won’t change how I see them tomorrow.”