Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Henry Winkler's Days as 'The Fonz' Blighted By Dyslexia

'I was called Dumb Dog': Henry Winkler's happy days as The Fonz were blighted by condition undiagnosed for 35 years. 

But the reality was rather different. The star couldn't actually ride the bike because his co-ordination was so poor - one symptom of dyslexia, a condition that had crippled him since childhood yet remained undiagnosed until he was 35.

'It's not just the fact that you can't read or you find studying difficult,' says Henry, now 63. 'There are so many ways dyslexia can affect you. For some, it means you don't always understand what's being said to you. Numbers get transposed, so instead of 13 you read 31.

Dyslexia is a neurological problem that manifests itself primarily as a difficulty with written language. Sufferers may also have time management, clumsiness and co-ordination problems.

Experts believe the condition, which is thought to affect ten per cent of the population, according to the British Dyslexia Association, results from differences in how the brain processes language.

It is not an 'intellectual' disability and has been diagnosed in people of all levels of intelligence. Albert Einstein was believed to be a sufferer and could not read until the age of nine.

Famous names from Sir Richard Branson to Eddie Izzard and Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, are diagnosed dyslexics.

While there is no cure, individuals can learn to read and write with specialist education or treatment.

read more | digg story

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