In this thread I'm going to try to gather together various information available on dyslexia and supplement it with my own thoughts to build a coherent, relatively concise theory on what constitutes the perceptual and neurocognitive basis of the condition. Contributions, insights, and constructive criticism are welcome, whether from people who have dyslexia themselves to any degree, have children or other friends/relatives with the condition, have been involved in teaching dyslexic children or adults, or are simply curious.
I'm primarily interested in examining, and hopefully making progress towards explaining, the underlying causes of the condition and how dyslexic perceptions may differ from those of neurotpical people in certain respects - which helps to explain the wide array of observable symptoms associated with it. I'm not going to go by standard symptomatic definitions, which are primarily of use to those working in education to make categorical diagnoses of different dyslexia-related impairments for administrative and (not necessarily always sucessful) remedial purposes.
Dyslexia is not necessarily a condition which consists entirely of negative symptoms, however, as I'm going to try to make clear. It's entirely possible, for example, contrary to popular belief, for those with dyslexia to acquire advanced skills in reading and other aspects, especially when older, as a result of having learned sucessful strategies for coping with the negative aspects of their condition. This is not the same as being "cured" of dyslexia, however; it's a lifelong condition and will probably continue to manifest in certain, telling, respects.
It's also likely, though not certain, that they will have significant skills and advantages that people who are neurotypical (with respect to dyslexia) commonly lack; these skills are due to the the different dyslexic style of perception and brain organisation just as much as the deficits, and the positive and negative aspects need to be considered in tandem to gain a mature perspective. Whether they're able to make full use of these positive skills in their lives and careers is to a large extent dependent, however, on whether they're able to overcome or find ways around their specific difficulties in a culture so heavily dependent on the use of the written word and symbolic manipulation.
I'm hoping my next couple of posts will help to explain the typical differences between dyslexic and non-dyslexic perceptive styles and why this may confer both advantages and disadvantages on dyslexic people as well as unique educational and learning needs. I'm planning to link some scientific evidence which underlines the essential differences in brain function later on, though those parts are not yet written. It's alll very hypothetical at this stage however, and subject to revision, which is why I'm now putting it out for discussion.