What is dyslexia? Richard Branson and Virgin highlight disability in AI-generated campaign

Sir Richard Bransonwith Kate Griggs, CEO of Made by Dyslexia (PA) (PA Wire)
Sir Richard Bransonwith Kate Griggs, CEO of Made by Dyslexia (PA) (PA Wire)

Sir Richard Branson has said that artificial intelligence (AI) and dyslexia are a “powerful combination”, as part of a campaign to highlight the potential of dyslexic people in the workplace.

The 72-year-old business tycoon, who himself is dyslexic, has collaborated with charity Made By Dyslexia to launch DyslexAI, a campaign petitioning businesses to commit to undertaking free workplace training in order to unlock the potential of dyslexic employees.

As part of the campaign, Made By Dyslexia and Mr Branson’s company Virgin, have released a video asking AI to think like famous dyslexic thinkers.

They argue that the video shows that, while impressive, AI cannot replicate the unique insight and innovation of people with dyslexia.

Instead, they believe that AI and dyslexic thinking are a “powerful combination”.

“AI is the perfect co-pilot for people with dyslexic skills,” Mr Branson told the PA news agency.

“I think for dyslexic people, or people with ADHD, it is particularly useful.”

According to the British Dyslexia Assocation (BDA), are unaware they have the condition.

But what is dyslexia and what are the signs?

What is dyslexia?

According to the NHS, dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that mostly affects reading, writing, and spelling.

Different aspects of a person's co-ordination, organisation, and memory are also impacted by dyslexia.

However, unlike a learning disability, intelligence isn’t affected.

Although its exact cause is uncertain, dyslexia frequently seems to run in families. It's believed that some genes passed down from your parents may interact to influence how particular sections of the brain grow during the early years of life.

What are the signs?

Symptoms typically become apparent at school stage, when the focus is on learning how to read and write.

A person with dyslexia may read and write slowly, have inconsistent or incorrect spelling, confuse the order of letters in words, find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions, struggle with planning and organisation, and grasp information when it is spoken to them, but find it difficult to follow instructions when they are written down.

People who struggle with dyslexia frequently excel in other areas, like creative thinking and problem solving.

Dyslexia diagnostic testing could be a good idea if there are still worries about your child's progress after they have received additional training and support.

An educational psychologist or a teacher who specialises in dyslexia with the necessary training can do this.

For both children and adults, the BDA offers an individual assessment service.

Support for people with dyslexia

The first thing to do if you suspect your child has dyslexia is to talk to their teacher or the special educational needs co-ordinator (Senco) at their school about your concerns.

Depending on the situation, they might be able to provide your child with more assistance.

Schools and colleges must provide assistance to students who struggle with a particular learning disability, such as dyslexia, and they must have access to specialists who are trained to assist children with special needs.

Employers must provide adequate modifications in the workplace for individuals with dyslexia, such as extra time for specific tasks and in exams.