DYSLEXIA: 130 YEARS AGO

Hello! Today we’re going to look at when dyslexia was first mentioned 130 years ago.

DR. RUDOLF BERLIN AND THE EYE TEST

It was opthamologist and doctor, Rudolf Berlin, who first used the word dyslexia in 1887. He noticed that people were coming to him for eye tests because they couldn’t read very well. He observed that that there was no problem with their eyesight but agreed that they had challenges with their reading. He termed this dyslexia.

DR. W PRINGLE MORGAN AND THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL

In 1896, a case study of dyslexia appeared in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in an article written Dr. W Pringle Morgan. This was the first mention of dyslexia in such an esteemed publication.

PERCY

Dr Morgan wrote about one of his patients, Percy, and documented his learning challenges. He described Percy as a very intelligent boy, who was in no way inferior to other boys his age but he was unable to learn how to read.

Percy’s teacher said that he ‘would be the smartest lad in the class’ if instructions were given entirely verbally. This has remained a familiar pattern for dyslexics ever since.

TREATMENT

At the time, the prescribed treatment was eye training and this regime persisted until the the 1920s. Fortunately treatment options have changed significantly since then.

SOURCES

  • Dr. Kevin Blake
  • Dr. Sally Shaywitz
  • British Dyslexia Association
  • Rudolf Berlin Center.
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