Dyslexia in Medical Studies

Dyslexics can work in a wide variety of professions, as we have reported here several times. This also applies to the medical field. It is not yet known how many medical professionals are affected by Dyslexia. However, we have seen dyslexics studying human or veterinary medicine or already working in their field on several occasions.

Intellectually (in terms of knowledge), studying medicine is not a problem for most of those affected. However, in these fields, the subject of Dyslexia is not discussed at all or rarely, and people come out even less often than in other fields of study. The barriers for dyslexics seem to be much lower in fields such as social work, architecture, and other engineering professions. In contrast, in elite fields of study such as medicine, psychology, and law, there is a greater stigma to coming out as dyslexic. This often triggers anxiety or self-doubt among those affected when choosing a course of study, even though these students often perform very well academically when guided and supported according to their abilities.

Many of those who are affected encounter a lack of understanding. Professors or colleagues doubt their professional suitability by pointing out that they cannot read and write without errors. This results in strong pressure to perform, which can affect the overall psychological state of the students. Those affected deal with this pressure in very different ways, with family background and the school development that they experienced playing an important role.

Some dyslexics are confronted with sentences like „How can you choose such a profession with these problems? That’s just won’t work!“. This is what some affected medical students experience in their everyday life. Often the good abilities of those affected are not recognized, because until today it is assumed that Dyslexia is a disease or disability. The fact that Dyslexia is listed as a reading and spelling disorder in the ICD-10 manual is also controversial among medical trainees. Many medical professionals view this particular reading-spelling disability as a mental illness. Therefore, it is a major handicap for many dyslexics to dealing openly with the problem. In this way, those affected are prevented from better professional development. With a more pragmatic approach, they could be better integrated, by recognizing and promoting their personal and professional potential regardless of their writing skills.

Dyslexics do not infrequently choose medicine as a field of study. This may be related to their usually good knowledge of science. They are also often very social and compassionate. Therefore, they are well suited for these professions, provided they are academically capable.

It would be good if the departments were more enlightened in regard to their approach of this topic. In addition, the medical condition of Dyslexia as a reading and spelling disorder should be questioned. For those affected, it often means discrimination instead of the necessary integration into working life.

Education politics should pay more attention to this issue. Otherwise, we will continue to miss many good opportunities to use the good potential of dyslexic people.


Corona Crisis – Opportunities and Risks for Dyslexics

In view of the current situation, we would like to look at the opportunities and risks associated with the Corona crisis. Especially for adult dyslexics, challenging times are dawning, but also good opportunities.

No one can say now what impact this Crisis will have in our lives. Dyslexics who have overcome various challenges in life before this current Crisis can draw on positive experiences at this time, because they know that crises also have an end. If dyslexics have overcome their difficulties before the Crisis, they have a good toolkit. They are psychologically more stable and will also get back on their feet more quickly after another internal crisis. They have worked through their difficult school biography and have achieved a good professional standing. There are clear opportunities to be seen here, since crises that have been overcome serve personal maturity.

On the other hand, those who have not overcome their difficulties in reading and writing in the past can now find themselves in massive inner-emotional crises. Crises often expose unresolved problems in one’s life. Problems from childhood resurface. Especially if one has experienced little support in the parental home in coping with one’s weaknesses. Or teachers have humiliated ones with dyslexia and reacted without understanding. This then becomes particularly apparent in coping with the crisis. This current Crisis in society as a whole is nevertheless also individual and personal, because it is closely linked to the biographical experiences of the individual.

Here the opportunities and risks of this Crisis become clear. Dyslexics who have overcome their difficulties have a much better chance of emerging stronger from this new crisis. Unfortunately, there are many affected individuals who have never dealt with their dyslexia through psychological therapies or learning therapy measures. For these affected, the current Crisis, which is not just a medical epidemic, will trigger further difficulties. It may cause the loss of a job, the death of a relative, or financial losses. It is not yet possible to fully assess what will trigger this crisis. This chain of problems can cause great psychological strain.

Unfortunately, in the past there was hardly any help from the state for those affected. Often, only middle-class dyslexics could afford support. Socially disadvantaged people were usually left behind.

The Corona Crisis will highlight many problems in Education, Social Services, Healthcare and Labor. It will become clear that we have not reformed our Education System for many years. The state had very little money left for the systemically important Social-Welfare System. This particularly affects the socially disadvantaged who may not easily overcome this Crisis. This is where civil society help is needed in caring for those affected. That is why the State should better promote and support non-profit initiatives. Otherwise, our community will be even less able to handle these tasks, because too little has been done in this area in recent decades.