Dyslexia is a learning disorder that manifests itself as a difficulty with reading and spelling. It is separate and distinct from reading difficulties resulting from other causes, such as a non-neurological deficiency with vision or hearing, or from poor or inadequate reading instruction. It is estimated that dyslexia affects between 5% to 17% of the U.S. population.

Dyslexia is thought to be the result of neurological defect, and though not an intellectual disability, it is variously considered a learning disability, a language disability, and a reading disability, among others. Dyslexia is diagnosed in people of all levels of intelligence.

A STUDY of dyslexic adults has shown that simplifying English spellings could be one way to help sufferers.

It also confirmed that the cause of the reading difficulty was a brain disorder. Experiments show for the first time that the neurological cause of dyslexia is the same in sufferers across Europe. But the disorder appears to be twice as common in the U.S. and England as in Italy/Spain because English has a more complex writing system, or orthography, than Italian/Spanish, which are more phonetic.

French, English, Spanish and Italian adult dyslexics all did equally poorly in tests that involved short-term memory, whereas Italian/Spanish dyslexics did better in reading tests.

The head of the team, Prof Eraldo Paulesu, of the University of Milan Bicocca and the Institute San Raffale, said: "There is an argument for reforming complex orthographies to improve literacy problems in these languages. English dyslexics would have an easier life if their writing system was more regular, with more unique correspondences between sounds and print."