British Dyslexia Association: Celebrating 50 years of thinking differently


This year marks the 50th anniversary of the British Dyslexia Association (BDA). Formed from regional associations, it campaigns to promote a dyslexia friendly society that enables dyslexic people of all ages to reach their full potential.

One in ten people have dyslexia. It is a neurological difference that is often identified in children who have trouble with reading, writing and spelling. While often characterised as a learning difficulty, people with dyslexia think differently to those without and often show strengths in areas such as reasoning and in visual and creative fields.

Jack Churchill, Co-founder of Scanning Pens, speaking up about dyslexia

As it is currently organised, school can be tough for dyslexic children as they learn differently. Left undiagnosed and unaccommodated, their dyslexia can result in unnecessary loss of self-esteem and low self-confidence. When this happens, it is a failing and an injustice, dyslexia is well understood and can be accommodated.

As President of the BDA, Lord Addington said during a recent celebration he kindly hosted in the House of Lords “It’s been a long road…We should have never needed to be here in the first place… Will we still be here in 50 years time? I hope not, I hope we are just a successful note in educational history.”

Andy Salmon of Sir Linkalot, Tom Hunt MP of the APPG for Dyslexia and lexicographer of Countdown fame Susie Dent

At the event, dyslexic and dispraxic MP, Tom Hunt highlighted the wasted potential of dyslexics that the UK should be drawing on. After a discussion with the commanding officer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst he noted “The British armed forces can utilise the talent of British people who want to join the armed forces but are neurodiverse…who see things differently and we need them more than ever.”

 “We at the BDA will continue to advocate for the dyslexia community, as the voice of dyslexia, until all individuals with dyslexia are seen, valued and included in society.”

Michelle Catterson, Chair of the Board, British Dyslexia Association

Chivonne Preston, the new Chief Executive Officer at the BDA, led thanks to Giannina Zerilli, who has campaigned for the association for forty years. Together they cut a cake celebrating the progress that has been made over the past fifty years, with luck, the help of parliamentarians and continued effort from their supporters, hopefully they can achieve their objectives before another fifty years have passed.

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Tom Hunt MP, Giannina Zerilli and Lord Addington cut the cake celebrating 50 years of the British Dyslexia Association

This year, our sister organisation, Curia, has run a Dyslexia Commission chaired by Matt Hancock MP. You can find out about it here: Dyslexia Commission


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