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We define language-based learning disabilities as problems with age-appropriate reading, spelling, writing and/or math.


Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. It is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties. Dyslexia actually refers to a group of symptoms, which results in people having difficulty with language skills (reading, writing, spelling and pronouncing words) in spite of normal or above-normal intelligence. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment.

While people with dyslexia are often gifted in math (due to 3D visualization skills that help them “see” math concepts quickly), difficulties in reading, directionality, sequencing and rote memorization can make some maths tasks so difficult that their gifts are never discovered.

Dyslexia signifies people who think outside the box and do things differently than the general population. Rather than labeling a disability, we choose to emphasize our strengths and gifts, and the word “dyslexia” is a term we use to represent this.

Dyslexia affects as many as 1 in 5 people, regardless of race, gender, social class or intelligence level. People with dyslexia are often bright, creative and persuasive, but can be demoralized and frustrated, having experienced failure in school settings. Many are convinced that they are stupid and cannot succeed; too many drop out of school. Dyslexia is thought to be genetic and hereditary.

Some facts:

  • 70-80% of all people with poor reading skills are likely to be dyslexic.
  • 80-90% of students with learning disabilities (approximately 6-7% of the school population nationwide) have a primary learning disability in reading and language processing, and fall within the dyslexia spectrum.
  • 15-20% of students (and the population in general) have some symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing or mixing up similar words—and would likely benefit from systematic, explicit instruction in reading, writing and spelling.

Most experts agree that dyslexia is probably genetically based. Many dyslexics have relatives who have had similar difficulties.

Dyslexia falls within the broad spectrum of learning disabilities. We prefer to use the words “dyslexia” or “learning differences” at Fraser Academy as most people think someone with a disabilitiy has an impairment that will limit their potential—certainly not the case with our students. However, we do use the words “learning disabilities” online because this is the common term used on the Internet. More important, this is the DSM-5 terminology that:

  • The BC Ministry of Education recognizes for funding purposes
  • Most psychologists use when assessing children and youth and in their efforts to access that funding for these individuals
  • Canada Revenue Agency recognizes in terms of tax deductions

Although there are no universally agreed upon criteria that would enable a physician or a psychologist to diagnose a child as dyslexic, there are valid and recognized tests that can eliminate many of the other possible causes of language learning problems, administered by an educational psychologist through a “psych-ed” assessment.

A licensed psychologist can administer a psychological-educational assessment. Please call the school for a referral or for more information.

They do, but it’s difficult for these institutions to do it well, or to even recognize it. Most teachers do not have the training necessary to successfully teach children with language-based learning disabilities. In school, students are judged by educators and their peers to be good or poor students based upon school performance—measured primarily through written language—to read, write, spell, and/or compute. Students who experience difficulty are often labelled as lazy, unmotivated, or lacking intelligence.

This varies from student to student and depends both on the program of remediation chosen, the intensity of the program throughout the curriculum, the motivation of the student, and a child’s individual development. With most students, significant progress can be observed after one or two years.


Most people with dyslexia have gifts in areas controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain. This includes artistic skills, athletic ability, musical ability, mechanical ability, people skills, 3D spatial skills, intuition, creative thinking and curiousity.

While you’ll find people with dyslexia in every field, many particularly excel in architecture, interior design, landscaping, psychology, teaching, marketing and sales, culinary arts, woodworking and carpentry, performing arts, athletics, music, scientific research, engineering, computer science, electronics, mechanics, graphic arts and photography.

See below for a list of famous people who have succeeded because of their dyslexia, rather than in spite of it.

Students who have been assessed with language-related learning disabilities—such as written output, auditory processing, visual processing, working memory, dyscalculia, dysgraphia or dyslexia—will benefit from Fraser Academy’s approach to learning.

You should also consider Fraser Academy if your child has been diagnosed as gifted/ld,  as we offer a unique program at the school designed to stimulate your child’s giftedness while remediating the learning disabilities.

Orton-Gillingham is the most proven language-based approach for teaching students with language-based learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, to read and write. The OG approach stresses the connection between written words and their spoken sounds.

Every one of those learning disabilities fall under the dyslexia spectrum. And if your child has dyslexia, there’s no better place to be than Fraser Academy; we are focused on ensuring that your child experiences learning success. Discover more about our unique learning environment and program features.

The prognosis is excellent, as long as your child’s learning needs are met—and the earlier the intervention, the better the results. All dyslexic students deserve an education in a setting where they can learn and prosper. At Fraser Academy, our students develop the skills they need to become successful learners and to lead rich and meaningful lives. Will they still have learning weaknesses? Yes. But at Fraser Academy, we ensure our students learn to play to their strengths, and to mitigate their weaknesses—the goal being that by the time they graduate, their opportunities know no bounds.

Yes! Here are the names of some of the many talented and accomplished individuals who are/were dyslexic:

Artists, Designers & Architects: Leonardo da Vinci; Ansel Adams, photographer; David Bailey, photographer; Chuck Close; Ignacio Gomez, muralist; Tommy Hilfiger, clothing designer; Pablo Picasso; Robert Rauschenberg; Auguste Rodin; Bennett Strahan; Robert Toth; Jørn Utzon, architect (Sydney Opera House); Andy Warhol; Willard Wigan, micro-sculptor

Entrepreneurs & Business Leaders: Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Enterprises; John T Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, Henry Ford, William Hewlett, Co-founder, Hewlett-Packard; Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA; Craig McCaw, telecommunications visionary; David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue Airways; Paul J. Orfalea, founder of Kinko’s; Charles Schwab, founder of Charles Schwab; Ted Turner, President of Turner Broadcasting Systems; Robert Woodruff, President of Coca-Cola, 1923-1954; Frank W. Woolworth

Actors & Entertainers: Orlando Bloom, Harry Belafonte, Tom Cruise, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Keanu Reeves, Kiera Knightley, Billy Bob Thornton, Tom Smothers, Vince Vaughn, Henry Winkler

Inventors & Scientists: Ann Bancroft, Arctic explorer; Alexander Graham Bell; John Britten, inventor; Pierre Curie (1903 Nobel Prize); Thomas Edison; Albert Einstein; Michael Faraday; Carol Greider, molecular biologist, (2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine); Jack Horner, paleontologist; Peter Lovatt, psychologist and dancer; Archer Martin, chemist (1952 Nobel Laureate); Matthew H. Schneps, astrophysicist; John R. Skoyles, brain researcher

Political Leaders: Winston Churchill; King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden; Michael Heseltine; Andrew Jackson; Thomas Jefferson; John F. Kennedy; Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco; Nelson Rockefeller; Woodrow Wilson; George Washington

Writers & Journalists: Scott Adams, cartoonist (Dilbert); Hans Christian Andersen; Jeanne Betancourt, author of “My Name is Brain Brian”; Stephen J. Cannell, television writer & novelist; John Corrigan, novelist; John Edmund Delezen, author of “Eye of the Tiger” and “Red Plateau”; Agatha Christie; Fannie Flagg; F. Scott Fitzgerald.; Gustave Flaubert; Terry Goodkind, fantasy writer, author of “The Sword of Truth” series; Byron Pitts, CBS news correspondent; Patricia Polacco, children’s author and illustrator; W.B. Yeats

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