Holly Willougby health: This Morning presenter reveals learning difficulty – what is it?

Holly Willoughby has captured the nation with her characteristically warm and open personality – qualities that are readily on display on ITV’s This Morning, which she co-presents with Phillip Schofield. True to the spirit of her openness, the daytime presenter opened up about living with dyslexia. What are the key warning signs and what can be done to manage the condition?


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Interviewing Martin Kemp on This Morning, Holly said: “You’re dyslexic and I’m dyslexic as well. You say the way you learn and the way you prepare for this is different to other people.”

She also revealed that she looks at the autocue in advance for any shows she is hosting and has special coloured scripts to assist her on This Morning.

Holly has also raised concerns that her children will inherit the learning difficulty.

Speaking to the Glasgow Sunday Post, she said: “Although my mum hasn’t been officially tested she has very similar tendencies to me. I don’t know whether that’s hereditary or not, but I do think about that. Schools are so much more advanced in looking out for it than when I was at school.”


What is dyslexia?

According to the NHS, dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling.

It’s estimated up to one in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia.

It’s a specific learning difficulty, which means it causes problems with certain abilities used for learning, such as reading and writing.

“Dyslexia is a lifelong problem that can present challenges on a daily basis, but support is available to improve reading and writing skills and help those with the problem be successful at school and work,” explained the NHS.

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Before treatment can be recommended, it is imperative to know the warning signs so you can establish whether you or your child has dyslexia.

As the NHS explains, signs of dyslexia usually become apparent when a child starts school and begins to focus more on learning how to read and write.

A person with dyslexia may:

  • Read and write very slowly
  • Confuse the order of letters in words
  • Put letters the wrong way round (such as writing “b” instead of “d”)
  • Have poor or inconsistent spelling
  • Understand information when told verbally, but have difficulty with information that’s written down
  • Find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
  • Struggle with planning and organisation

“But people with dyslexia often have good skills in other areas, such as creative thinking and problem solving,” noted the NHS.


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How to manage your child’s dyslexia

As the Mayo Clinic points out, there’s no known way to correct the underlying brain abnormality that causes dyslexia — dyslexia is a lifelong problem.

However, early detection and evaluation to determine specific needs and appropriate treatment can improve success.

“Dyslexia is treated using specific educational approaches and techniques, and the sooner the intervention begins, the better,” said Mayo Clinic.

Psychological testing will help your child’s teachers develop a suitable teaching program, notes the medical site.

How to manage dyslexia as an adult

Having dyslexia as an adult can present obstacles in the employment but there are a number of resources available, explains the NHS.

Technology such as word processors and electronic organisers can be useful for adults living with dyslexia, says the health site.

Employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace to help people with dyslexia, such as allowing extra time for certain tasks, it adds.

There are also a number of self-tips you can follow to ensure the condition does not limit your opportunities.

Mayo Clinic recommends taking the following steps:

  • Seek evaluation and instructional help with reading and writing, regardless of your age
  • Ask about additional training and reasonable accommodations from your employer

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