Is there a permanent cure for dyslexia

Three of your six children are dyslexic. How did their educational career go?

The dyslexia decree in Bavaria, which was still valid at the time, was not binding on schools and was only valid up to the sixth grade. For those affected, including my children, it was hardly possible to get any kind of disadvantage compensation. At the time, the teachers were not only hardly interested in this - they sometimes really tormented the students. Without the help of child and adolescent psychiatry, my children would certainly not have survived this mentally healthy. A doctor then advised us to switch to a boarding school with a special support program for dyslexics.

And then everything got better?

All teachers and students there knew about the disability, dyslexia was something completely normal. This environment helped the children incredibly well psychologically, they stayed there until they graduated from high school. The only problem was the financing, because a professor's salary isn't that high.

But they must have received financial support from the social welfare or youth welfare office.

The youth welfare office rejected the first request on the grounds that I just wanted to send my stupid children to simpler schools. They didn't want to accept that this is a disability and that the children have a legal right to integration assistance. So I focused my research on dyslexia and sued with the help of a lawyer.

And won.

Yes, as a result the youth welfare office was forced to take over the financing of the boarding school for one year. After this year I submitted a new application - and it was rejected again. They just didn't want to admit the verdict. So I went back to court and won again. It went on like this for ten years, every year. An unspeakable waste of taxpayers' money, because the office had to bear the costs of my lawyer for every lost trial.

You went to court again because of his dyslexia while your eldest son was studying medicine.

At that time, we fought for an extension of the time for my son to take the written exam in his physics course - today that is a fundamental judgment for dealing with disabilities in studies. At that time, he had submitted an application to the university for compensation for disadvantages and asked for one hour of writing extension for the two four-hour multiple-choice exams. He had even presented his handicapped ID, which he had because of the dyslexia. The examination office rejected the application anyway.

Disability - not illness

Dyslexia is an impairment in learning to read and spell that is due to peculiarities of brain function. Since this is a so-called partial performance disorder, those affected only have problems dealing with language; other areas of their intellectual performance are not affected. In the World Health Organization's International Classification Scheme for Mental Disorders (ICD-10), dyslexia is also referred to as "isolated spelling disorder". Since dyslexia is a permanent impairment, it is a disability - not a disease. In most cases it is diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. Specialized psychiatrists or psychotherapists do a writing, reading and intelligence test with the affected child, among other things. There is no standardized therapy; each case of dyslexia must be analyzed and encouraged individually. Due to the different dyslexia edicts, students are treated differently in each federal state. In the vast majority of countries, however, upon submission of a certificate, they are granted a disadvantage compensation and grade protection (the spelling is not assessed in exams) up to and including the tenth grade. mkoh

With what justification?

A doctor must be able to read quickly and should also not be disabled. That was Hanebuechen. In the first instance, the court nonetheless agreed with the university, but in the second instance we won. Firstly, I was able to prove that fast reading is not part of the examination according to the medical license regulations. And secondly, make it credible that there is hardly any medical emergency in which my son's disadvantage is that he reads a little more slowly. He then passed the exam without difficulty.

Mr. Grimm, you are now 70 years old. How has your own dyslexia developed over the past few decades?

If you think it will improve, I will have to disappoint you. I was and am very happy about the digital world, in which, as a dyslexic, I am spared a lot of embarrassment. And either my wife or an employee at the institute reads very important written matters against them.

Has the acceptance of dyslexics improved in the past few decades?

Absolutely. Global research and evidence that dyslexia has a genetic background has helped a lot. The intelligence of dyslexics is just as normally distributed as it is in the rest of the population. Fortunately, most people now know: No dyslexic person is stupid per se or to blame for their handicap, that is simply fate and genetics.