Stéphane Séjourné, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, has been receiving a lot of criticism for his public speaking skills. However, these verbal mistakes are actually caused by a neurological disorder called dyslexia, which affects 6 to 8% of the French population according to the French Federation of Dys (FFDys). Séjourné discussed his dyslexia in an interview with Le Parisien, stating that he was diagnosed with a severe form of dyslexia at a young age. Although it can resurface during moments of fatigue or high stress, Séjourné cannot control it. Dyslexia can vary from person to person and can pose significant obstacles to learning, ultimately affecting one’s self-esteem.

In France, dyslexia affects about 4 to 5% of students, with difficulties in reading and writing occurring early on in their education. Common issues include letter and sound confusions, spelling errors, and slow, illegible handwriting. These difficulties are typically identified by teachers and family members, leading to a diagnosis of dyslexia. Dyslexia is not indicative of intellectual deficiencies, autism, or psychiatric disorders, but rather a malfunction in the brain’s ability to process information correctly. The severity and potential coexistence of other disorders can vary from one individual to another. In addition to dyslexia, individuals may also experience other related dysfunctions, such as dysorthographia, dysgraphia, or dyscalculia, which affect written expression, writing skills, and mathematical abilities, respectively.

To help individuals with dyslexia, special glasses called Lexilens have been developed by Atol. These glasses aim to correct visual deficits associated with dyslexia, although their effectiveness is still being studied. Dyslexia can also be accompanied by a speech disorder known as dysphasia, characterized by indistinct speech, syntax problems, and difficulty expressing oneself orally. People with dysphasia may struggle to communicate information, share feelings, engage in conversations, or provide oral presentations. Despite these challenges, Séjourné emphasizes the importance of hard work and rehabilitation, as he has personally overcome many of his oral communication difficulties.

While Séjourné states that dyslexia does not significantly impact his work, effectiveness, or international negotiations, dysphasia can still have various repercussions in everyday life. It can affect communication skills, social integration, and self-esteem, potentially leading to isolation. Nonetheless, Séjourné sends a positive message to the millions of people with dyslexia, saying that although it may seem insurmountable, anything is possible and not to lose hope.

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