The History of Dyslexia

Welcome to The History of Dyslexia, a project tracing the origins of dyslexia. We're interested in its development in science, civil society and policy - from its first diagnosis by physicians in the late 19th century, to its present widespread and hard fought recognition in UK education. Explore this website to find out more about the early advocates, pioneers and researchers of dyslexia who got us where we are today.

Explore the website


History of Dyslexia



Research Aims

This project is a collaboration between the Department of Experimental Psychology and the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford.

Currently, the project is exploring three main strands: the science of reading, creating an authoritative account of the scientific debates over the definition of dyslexia and its causes; the politics of dyslexia, exploring how scientists and campaigners struggled to make the goverment take dyslexia seriously; and the everyday experience of dyslexia, uncovering how dyslexic people and their families came to understand the subject.


The researchers are William WhyteMaggie SnowlingKate Nation and Philip Kirby, based at St. John's College

Supported by Robert EvansSteve Chinn and Denise Cripps