James Martin health: TV chef on how he has learned to cope with his lifelong disorder

Princess Beatrice shows support for ‘Made by Dyslexia’

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James Martin’s career seemingly goes from strength to strength. His ITV show Saturday Morning with James Martin airs every weekend and he has written a slew of successful cookery books. Writing recipes could have proven a challenge for the TV chef. James has dyslexia – a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling.

However, the chef came up with an ingenious workaround that enabled him to write his cookery books with ease.

Speaking to The Sun a few years back, he said: “Dyslexia hasn’t hindered me when it comes to recipes, though, as they’re a learning process. And I use a dictaphone to write cook books.”

James revealed other ways he has learned to cope with his dyslexia.

“I’ve just got glasses for the first time because my eyesight is deteriorating – even my iPad’s got bigger!”

The Saturday Morning Chef previously revealed the positive impact his learning disorder has had on his career.

Speaking to the Mail Online in 2013, James said the learning difficulty “drove me to success”.

“I think it’s because you’re proving yourself all the time,” he said.

“It’s not financial. It’s about proving to yourself that you can do it because when you were younger, you were five to 10 years behind everybody else at school. I’ve always had to fight for everything.”

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What are the initial warning signs of dyslexia?

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,” notes the NHS.

How to manage dyslexia

Dyslexia is a lifelong problem that can present challenges on a daily basis, but support is available to help manage symptoms.

According to the Dyslexia Association, dyslexic people often find it helpful to use technological aids such as computer packages, digital recorders and smartphones.

“This frees them from some of the effort involved in written work and routine organisation, and allows them to concentrate on the parts of their work they do best,” explains the health body.

Success in employment can be difficult for adults struggling with dyslexia but there are ways to achieve your goals.

“Seek evaluation and instructional help with reading and writing, regardless of your age,” advises the Mayo Clinic.

Also, academic challenges don’t necessarily mean a person with dyslexia can’t succeed.

“Capable students with dyslexia can be highly successful, given the right resources,” notes the Mayo Clinic.

The health body adds: “Many people with dyslexia are creative and bright, and may be gifted in math, science or the arts. Some even have successful writing careers.”

The British Dyslexia Association Helpline is a national helpline service for people with dyslexia and those who support them.

You can call 0333 405 4567 at the following times to speak with one of its advisors:

  • Tuesday 10am to 1pm
  • Wednesday 10am to 1pm
  • Thursday 1pm to 3pm.

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