James Martin health: Chef’s ‘severe’ condition leads to ‘terrible disasters’ – symptoms

James Martin says he gets ‘words mixed-up’ due to dyslexia

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At the age of 30, James was diagnosed with dyslexia. After never having read a book and even failing cookery school, the chef finally understood why when he was diagnosed. Speaking with BBC Radio 1 presenter Mollie King – who is also dyslexic – the chef revealed: “I know a big passion of yours is this dyslexia foundation which I wanted to pick up on because it’s something that’s close to my heart, because I’m dyslexic as well – severely dyslexic.”

Mollie, like many individuals, found out she had the condition as a child. But for James, it was not until he tried to read an autocue when working on TV that he thought something might be wrong.

His presenting style also gained criticism from social media. The chef said: “A couple of mean tweets started sl***ing me off about the way I read autocue.

“But I can’t read autocue. If I read it I will make a mistake”

James continued to explain the effect that his learning difficulties have had on him: “There’s been plenty of disasters.

“Fifteen years I’ve been doing Saturday Morning so there are plenty.

“Usually, the ones that are out there, the ones that are on the internet really.

“And the fact I’m dyslexic, so I keep getting the words mixed up when I read – I don’t know how you guys do it on television.

“I just completely mess it all up, but that’s where it all goes terribly wrong when I get my words mixed up.”

Admitting that his dyslexia leads to him making mistakes, James uses them as a positive to strive further in his career.

He added: “After nearly 30 years of TV, I realise that it’s the mistakes that kind of will hold you in regards to further on in your life.”

In order to manage a career in live TV, James was coached on how to “walk and talk” by a BBC employee.

“I’ve got to walk and talk and it wasn’t until a wonderful lady, I’ll always remember her and I’d like to thank her as well,” James explained.

“She works for the BBC and she turned around and said, ‘You’ve got to walk and talk at the same time,’ and sent me away for a little lesson on how to do it.

“You need somebody like that to give you the confidence, don’t you really?”

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is described as a common learning difficulty by the NHS that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling.

But unlike a learning disability, intelligence isn’t affected.

Symptoms of dyslexia

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

Signs may include:

  • Reading and writing very slowly
  • Confusing the order of letters in words
  • Putting letters the wrong way round (such as writing “b” instead of “d”)
  • Having poor or inconsistent spelling
  • Understanding information when told verbally, but have difficulty with information that’s written down
  • Finding it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
  • Struggling with planning and organisation.

Some individuals with dyslexia can have other problems not directly connected to reading and writing. These include:

  • Difficulties with numbers (dyscalculia)
  • Poor short-term memory
  • Problems concentrating and a short attention span, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Poor organisation and time management
  • Physical coordination problems (developmental coordination disorder, also called DCD or dyspraxia).

According to some estimates, 30 percent of those with dyslexia also have ADHD, compared with three to five percent of the general school population experiencing both conditions.

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