In Hungary, after some time, more and more specialists now agree that dyslexia is not a disease, nor is it an illness that can be cured. Dyslexia is a specific way of thinking, which is disadvantageous in acquiring some abilities and skills, especially ones that are essential to academic achievement. Despite their average or above average intelligence, dyslexic children cannot read, write, count and study like others. They need special help.

In Hungary, dyslexia is usually diagnosed in childhood. There are official insitutions where speech therapists, special needs educators, and psychologists assess dyslexia, but there is no standard test for identifying dyslexia in childhood: there are more and more methods used by different institutions, but none of them is accepted by a wider specialist circle or officially used to identify dyslexia. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that there is no measure for adult dyslexia. If somebody wishes to get a dispensation after age 18, a medical expert has to decide in their case. Indeed, most dyslexia specialists in Hungary are convinced that dyslexia cannot be diagnosed after the age of twelve.


Since dyslexia is considered a problem exclusive to school years, specialists tend to finish dealing with dyslexia after obligatory school attendance is over.

There are two dyslexia associations and several foundations for dyslexics in Hungary. However, they concentrate on dyslexic children and their parents, and do not follow the problem into adulthood. Adults have practically no organised support for any difficulties they may have that are caused by dyslexia.

According to the Dyslexia Association of Hungary, “the first and most important symptom of the development of dyslexia is the mixing up of letters. The most frequent being the mixing up of b-d, primarily for the reason that they are visually very similar. Additionally, their place of articulation is very close. What makes their differentiation even more difficult is that the switch frequently results in the creation of a meaningful new word (as in the minimal pair: bal-dal = “left”-“song”). A similar confusion occurs in the case of vowels with similar places of articulation (ö-ü, á-e, f-v)”.

The Association goes on to say that with its preferred method (the Fenyvesi Programme), “treatment of dyslexia takes place individually, once a week in a 60-minute session, to which a 20-minute practice at home is necessary,” and that “with the special exercises, the switching of letters can be cured in 4-5 sessions”. Subsequently, “the child’s reading can be fixed in 2-3 months, and after that it only depends on his or her diligence and abilities what results he or she achieves at school”.

It adds a caveat, however:


As adult dyslexia in essence hardly exists on an official level, very few laws actually deal with it. Legislators have traditionally concentrated only on the education of dyslexics.

People who are identified officially as dyslexic get extra time for written exams on the final exam finishing secondary education and their spelling is not assessed. Similarly, dyslexics receive dispensation from written exams in foreign languages, and in serious cases are totally exempt from them altogether. The notion of “special schools” includes special classes in mainstream schools.

There are special classes and schools for children with specific learning difficulties in Hungary. In more serious cases, special needs teachers or speech therapists do identification and therapy individually or in small groups to treat dyslexia and other types of specificlearning difficulties.

According to the World Health Organisation Full World Report on Disability, there are basically three ways to finance special needs education, whether in specialized institutions or mainstream schools:

■ through the national budget, such as setting up a Special National Fund;
■ through financing the particular needs of institutions – for materials, teaching aids, training, and operational support;
■ through financing individuals to meet their needs . This is the route the Hungarian system takes.

Research on Dyslexia in Hungary

In Hungary, most of the dyslexic adults, especially those above forty, do not know what it is that lies behind their difficulties. The syndrome now called dyslexia is rather new: some decades ago, children who were not able to learn to read, write or count were considered mentally disabled or perhaps, at best, lazy. Dyslexic students receive no official support at any Hungarian universities. There are no services for them to provide practical help for their studies.

A survey found a general lack of access to rehabilitation in primary, secondary, tertiary, and community health care settings, as well as regional and socioeconomic inequalities in access to services.

An estimated 7-10% of Hungarian students suffer from specific learning difficulties (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia), but the number of these students is gradually increasing. Due to lack of standardised procedures for identifying these children, more precise data are not yet available.

See for instance:
>>, accessed 3 February 2010