James Martin health: ‘They started slagging me off’ TV chef opens up about secret battle

Chris Evans says that he has mild dyslexia

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James Martin, 48, is the talented chef who has entertained audiences for years. The charismatic presenter comes across as extremely confident, however, many will be surprised to learn that he suffered with a disorder that made everyday tasks almost impossible for him.

Speaking to Woman and Home, the TV chef said: “I failed cookery in school because I was dyslexic, still am. Severely dyslexic.

“I’ve never read a book in my life.”

In more recent years, critics have commented on the fact his dyslexia impact his reading of autocue during his TV appearances.

He continued: “A couple of mean tweets, they started slagging me off about the way I read autocue.

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

James opened up again about his dyslexia earlier this year.

Speaking on ITV’s Saturday Morning, he conversed with guest Mollie King about the implications of having dyslexia.

“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,” he said.

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What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding), said the Mayo Clinic.

The health site continued: “Also called reading disability, dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language.

“People with dyslexia have normal intelligence and usually have normal vision.

“Most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring or a specialized education program. Emotional support also plays an important role.”

Symptoms of the condition include:

  • Difficulty reading, including reading aloud
  • Slow and labour-intensive reading and writing
  • Problems with spelling
  • Avoiding activities that involve reading
  • Mispronouncing names or words, or problems retrieving words
  • Trouble understanding jokes or expressions that have a meaning not easily understood from the specific words (idioms), such as “piece of cake” meaning “easy”
  • Spending an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading or writing
  • Difficulty summarizing a story
  • Trouble learning a foreign language
  • Difficulty memorizing
  • Difficulty doing math problems

Some people with dyslexia can have other problems not directly connected to reading and writing.

These may 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)
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