On Wednesday, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway digitally met with four young people with learning disabilities to learn about the challenges they face. About five percent of people have dyslexia, and just as many have dyscalculia and other specific language difficulties.
In the meeting, His Royal Highness said: “It’s not about intelligence at all. It is a disability. If we can manage to facilitate in the right way and find solutions, there is so much good people there – good people that we need in society”.
Dyscalculia is a condition that makes it hard to do mathematics and tasks that involve numbers. It is not as well known as dyslexia, but many experts believe the condition is just as common.
During his meeting, Crown Prince Haakon spoke to 20-year-old Gina who was diagnosed with dyscalculia as a 16-year-old, and at the age of 19, discovered that she had specific language difficulties. Also in the conversation was 17-year-old Oskar Røyksund, 23-year-old Solveig Jordanger Kirkeide and 20-year-old Daniel Lie. All are members of the Dyslexia Youth Association, the organisation for people between the ages of 13 and 26 who have Dyslexia in Norway.
The Crown Prince Regent was also open about his own writing and reading difficulties. His Royal Highness said: “I recognise myself a little in some of what you are talking about. I also have some writing difficulties, but not very much. I have always read slowly and write many mistakes. It is something that comes from my family. My grandfather was also open about his writing and reading difficulties. It skipped my dad. He reads very fast, but I think it is very difficult.”
The Dyslexia Youth Association was founded in 1976 and today works for everyone with reading and writing difficulties, mathematics difficulties and language difficulties. The organisation has around 9,000 members and 40 local and county teams around the country. King Harald’s elder sister, Princess Astrid, is the organisation’s high protector. Several royals in Norway and further afield also struggle with dyslexia. King Olav had dyslexia and Princess Astrid of Norway also has the disorder.