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Holly Willoughby has shared a rare glimpse of her youngest son while opening up about being diagnosed with dyslexia.
The This Morning host posted a sweet snapshot of herself reading the book Conker the Chameleon to her son, Chester, five, as he snuggled in beside her.
In the accompanying caption, the mother-of-three paid tribute to the book’s author, Hannah Peckham, who is a friend of the presenter.
“Today is a very important day for one of my oldest friends,” she started her post. “We met on our first day of school and eventually moved into our first flat in London together... we’ve been through a lot!”
Willoughby went on to reveal that one of the things that cemented their friendship was the fact that they are both dyslexic.
“That’s why this post is even more special and actually writing this I feel very emotional,” she continued.
“If I could go back and tell my school friend that on the 2nd of February 2021 to mark the begin of #childrensmentalhealthweek she would publish her 1st book, I’m not sure she’d believe it possible.”
Willoughby finished her supportive post by revealing how proud she was of her friend.
“It’s a beautiful and important book. One that helps open the conversation with your little ones about how to talk about their emotions... we all need that right?” she signed off.
After sharing her heartfelt post, Willoughby received dozens of comments from followers who either have dyslexia themselves or have children who have been diagnosed with the condition.
“Love this, I had no idea that you were dyslexic,” one follower wrote. “After fighting with my daughters school for four years we’ve finally had her diagnosed as dyslexic rather than her being that uninterested and behind child.”
“Wow that was just what I needed to hear today. My little girl is dyslexic and I always tell her anything is possible if she wants it hard enough and works for it,” another added.
“This is amazing! My nine-year-old is dyslexic and all he wants to do is write books but finds it really hard putting things down on paper, so this post has really encouraged him when I showed him,” another parent added.
“Thank you Holly for opening up about being dyslexic,” yet another follower commented.
“My son has recently been diagnosed dyslexic and feels stupid and like he can’t do much; I can now show him a face of a person who has achieved so much in the same place as him.”
Willoughby has previously opened up about her struggle with dyslexia, saying it is the reason she sometimes makes mistakes while presenting.
She revealed she used to be scared of reading out loud at school because she thought people saw her as “stupid” when she stumbled over words.
“I’ve struggled with dyslexia since I was young and it used to hold me back,” she told Red magazine.
“At school, reading out loud absolutely terrified me because I’d get all the words wrong and I was convinced everybody thought I was stupid.
“It still happens now – most of the mistakes I make on This Morning are because of it, but it doesn’t do what it did to me back then because I don’t let it have power.
“I now know that it’s all about how you package it in your head.”
Watch: Phillip Scofield says Holly Willoughby was an important part of his decision to come out as gay.
Willoughby, 39, has also previously revealed that she uses some special tricks to help her overcome any problems while presenting.
In an interview in 2017, the star said that she used coloured scripts and also made sure to check out the autocue ahead of time.
The NHS website defines dyslexia as “a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling”.
It's estimated up to one in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia.
“Dyslexia is a lifelong problem that can present challenges on a daily basis, but support is available to improve reading and writing skills and help those with the problem be successful at school and work,” the NHS site explains.
According to the NHS, 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.