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It’s good to be dyslexic – an alternative slant on the disorder

I’ve wanted to write this blog for a while now but never quite got the story right in my head (and it’s still not that clear so forgive me).

When I look at what is traditionally written by others on this subject I tend to come across words that are less than empowering, even simply referencing it as a disorder conjures up a perception of deficiencies (absence of something) rather than proficiencies (positive attributes).

So this will be a short piece intended to celebrate the good in being dyslexic, written for those with dyslexia expressing how your super powers can be used for good:

  1. So you may be seen as quirky, some may think you are weird or wired. Often this is because you hide well the talent of creativity beneath the randomness which is the way you work. You first need to see it in yourself and own it, others need to give it the space to flourish. They and you may need to work hard to bring this out but I promise you it’s there. The inclination to think outside the box and sometimes even to think differently about what’s in the box (not changing the parameters but changing how they are seen) is something to be embraced.
  2. Good enough doesn’t often sit well with you. Persistent or perfectionist, your attention to detail is an asset to projects as you leave no stone unturned. Whilst you have the power to see challenges/flaws ahead, reframe these thoughts into solution statements. This will help those you work with see the inputs you make as coming for a good place of ‘getting the job done WELL’. Note: this attribute read wrongly can be seen as a pain to those who ‘just need to get the job DONE’. Help others see what you are seeing.
  3. So here’s one which you can use as a shared growth experience. You often are able to grasp new concepts more easily than others, so consider how you may help others see what you see. If it’s abstract to them look for a tangible reference point in their own histories of learning and development. The patterns and connections you see may not be seen by them and simply pointing to them doesn’t always work. Use your big picture perspective to build a collaborative journey for colleagues through the concept.
  4. I’m led to believe we are excellent at solving puzzles, although for me this is context specific and requires me to need thoughtful time, step back, consider and not respond in the moment. I find depriving myself of other senses during this thought process really helps e.g. I cover my eyes and look inward (go to a quiet place) or leave the immediacy of the space, sit back (but stay actively attentive to what’s going on – no slaking), let conversations happen while I allow my conscious mind and subconscious search for the pattern, connection or answer. Your internal reasoning skills or as I like to refer to it ‘the argument you have with yourself’ gives you a great filter but remember you had that reasoning with yourself so don’t forget to share a precise with others.
  5. Often a great story teller you can share compelling views. Perhaps this because of your attentiveness in listening. You listen to the words and the meaning that sits behind them in the stories of others, compounded by the fact that writing may not be your strong point (for hiccups of spelling, grammar, and sentence structure getting in the way). Let the speaker inside you live.

So from now on when the word “dyslexia” is mentioned think not of someone who finds it hard to read and spell, reverses their letters, is disorganised or forgetful. But think about the collection of capabilities, which are in fact advantages when used in the right context.

If you have dyslexia or you know of someone with dyslexia whilst you/they may not think it, know you/they possess an exceptional gift often something you will only realise later in life – perhaps when someone celebrates one of the above capabilities on display.

Call to action:

Let’s celebrate these attributes with others sooner, let these nuances be the benefits to challenges solving.

Reading and Watching:

9 Strengths of Dyslexia: https://www.nessy.com/us/dyslexia/9-strengths-dyslexia/

Overview of Dyslexia: http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/dyslexic/dyslexia-and-specific-difficulties-overview

Stop Climbing, Start Swimming: The hidden advantages of dyslexia: Jonathan Buchanan at TEDxWarwickED: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIIbeqMGB3o

Blog by Kurt Ewald Lindley (Development Lead Officer – Coach Developer)

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