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Facts, Myths, Statistics and The Hell of School
The Dyslexic Advantage
You’re dyslexic? Wow! That means you have some amazing gifts! The planet needs your unique brilliance! First thing—let’s talk about dyslexia as an advantageous expression of neural diversity rather than as a disability. Here’s some things to keep in mind:
The dyslexic brain has some interesting differences that are distinct advantages. For example, dyslexics easily and rapidly see the “big picture” in unique and creative ways that allow them to innovate (Steve Jobs), accurately predict outcomes as in the financial world (Charles Schwab) understand antecedents (the paleontologist Jack Horner), or to express in creative ways that are new (Pablo Picasso).
Here are Four Areas Where Dyslexics Especially Excel:
The Arts and Humanities:
Dyslexics make great writers, filmmakers, actors, artists, musicians, counselors and coaches, teachers and public speakers.
Dyslexics are wonderful architectural designers, contractors, and builders
In The Engineering Field:
You’ll find dyslexic mathematicians, mechanics, physicists, and computer scientists
This is another field well-suited to dyslexics, where they are self made entrepreneurs, financial wizards and sales people, and leaders.
Dyslexics . . .
- are highly curious
- have great intuition and insight
- think and perceive multi-dimensionally (using all the senses)
- have a lively imagination
- are very creative
- see the big picture (don’t get lost in details and are able to see the important aspects)
- can recognize patterns, connections and similarities
- can be very driven, ambitious and persistent
- are capable of seeing things differently than others
Right this moment you are benefiting from the brilliance of the dyslexic mind
Dyslexic inventors have given you the car (Henry Ford), your Iphone (Steve Jobs), the light bulb (Thomas Edison), the first phone (Alexander Graham Bell), the CDs you use (James Russell), the airplane (the Wright Brothers). And the list goes on.
Dyslexics are great innovators and problem solvers
Because dyslexics are such great solution finders and cutting edge thinkers they are needed even more right now to find solutions to the many difficulties our planet faces.
Did you know:
World famous architect and dyslexic Richard Rogers specifically employs dyslexics on his design team because he needs their special abilities to envision and create his building designs.
Facts and Myths
- Dyslexia runs in families.
- Dyslexia has nothing to do with not working hard enough.
- Dyslexia has nothing to do with IQ. Einstein was profoundly dyslexic and had an IQ of 160. In fact, it is thanks to his dyslexia that he was able to think in his genius way.
- Having dyslexia is a distinct advantage otherwise people with dyslexic genes wouldn’t have survived. Humans have been around for about 200,000 years and people started writing about 5,000 years ago—the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things. People only started being schooled in the 1800s during the Industrial Revolution.
- Dyslexia is a learning difference, it is not a learning disability.
Advantages and Tradeoffs
Advantages: Dyslexics have distinct advantages in thinking outside the box, connecting ideas, 3-D thinking and seeing the big picture.
Tradeoffs: The same neural differences that give dyslexics their advantages also affect their ability to read and write. Additionally, dyslexics may struggle with organizational skills, planning and prioritizing, keeping time, or concentrating with background noise. Each individual has a unique combination of their gifts, abilities and trade offs.
Keep in mind—reading and handwriting are a transfer of information only.They are not the same as thinking creatively and have nothing to do with intelligence.
“Having Survived School" aka "School Was Hell”
- Students have many different learning styles. Unfortunately, many school systems are set up to teach students only within a narrow band of a wide continuum of learning styles. If a student doesn’t learn well within this limited spectrum, they suffer, often profoundly. While there are some schools set up for dyslexics, it is common to hear dyslexics and those that help them, such as Professor John Stein, speak of the horrors of their “having survived school.” School is often Hell Itself.
- There are some main stream schools and colleges that offer support for dyslexic kids.
- There are also schools specifically designed to teach dyslexic students.
- Some kids do best with home schooling if that is possible for their parents.
- An unfortunate reality is that sometimes parents must bring in an attorney in order to have a school system give the support to their child that is already the child’s by legal right. Many kids are still falling through the cracks, and suffer low self esteem, PTSD, anxiety and depression into their adult lives.
- Kids need people who see their strengths, believe in them, and offer support. Dyslexic kids often excel at things outside of school, and it is vital that their interests be engaged. Schooling needs to be tailored to fit their learning style, and when this doesn’t happen, they make what’s wrong with this picture about themselves instead of the system. They don’t value themselves. They end up “practicing stress” instead of practicing being themselves.
- TIP: Dean Bragonier, Founder and Executive Dyslexic of NoticeAbility, has created a nonprofit dedicated to creating a dyslexic-specific middle school curriculum—find it at: https://www.noticeability.org
- TIP: Eye To Eye has developed a coalition of mentoring programs for students with learning differences by students who have learning differences. Check them out at: https://eyetoeyenational.org
Richard Branson was beaten at school until he bled, because he was Dyslexic
According to the International Dyslexia Association and author Shelly Shaywitz, dyslexia affects up to 20 percent of the population: That means that 1 in 5 people have dyslexia. Over 40 million adult Americans are dyslexic, but only 2 million know it. One out of every five school aged kids—20% of the classroom—in America are dyslexic.
- 32% of students with dyslexia/LD drop out of high school or do not receive a regular diploma.
- 50% of youth in the juvenile justice system have dyslexia/LD.
- 60% of adolescents in drug and alcohol rehabilitation have dyslexia/LD.
- 35% of entrepreneurs have dyslexia.
- At the nations top engineering school dyslexia is known as the “MIT Disease.”
- 40% of self made millionaires have dyslexia.
- Over 50% of NASA employeesare dyslexic.
- 80% of popular opinion still associates dyslexia with some form of “mental retardation”—this is not true.
Some Keys to Unlocking Your Brilliance:
- Find out who you really are! Engage with anyone and anything that offers you the support and the dignity to find out who you truly are.
- Find out what interests you the most: for pleasure, for study, and for a profession.
- A really important part of finding dyslexic strengths is to find other dyslexics to share interests, triumphs, and challenges.
- A psychotherapist who is somatically-based and who is experienced in healing trauma can be an enormous help to process emotions and find out who you are and what interests you.
- A mentor/coach, especially one who is also dyslexic, can be a huge help to implement your plans and make your dreams a reality.