Dyslexia is a huge theme in my life. I don't believe that I am dyslexic (I have a suspicion that I could be dyspraxic) but my daughter is and I am managing this blog, as well as working in the field of assistive technology ultimately supporting dyslexics.
In the past 7 or 8 years of being on the dyslexia learning curve, I have developed three fundamental views.
1) Dyslexia is not a disability but does get in the way a school.
Ok, I know that technically Dyslexia is seen as a learning disability and yes it does indeed (without support) drastically affect the performance of a dyslexic learner at school. But to be honest, the education system has been developed in such a way that it excludes dyslexic learners unless they get support.
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In the UK there are numerous schools that have realised this and have put strategies in place that make it easier for dyslexic learners to thrive. Those schools understand how, for dyslexic learners, letters and words can jumble up on the page, or make reading incredibly tiring or how it impacts those learners on an emotional level. Some schools for example, St David's College in Wales are specialists at helping dyslexic learners to thrive like Jack Harley-Walsh who left college with a bunch of GCSEs and is doing great.
At the end of the day, what schools like St David's is tuning into, is that dyslexic brains simply need another way to take in and express information. Find the right strategy and you unlock a wealth of skills and perspectives that make that pupil shine. Which leads me onto point number 2...
2) Dyslexia might get in the way at school but it comes with benefits.
Once we are able to unlock the potential of the dyslexic brain we will find a bunch of benefits!
Dyslexics are known for their ability to think differently. Mostly they tend to be less focused on detail and more on abstract or bigger picture concepts. Dyslexic thinkers are idea machines! They inspire others with their creativity.
I chuckled today because I saw an advert from a design company advertising for new staff and in that advert they referenced that famous dyslexic, Steve Jobs and then stated that they did not want 'non-dyslexics' to apply!
|Non Dyslexics Allowed! Courtesy of The Guardian.|
If you are a dyslexic learner and you are feeling that life at school or college is a hard slog, be encouraged as there is a place for your way of thinking in the wider world even if it isn't quite working out that well at school.
3) Being dyslexic probably better prepares you for life outside of school.
If we are able to allow ourselves to get beyond the negative self belief that commonly affects people with dyslexia and look around with hope, you will find that you are probably better prepared for life outside of education than those that do not have dyslexia.
It seems to me that the social and educational aspects of having dyslexia can be emotionally draining and for many dyslexics they find a way to push through so as to be the best that they can be. Let's face it they have to. For many dyslexics they have a need to prove that they are as good as anyone else and quite right too. From the age of four to twenty-one many dyslexics have to work in an environment that can present a disadvantage. But life is not all about competing with skills, it is about competing to find your place in the world where you can shine. When you leave education, there are no rules that tell you how to shine apart from the ones that you put on yourself!
There are a lot of examples of dyslexics that shine and some are high profile ones such as Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, Jamie Oliver and the list goes on. Not all of us are destined to be millionaires or billionaires but that doesn't mean that you won't be successful.
The definition of what 'successful' means is down to you.
The Studying With Dyslexia Blog