The Advantages of Dyslexia

“It is time we lost the stigma around dyslexia. It is not a disadvantage; it is merely a different way of thinking.” -Richard Branson 

Dyslexia is a language based learning disability that may affect reading, writing and spelling. Most people with dyslexia have difficulties decoding words when reading longer passages. Some will find words or lines jumping around the page or the words will have parts of their letters missing. See the pictures below as examples of what a person with dyslexia may see while reading. 

School years can be particularly challenging as proficient reading is an essential tool for learning a large part of the subject matter. With an ever-increasing emphasis on education and literacy, more and more children are needing help in learning to read, spell, express their thoughts on paper, and acquire adequate use of grammar. No two individuals with dyslexia are alike and symptoms can range greatly in severity. When dyslexia is mild, a learner may simply need to work harder than his or her peers to acquire decoding and encoding skills. In severe cases, reading and spelling may be completely interrupted if strategy interventions and appropriate accommodations are not put into place. 

The dyslexic child can suffer low self-esteem and feelings of low self-worth as they perceive themselves to be not as clever as his or her peers and it is considered a handicap: a mental deficiency that makes reading, the processing of language, and remembering whether letters and numbers face left or right difficult. Challenging this view, many experts argue that dyslexia is an alternative way brains can be wired – one with many advantages. One of the biggest misconceptions is that dyslexic brains differ only in the ways they process printed symbols, when in reality they show an alternative pattern of processing that affects the way they process information across the board. Dyslexic brains are organized in a way that maximizes strength in making big picture connections. Other qualities reported by successful dyslexics include: a strong memory for stories, excellent puzzle solving skills, good spatial reasoning, extremely empathetic, possess an ability to think outside the box as well as critical and abstract thinkers. Many famous and successful people around the world are dyslexic such as Albert Einstein, Richard Branson, Keira Knightley and Steve Jobs, therefore inspiring children with dyslexia that they can succeed in life due to their different way of thinking. Dyslexia is now being recognised by some employers as an asset in the workplace rather than a setback because they can be creative thinkers and excellent problem solvers. 

Apart from providing research-based interventions it is also important that educators and schools show case the talent that dyslexic students may have and give them opportunities to use their skills in a different way to children without dyslexia. 

For further information and reading please see the links to videos, books and websites below: 

See Dyslexia Differently by The British Dyslexia Association:  

The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald D Davis
The Dyslexic Advantage by Brock and Fernette Eide

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