3 MIN READ

If life gives you melons, then you’re probably dyslexic

My perspective on dyslexia got turned on its head recently. Enough so that I decided to write my first blog about it. Anyone with dyslexia will know that’s no mean feat.

I grew up inflicted by what I believed to be a disability. It turns out that while I do struggle with reading, spelling and remembering facts, dyslexia is also responsible for many other positive attributes including creativity, problem solving and communication skills.

At least 1 in 10 people are affected by dyslexia. It’s a genetic difference in an individual’s ability to learn and process information. Our brains are actually wired differently, which means dyslexics think differently. This physical difference allows us to form alternative views and solve problems creatively. With heightened visualisation and logical reasoning skills, we often think outside the box, giving unique and intuitive perspectives.

But don’t just believe me – Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, the Wright brothers, Thomas Edison and Leonardo da Vinci can all attribute their success to dyslexia.

Quick facts about dyslexia, infographic

Dyslexics often excel in the following areas:

• Visualising (physical ideas and new concepts)
• Imaging (creating original work or giving ideas a new spin)
• Communicating (crafting and conveying clear and engaging messages)
• Reasoning (understanding patterns, evaluating possibilities and making decisions)
• Connecting (empathising and influencing others)
• Exploring (being curious and exploring ideas in an energetic way)

Suddenly this disability sounds more like a superpower, and I’m not alone.

The British Medical Journal first wrote about dyslexia in 1896, but back then it was called “word blindness”. While this focused on the negatives of the condition, it was a lot easier to spell!

In the following 100 years, successful dyslexia interventions improved, recognising and nurturing dyslexics to enable their strengths and achieve their full potential.

Early intervention is important and makes a significant difference to children’s lives and, in turn, to the careers of the adults they become. But for intervention to work, you have to be able to make a diagnosis. With more than 1 in 10 children affected by dyslexia, there are proven ways to teach and nurture them. Why do we not combine this with current teaching methods, and never diagnose dyslexia again? Dyslexia is not a learning disability, but a teaching disability.

“It’s time we all understand dyslexia properly as a different way of thinking, not a disadvantage.” – Sir Richard Branson

 
Ed specialises in mechatronics, using advanced sensors and the latest controllers to rapidly prototype and test medical device designs. Ed has spent over 13 years in a range of industries, including offshore petrochemicals, architectural lighting and defence.

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