The Dyslexia Advantage?
Image: From MadeByDyslexia.org
Author: Greg Voegtle
What does Albert Einstein (who developed the Theory of Relativity), Alexander Grahm Bell (Inventor of the Telephone), Jennifer Anniston (Actress from Friends), have in common? Yes, You guessed it, they have Dyslexia. What exactly is this neurological condition and how can it work to one’s an advantage? The global charity, Made By Dyslexia, is playing a significant role in educating us and as a result, changing our perception.
-October is #DyslexiaAwarenessMonth
►“Made By Dyslexia is a global charity led by successful dyslexics.
Our purpose is to help the world properly understand and support dyslexia.
Dyslexic minds process information in divergent, lateral ways. In fact they’ve created some of the world’s greatest inventions, brands, and art.”
◄Thomas Edison: Inventor of the light bulb
Although Dyslexia comes with its unique set of challenges, a few modifications to how we perceive it, and how it is addressed in our education system, would allow many (children and adults) who have it, to flourish.
We will look at two individuals with Made By Dyslexia, who are: changing global perceptions, revealing the positive impact it has had on their lives and are educating us on the importance of utilizing the unique effects it has on one’s brain.
It is hard to believe that: Sir Richard Branson, who became a billionaire as founder of the Virgin Group (which overseas 400 companies), Albert Einstein (who developed the Theory of Relativity) or Steve Jobs (the former CEO of Apple) as: Lazy, Stupid, Incompetent. Sadly however, the education system often did.
In an earlier interview with Mark Bowden (a former trainer to a Prime Minster for G-8 Summits), he expressed to me that he was also considered “lazy and stupid” in grade school. He struggled there, where his teachers did not recognize his potential.
Although Mark and the others above, have well proved their doubters wrong, not every student will get the chance too. It wasn’t until after Richard Branson, left an unsupportive school system, that he would realize he had greater potential than what he was told in his youth.
Branson was quoted expressing how later, he would learn how dyslexia would help him:
“think creatively and laterally, and see solutions where others saw problems.”
-Branson, Independent, 2017
Must students drop out of school in order to reach their full potential?
Kate Griggs, founder of Made By Dyslexia (MBD), has an alternative.
“If dyslexic children’s strengths and difficulties are identified and supported early,
then they can achieve amazing things…you just have to look at all of the fantastic stories we’re sharing on our social media.”
Kate Griggs (in pink) and Richard Branson
Can Our Classrooms Help Those with the Condition Flourish?
Kate Griggs expressed to me:
“Way back in the 70’s, I benefited from an education which supported my Dyslexia.”
When her son Ted, began having troubles at his school with his, Kate was surprised that his teachers didn’t receive training in working with children with it.
“We moved Ted to my old school, where he quickly flourished.”
“Once they” (colleges, universities and employers) “have the correct tools and strategies“, those with the condition can “excel in different areas.”
The event with Kates’ her eldest son, compelled her to help other kids and families. This lead her to beginning her most recent campaign, Made By Dyslexia.
“Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences introduces the idea that people possess different kinds of minds that reflect their own unique strengths”
-Dyslexia Specialist, Sarah Meredith
A number of other influential and prominent individuals, such as Richard Branson of Virgin and Kate Griggs founder and CEO of Made by Dyslexia (who formerly lead Extraordinary People), as well as other organizations, are looking into and showing us how the condition may offer some unique advantages to those who have it.
-Albert Einstein would often imagine himself as a beam of light,
traveling through the universe.
But FIRST-What Is It and How Does it Affect Us?
The Australia Dyslexia Association (ADA) explains:
“The word dyslexia comes from the Greek language and means difficulty with words” as “Individuals with dyslexia have trouble with aspects of reading, spelling and writing.”
What is having Dyslexia like?
-Take a look at the Image here, where Victor Widell attempts to show us what it is like to read when you have it.
◄James Trevor Oliver
•British celebrity chef and restaurateur
•Net Worth: $400 million
The (ADA) also note that: “Dyslexia is not a disease” and warn us that: “we should be wary about assuming that:
language processing difficulties/differences associated with dyslexia are deficits.”
Are There Strengths Associated with having Dyslexia?
Some Strengths that “individuals with dyslexia may display” are:
•3-D Construction (among others)
-Reference: Singleton (UK)
Picture: Mark Bowden, Former Trainer to a Prime Minister-G-8 Leader
Is there a Relationship Between Dyslexia and Intelligence?
The short-final answer and conclusion is no. If you want to read further about a study on this by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, click here.
However, here are two conclusions which support each other, from separate professors researching the topic:
“Reading difficulty is independent of other cognitive abilities.”
-Professor John D. E. Gabrieli (from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
“ a child who is extremely bright can also be the one who is struggling to retrieve spoken words or to read fluently”
-Jack Fletcher (from the University of Houston Texas Medical Center Annex) also supports this conclusion.
Full Clip: Dyslexic Sperm Bank
The Author's Story: (who is not dyslexic)
In grade school, I was placed in special classes on a weekly-monthly basis, and dealt with mockery from peers and my first grade teacher.
Always behind other students in basic reading, writing, and other abilities, I assumed I was less intelligent and stupid.
Fortunately, I had a supportive family, who did their best to not let my challenges influence my self-worth or influence my later ambitions.
-Not everyone is this fortunate though. Many students may grow up believing their worth based off how they are treated.
-Former World Heavyweight Champion, Muhammad Ali
•What does, a boxer, “the plane, the car, the light bulb, Picasso’s paintings or Steven Spielberg’s films” have in common?
An Incorrect Perception:
A “YouGov survey to be unveiled at the launch of Richard Branson’s charity Made by Dyslexia, shows just three per cent of people consider dyslexia a positive trait.”
-Independent, April 2017
However, according to Richard Branson:
“It is not a disadvantage; it is merely a different way of thinking.
Apple Stock: Shares from Steve Jobs company worth $100 in 2002, would grow in value to $5,000 by 2016. This is greater than 50 times one’s initial investment.
-J.B. Maverick, Investopedia, 2016
-Maybe we All need to to think Differently…
about the condition and how we treat those in our education system who have it. Who is taking an initiative and making a global impact?
Global Leaders Who Are Making a Global Impact-
►Founder and CEO of Made By Dyslexia
Then Chancellor, Gordon Brown (Former British Prime Minister), presenting Kate with the Social Inclusion Award, at a Reception in Downing Street.
Creating Solutions: “We aim to democratise dyslexia support so that every dyslexic child is identified and enabled to get the right help, and to understand their brilliant potential.”
-Former Charity: Extraordinary People
-Twitter Handle: @kate_griggs
Some, of Her Many Accomplishments:
- In 2005: founded the dyslexia charity Xtraordinary People. This united “the UK dyslexia charities and devising and leading a high-profile campaign”
- In 2007: a £900,000 pledge by the the U.K. government to help “launch an initiative” in efforts to “improve support for pupils with dyslexia in school.”
- “The No to Failure project” was “launched in conjunction with” her former charity Xtraordinary People.
-Liz Ford, The Guardian
- Due to her campaign in 2009, “the UK Government commissioned Sir Jim Rose CBE to conduct a report on how to support dyslexic pupils in state funded schools”
Results: The report identified many specific issues with the current academic and testing structure, and made a number of recommendations, including:
- Early Identification
- Specialist Support
- A Programme for Teacher Training
Kate (who also has Dyslexia) was shocked that the teachers at her
son's school hadn't received training for students with Dyslexia.
Compelled to help other students and parents, she started
campaigning initially with Xtraordinary People, (and now her new
campaign, Made By Dyslexia), which is focused on educating those on
Dyslexic Thinking Skills.
Richard Branson: Founder of Virgin Group
Twitter Handle: @richardbranson
His New Autobiography: Finding My Virginity
He started after exiting high school in 1966, at the age of 16, “publishing The Student magazine from the basement of a rented flat.”
-The Guardian, Richard Wachman, 2012
- Creating 69,000 jobs in 35 Countries
-Providing employees with careers in: Airlines, Telecom, Financial Services Companies, Health Clubs, Travel Agencies and more
- Involvement with the Giving Pledge Campaign
-Pledging to donate approximately half his fortune (a total of about 5 billion dollars) to entrepreneurial endeavors which impact our world.
- Employee Well Being Initiatives
-Working from Home
-A “full year of paid parental leave for new moms and dads working at Virgin Management.”
- Chris Myers, Forbes 2015
- Creating the Charity-Virgin Unite
- 2017: Helped Launch Made by Dyslexia
Sir Branson said he hoped his new charity would develop campaigns to
explain dyslexic thinking and work with governments, business
leaders and individuals to identify and inspire dyslexics.
-"My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently
unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them ... from the
perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had
to attempt it."
-Sir. R. Branson
- How many Richard Bransons, Steve Jobs and Kate Grigs, are we missing out on?
- How many more jobs could have been created, scientific and medical questions answered, or global campaigns created?
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Bio: Greg is a U.S. Political Consultant and Geopolitical Consultant (most recently for NATO), who specializes in strategic communications and analysis. He has worked on humanitarian issues and lead Scenario Teams (for NATO) at Strategic and Tactical level Military Bases and Headquarters in Europe and The Republic of Georgia.
-Contact Him here or by email: GregInternational14@yahoo.com