“People with dyslexia have skills that we need, says GCHQ”. 

(GCHQ – the United Kingdom’s top level security agency)

The value of neuro-divergent individuals’ thinking processes is being increasingly recognised. 

How to help your dyslexic child become the next 007 or more.

  1. Get a diagnosis.

Dyslexia involves thinking differently, rather than having a disability. A diagnosis will give the child an insight into their strengths and weaknesses, an understanding of how dyslexia affects them and how their brain operates. Unidentified dyslexia can cause low self-esteem in both children and adults. 

2. Use technology.

Technology is improving all the time. Seek out useful aids and apps that work for the child. For example, rather than reading material, use YouTube videos, podcasts or text to speech apps. 

3. Mentors are useful.

One person taking an interest in a child can make all the difference: someone who believes in them, encourages them and has their back.

4. Find out what the child enjoys and play to their strengths. 

‘Find out what dyslexic kids are interested in, what they’re passionate about. And they can be absolutely exceptional in their area of passion.’

(Richard Branson – Entrepreneur)

Focus on developing the dyslexic child’s hobbies and interests. When they’re absorbed in a hobby, it is easy for them to work hard. Successful people always focus on what they can do rather than what they can’t. Dyslexics may have limited success at school, but life after school comes with choice and innumerable possibilities.  Many dyslexics enjoy visual and spatial strengths and gravitate towards creative careers. Dyslexic architects – Norman Foster, (The Gherkin) and Richard Rogers, (the Millennium Dome). Dyslexic artists – Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. Dyslexic fashion designers – Paul Smith and Tommy Hilfiger. Other dyslexics have good oral skills and are excellent story tellers. Dyslexic poet Benjamin Zephaniah couldn’t write, but could tell stories: his poetry is to be spoken rather than read. Dyslexic comedian Eddie Izzard tells stories, he doesn’t adhere to a written script, but ad libs in response to audience feedback.

5. Stay positive – All clouds have silver linings.

Dyslexics develop good people skills.  They know how it feels to be unfairly criticised, appear foolish, be disappointed and frustrated and, as a result, are empathetic and willing to accommodate the needs of others.

Dyslexics understand the value of hard work. These children will have to work harder than their peers to achieve the same results. The experience of working hard is essential for success in the real world. Stamina, grit, perseverance, determination are all characteristics that dyslexics acquire early as a result of the extra effort they are forced to make. 

Team work is another dyslexic forte. Dyslexics appreciate working in a team. They are happy to admit their areas of weakness, to delegate, to give others the opportunity to play to their strengths in order to compensate for the dyslexic individual’s deficiencies. 

Obstacles and challenges develop lateral thinking skills. School can be challenging for children with dyslexia, but thinking of ways around problems forces the individual to work creatively. Technology is increasingly capable of reproducing routine linear activity, so anyone thinking ‘outside the box’ is certain to be sought after. Recent BBC research found that 60% of self-made millionaires are dyslexic. 

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.’ Albert Einstein.

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