Dyslexia: the hidden superpower?

Many with dyslexia have gone on to great success

"Being dyslexic can actually help in the outside world. I see some things clearer than other people do because I have to simplify things to help me and that has helped others." - Richard Branson

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a difficulty in learning to read, interpret words, letters and short-term memory. It's a "specific learning difficulty", which means it causes problems with certain abilities used for learning, such as reading and writing. Unlike a learning disability, intelligence isn't affected.

In fact, many dyslexics "are especially good at putting together big pictures, or seeing larger context, or imagining how processes will play out over time. Some dyslexic individuals are especially good at spatial reasoning. Putting together three-dimensional spatial perspectives is easy for them. They may work in design, 3-D art, architecture, be engineers, builders, inventors, organic chemists..." (Fernette and Brock Eide, "The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain").

It's estimated that up to one in every ten to twenty people in the UK have some degree of dyslexia.

What are the symptoms of dyslexia?

Signs of dyslexia usually become apparent when a child starts school and begins to focus more on learning how to read and write. A person with dyslexia may:

  • Read and write very slowly
  • Confuse the order of letters in words
  • Put letters the wrong way around – such as writing "b" instead of "d"
  • Have poor or inconsistent spelling
  • Understand information when told verbally, but have difficulty with information that's written down
  • Find it hard to carry out a sequence of directions
  • Struggle with planning and organisation.

However, as mentioned, people with dyslexia often have good skills in other areas, such as creative thinking and problem solving.

How is dyslexia treated?

If you think your child may have dyslexia, the first step is to speak to their teacher or their school's special needs coordinator (SENCO) about your concerns. They may be able to offer additional support to help your child if necessary.

For adults, speak to your GP or OH provider. A diagnostic screening is undertaken by an experienced psychologist, questioning the individual to explore their strengths and weaknesses and taking them through a series of cognitive and attainment tests, leading to an in-depth report. A workplace assessment is then undertaken, whereby the assessor examines the work environment and job tasks, leading to a series of recommendations to support the employee’s challenges in the workplace. Specialist support can be provided including one-to-one coaching, group training, e-Learning and assistive technology training, along with tools and tips specific to the condition.

The outcomes are typically that the difficulties the employee experienced in their job are minimised, based on strategies and tools they can use to better manage themselves. This in turn can lead to improvements in productivity and wellbeing at work.

Duradiamond Healthcare helps organisations and their people with dyslexia assessments, workplace adjustments and awareness campaigns. Speak to us today.