Dyslexia — A Blessing in Disguise?

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Dyslexia is a learning disability, often hampering a child’s ability to learn to read. This can cause a lot of issues for kids, who simply don’t fit into a rigid educational system, trying to teach them with traditional methods. But can dyslexia also be positive? Can it make a person stronger, more motivated, more successful? Several well-known people seem to think so…

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Dyslexia is often thought of as a brain disorder, but the terms are used together less and less. Studies made in recent years found no connection can be made between dyslexia and a lack of intelligence. Dyslexic children, therefore, have an equal shot at getting high-paying jobs, building successful businesses or becoming world-renowned specialists in their fields.

Dyslectic people were often thought-off as being disadvantaged, because of their lack of academic success. But:

  • If a person doesn’t like reading, you can’t expect him to get a Ph.D. in literature. But you can’t expect me to get a Ph.D. in biology as well since I have absolutely no interest in biology at all.
  • Since when is the academic success a good indication for… well… anything?

Take a look at the list of people who have had poor academic success:

  • Steve Jobs: The founder of Apple dropped out of college after the first semester. Later he became one of the many drop-out billionaires.
  • Richard Branson: The space travel enthusiast had an extremely poor academic record. His high-school teacher telling him he would end up either in prison or a millionaire. He did have a strong support system at home, though. What does that tell you?
  • Bill Gates: The founder of Microsoft only got his honorary degree in 2007, more than 30 years after leaving Harvard. Gates focused on computers and writing code instead of getting an educational certification. It seems to have worked for him.
  • Jack Ma: Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and one of the richest people alive, applied to and was rejected by Harvard ten times. He is famous for saying to his son, “being in the middle grade-wise is fine. Only a person who has average grades in school has enough free time to learn other skills”.
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Would you say, these people were not successful in their endeavors?

Can dyslexia make a person stronger?

We all know the famous proverb: “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. So, can dyslexia, when tackled correctly, actually help your child in the long run?

On average, a person spends about 21,000 hours in school in a lifetime. And we all know, those hours are difficult enough without having to battle dyslexia. But coping with dyslexia can have positive effects. Or at least Richard Branson seems to think so.

Branson said in an interview, dyslexia helped him grow his business. Because of dyslexia, he had to learn to simplify a lot of things and delegate many others. That lead to Virgin always having very clear messaging, which helped people to identify with the brand. Delegating helped as well, as Branson always gave a certain job he couldn’t do to a specialist in his field, and never tried to do everything himself (which some of you may know, it’s a number one mistake when running own business).

So can a child use the same techniques to successfully finish school and cope with dyslexia throughout the 21,000 hours?

He certainly can. Sure, you cannot simply delegate homework to your peers, but there is a much greater awareness about dyslexia today than when Branson was in school. Some educational institutions may already have special programs for dyslexic children. There are several useful methods for coping with dyslexia and technology can help you as well.

All of these can be used to build a strong support system for the child. To show him or her that he/she can do this. No child is the same, so you will need to try different things out to find the methods and tools that work with your child. Patience is key. But at the end of the day, parents are the support the child needs on his way of becoming his own man or her own woman. For everything else:

Where there is a will, there is a way.

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