Monday, October 27, 2008

Dyslexic Strengths

When you ask someone to tell you about themselves, what sort of things do they choose to say? In all likelihood they will tell you about their work, their family, their hobbies and interests. The things that define them. The things they are positive about. The things they are good at.

What would we think if, on being asked about themselves, a person listed off all the things they were negative about and couldn't do well?

"You want to know about me? I've never been a good runner, that's a start. Was lousy at it in school. I'm not good at parties, either - introducing myself to people. Hate it. I'm a poor gardener too. Plants always die on me. And I can't stand coffee. Horrible stuff."

We'd think it was time for them to see a psychiatrist.

With that in mind, think of the tyranny of the word 'dyslexia'. 'Dys', as in dysfunctional. Lexia as in lexicon. Language. Vocabulary. Dyslexia - a problem with words.

The reality is that dyslexia, a difference in the hardwiring of the brain, conveys some advantages and some disadvantages. Successful dyslexics are people who manage to apply their natural strengths to the things they do. But we are still burdened by the negative term 'dyslexia'.

I'd like to hear more said about dyslexic strengths. In searching for 'dyslexic strengths' on google, I came across the website of artist Mike Juggins. Very inspiring. I particularly enjoyed the video on this page. Well worth a look.


Chris Lim said...

Great point about dyslexics finding success by using their natural strengths. In fact this is what all successful people have done. I just think that people with dyslexia hone this ability better then most, as evidenced by the great contributions they have made to our world. See the Famous Dyslexics link in my site

Anonymous said...

In addition to famous dyslexic thinkers, you can also access material about dyslexic thinkers in business, another fine set of examples of success - see the Times Online at

I work with dyslexic thinkers - the term I prefer to use to convey the difference in approach. Those that I work with to help them to learn how to learn using their talent, show marked increase in recognised performance measures, such as spelling tests at school where one lad moved from a usual high of 6/10 to 10/10 on three consecutive weeks and 29/30 on the consolidation week. His handwriting has improved to the point where it is unrecognisable from when he first came to me.

For more about my work, please visit

Wishing all dyslexic thinkers the best they can achieve - their way

Rod Duncan said...

Dear anonymous,

I am happy when anyone works to help dyslexics, even if it is a business for profit.

But I don't like your domain name one little bit. Sorry about that.

'Dys-fix' suggests that I as a dyslexic am in some way broken and in need of fixing. The tyrany of the name, once more. This hardwiring that I have is not a disease. It is me.