I was discussing this with some of our personal tutors in Cambridge this week. We felt that we were a bit conflicted. It’s tempting to be swayed by high achieving individuals, such as Richard Branson, who firmly believe that the extra creative parts of dyslexia have been a huge help. In addition, that need to overcome these specific learning difficulties have been a pre-cursor to great wells of determination and tenacity. It’s great that dyslexia is being acknowledged and the stigmatisation of dyslexia is being removed. But is this everyone’s experience?
Many schools do a great job of supporting dyslexic children, by specific focused intervention plans, minimising the copying from whiteboards, offering different coloured paper, use of laptops and instructions given one at a time. Exams boards are set-up to give extra time to children who are dyslexic which can make a difference.
My worry is, that by portraying dyslexia as a gift it minimises the discussion of the difficulties of dyslexia, in the classroom and in the world of work. Most companies are not set up to understand and help dyslexic adults with the difficulties they face. As adults we have a wider access to technology which makes it easier for dyslexic adults to be able to read and write with greater ease. Fortunately, gone are the days of hand writing a memo or letter, but technology isn’t a panacea. Word processors and speech to text and recognition (and visa versa) software are a great help.
What do you think? Gift or curse?