LinkedIn added it as an official skill, dictionary.com added it as an official term, and even successful thinkers and leaders contribute it to their success. So what is Dyslexic Thinking and how did it make a difference in our world?
Most of the time, when we hear the word “Dyslexia” many different questions and thoughts start floating around our brain that focus on everything but the positive (what challenges are dyslexic students going to experience, which accommodations do they need, what does the current legislation say, etc). One of the things that we don’t hear being mentioned is the advantages that can come with being dyslexic. We have listened to stories from famous dyslexics like Steve Jobs and Walt Disney whose successes can be attributed to the fact that they used their brains differently than non-dyslexics do and were able to develop and utilize their skills in a successful way. Dyslexic thinking made the news when it was announced that LinkedIn was adding “Dyslexic Thinking” as an official skill. It was also announced that dictionary.com was going to be adding it as an official term. You are now probably wondering what exactly is Dyslexic Thinking. By reading this, you will learn more about the power of dyslexic thinking skills and how they have made a difference in our world.
Which skills are considered to be Dyslexic Thinking skills?
Made by Dyslexia, as part of their work to redefine how dyslexia is perceived, conducted a study to identify Dyslexic Thinking skills. According to the study, these different skills can be categorized into specific skills and general skills.
Specific skills are the ones that are going to relate to the career paths that many dyslexics decide to take on.
- Communicating: relates to crafting and conveying clear and engaging messages. Examples of careers that highlight this skill are journalist, politician, teacher, author, songwriter, and filmmaker. Some of our famous dyslexics with high communication skills include Steven Spielberg, Anderson Cooper, and Agatha Christie.
- Imaging: relates to creating an original piece of work or giving ideas a new turn. Examples: designers, artists, composers, writers, and actors. Some famous dyslexics with high imaging skills include Agatha Christie, Steven Spielberg, Robin Williams, and Walt Disney.
- Visualizing: relates to interacting with space, senses, physical ideas, and new concepts. Examples: dancer, musician, sports player, engineer, chef, scientist, technologist. Some famous dyslexics that have made use of their visualizing skills include Cher, Steve Jobs, and Walt Disney.
General skills are going to relate to most types of education, activities, and careers.
- Connecting: understanding self, connecting, empathizing, and influencing others.
- Exploring: being curious and exploring ideas.
- Reasoning: understanding patterns, evaluating possibilities, and making decisions.
Thanks to this skills overlap, we are able to sit and relax while reading one of Agatha Christie’s books, we have the opportunity to visit a world where imagination comes to life, and we can instantly be connected with friends and family near and far.
How can we support Dyslexic Thinking skills?
Just as we say that no two dyslexics are the same in terms of the difficulties they encounter in reading and spelling, we can say the same thing about Dyslexic Thinking skills – all dyslexics will have a combination of specific and general skills. As you can see in the examples provided of famous dyslexics, many of those skills overlap. Thanks to this overlap, we are able to sit and relax while reading one of Agatha Christie’s books, we have the opportunity to visit a world where imagination comes to life, and we can instantly be connected with friends and family near and far. In order to continue enjoying the multiple advantages that Dyslexic Thinking Skills have in our lives, we need to make sure that we are providing an environment that nourishes their development.
We can support Dyslexic Thinking skills by:
- Increasing dyslexia knowledge at schools: Unfortunately in many instances, school staff and parents will have limited knowledge of dyslexia. Giving both school staff and parents the opportunity to develop their dyslexia knowledge is essential so we can increase awareness and promote dyslexic thinking skills. Local dyslexia group chapters can be of great help as they offer events at least once a month in an ample variety of dyslexia-related topics.
- Early identification is essential: In many instances, dyslexia is not caught before a student begins the third grade. Every year that passes, the learning gap will increase and students will continue to struggle more and more. The earlier we intervene, the easier it is to address and remediate students’ difficulties. Becoming aware of what to look for as early as in preschool will help aid early identification.
- Focusing on students’ strengths: Instead of conversations just focusing on the negative aspects and the gaps the student has, we need to also focus on what they are good at. An example of how this can be enrolling students in extracurricular activities in areas that they excel at or are interested in like dancing, singing, and/or playing sports. By focusing on their strengths, we can help them develop self-confidence that will translate to the effort they put in school and later on, in their professional lives.
We need to change the way we think about dyslexia to make sure we are nurturing and celebrating the advantages that come with the dyslexic brain. Made by Dyslexia found that only 3% of the public believe dyslexia to be a positive trait. From my own experience, I have benefitted both personally and professionally from one of the best creative minds, Walt Disney. From learning English as a child to working with people from around the world at Walt Disney World, Dyslexic Thinking skills changed my life and opened a lot of doors for me. I invite you to like, share, and/or crosspost this blog so we can spread the word on the power of Dyslexic Thinking Skills.