‘Learning Disorders’, or as I prefer to call them ‘different learning abilities’, such as Dyslexia, have been identified since the 1800s. The dictionary definition of a disorder is “something which disrupts systematic functioning”.
That phrasing doesn’t leave any room for positives connotations and that’s why I disagree with it.
You might be wondering what Dyslexia is? I’d love to sprout off a perfect definition for you, but it’s not that simple. So I’ll keep it vague; it’s ‘a different ability with regards to reading, writing and thinking to that of most people’. If you have a better definition let me know on twitter: @olibaseley and it’ll put them at the bottom of this blog.
My Dyslexia was something I used to lie about. In my teens, it was just a different stick which people tried to bully me with. The kids within that environment looked down upon it and it made me embarrassed about being dyslexic. Yet today, I celebrate it as one of my greatest assets and I embrace it.
The existence of ‘Learning Disorders (LDs)’ are becoming less of a controversial topic, but it hasn’t stopped people telling me they don’t exist.
It’s completely understandable that Dyslexia or any other LD is difficult to believe in. They are complicated abilities, who’s’ exact definitions are blurred. But they are backed up by science.
Studies on Dyslexia have occurred since 1881 and thousands of papers have since been published in support of its existence. Despite this early identification, it took over 100 years for Dyslexia to start being taken seriously. It’s estimated that 6.5 million people are dyslexic in the Uk, 90% of which won’t have received help. But today, the educational system is better equipped than ever to help people with these difficulties and for them to achieve their full potential.
Dyslexia is categorised as a disability and rightfully so. It makes people take it seriously so that people get the proper funding and the right help. But when I ask myself if I’d rather be dyslexic than not my answer is always: YES!
According to the British Dyslexia Association, your 3.5 times more likely to be an entrepreneur and over 50% of employees at NASA are dyslexic. Dyslexia forces people to think in different ways as conventional teaching and learning methods are ineffective, it’s a sink or swim situation. This breeds creativity and intuition, which outweighs forgetting how to spell four letter words.
Ari Emanuel is the CEO of talent and media agency WME-IMG. He has famously been outspoken on his Dyslexia and is a huge role model for me with the following quotes being a couple of my favourites:
“it makes you look at the world differently to others”
“it teaches you to find good people to help you and you quickly learn to not be afraid to ask for help”.
1 in 5 of those with Dyslexia is severely affected by it. Their reality is the opposite of mine and for them, it’s not an advantage. School can be extraordinarily difficult and taxing on these people. English lessons are like boxing Anthony Joshua.
Getting a proper diagnosis for severe Dyslexia can be even more difficult and then getting the required level of help isn’t always possible. It is often said that behind every successful dyslexic is an invested and persistent parent. But for some people, the help isn’t always possible and this is where charities such as the British Dyslexic Association become even more important.
My GCSE English teacher said to be I’d be lucky to pass and get a C. But I had ambitions of achieving a much better grade. So for two years, I wrote an essay every single weekend and eventually got an A. Due to my Dyslexia I was forced to tackle the problem and find a solution. This is something I’ve now applied throughout my life and today I’m sat here writing for this website, not many would have predicted that.
My question to you is would you choose to be dyslexic or not? Let us know your response on Twitter @SpiceUkOnline!