Changing the Way We Talk About Dyslexia

I’ve been reading the incredible book The Dyslexic Advantage this month and I can’t recommend it enough! We have a copy in our waiting area at Redwood that you are welcome to peruse the next time you come around. Or you can just order your own copy through the link above:)

As I’ve been learning more about how the dyslexic brain is wired and all the strengths that come with it, I’ve had this growing angst around how we talk about dyslexia. I will be the first to admit that after working extensively with hundreds of individuals with dyslexia, there is no arguing that there are a lot of HARD things about having a dyslexic brain. Reading and spelling are unexpectedly difficult and can take 2-3 times the amount of time and effort as non-dyslexic brains. Attention can be tough. Working memory can be an ongoing struggle. Executive functioning skills can seem like a constant road block.

HOWEVER, as I consistently see in my practice, there are also a lot of SUPER-POWERS that come with having a dyslexic brain. And while we must make sure we are providing kids the RIGHT intervention to help with the hard stuff, it’s equally important that we are talking about and investing in their incredible strengths. Just because these strengths don’t show themselves as easily in a traditional school setting, they are beautiful and powerful abilities that can transform your child’s educational journey and future career when built upon!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be diving deep into these dyslexic advantages, using the book as my guide. For today, I want to propose that we stop calling dyslexia a learning DISORDER or DISABILITY, especially when talking about it with our children and students. Instead, let’s talk about dyslexia as a learning DIFFERENCE. Let’s talk about the things that are HARD and let’s talk about the SUPER-POWERS. Let’s teach these incredible individuals to deeply understand the way that they learn best and how to concisely articulate their needs to teachers, peers and bosses. They have a unique and vital voice that is needed to help change the narrative around this way of learning that we know shows up in 20% of all of us.