The positive aspects of having dyslexia

The Dyslexic has a nice collection of capabilities, which are in fact advantages when used in the right context.

"I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious" – Albert Einstein

It’s OK and even necessary to use imagination as a scientist, entertainer or inventor, but it’s not such a good idea in other, more repetitive occupations. These capabilities with the potential to be advantages are often underestimated or even unknown. Einstein used his ability to daydream to come up with relativity theory, whilst children are often discouraged to daydream, thus this capability risks not being fully developed. Where using ones capabilities leads to happiness, not using them has not a neutral effect, it has even a negative effect: it results in unhappiness.

"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge" – Albert Einstein

When we pay more attention to those advantages and nurture them, we can use them to alleviate the disadvantages, boost the dyslexics’ self-confidence. Look at the list of famous dyslexics for some examples. What follows is a collection of the dyslexia advantages. Not every dyslexic develops the same strengths. However, by knowing them we can nurture them, so they can fully develop and contribute to the development of the dyslexic child.

  • Perception: the ability to alter and create perceptions;
  • Highly aware of the environment;
  • Highly curious;
  • Great intuition and insightful;
  • Thinking and perceiving multi-dimensionally (using all the senses);
  • A lively imagination;
  • Can experience thought as reality;
  • Creativity;
  • Easy adoption of change;
  • Holistic, see the big picture, don’t get lost in details, get to the important aspects;
  • See patterns, connections, and similarities very easy;
  • Concentration;
  • Can be very driven, ambitious and persistent;
  • Superior reasoning;
  • Capable of seeing things differently than others;
  • Love for complexity;
  • Simultaneous multiple thought processing;
  • Not following the crowd;
  • The ability of visual, spatial and lateral thinking.
"I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity." – Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), U.S. columnist, lecturer, First lady

All those abilities enable a dyslexic to be successful in a wide range of careers. A few examples:

  • Science/research
  • Psychology
  • Teaching
  • Manager in people-relate occupations
  • Businesspeople in general
  • Marketing and sales
  • Interior/Garden/mode design
  • Culinary arts
  • Woodworking
  • Carpentry
  • Artiste
  • Painter/sculptor
  • Actor
  • Graphic art
  • Architecture
  • Designer
  • Mechanics
  • Engineering
  • Photography
  • Music
  • Athletics
  • Computing
  • Software design
  • Electronics
"I talk with parents of dyslexic children. I see the crease of worry -- of fear. I tell them, your child is blessed with an edge that other children don't have. Maybe it's Faraday's  holistic vision. Maybe it's verbal retention. But it's there, and it's something the rest of us don't have." - John H. Lienhard, author and voice of The Engines of Our Ingenuity
"Faraday drives his biographers crazy with the seeming irrationality of his thought processes. How can you start with the finished skyscraper, then build the foundation below it?" Faraday drives his biographers crazy with the seeming irrationality of his thought processes. How can you start with the finished skyscraper, then build the foundation below it?" - John H. Lienhard, author and voice of The Engines of Our Ingenuity

ALL OF THIS IS GOOD NEWS. The “New Economy” (also called the Information Age or the Internet Economy) needs and rewards exactly this kind of abilities! In other words: the dyslexic is very well equipped for the new work environment. In fact, it has only been during the last 200 years, during the Industrial Era, that the dyslexic’s abilities were not really useful or in demand: it was more the left-brain abilities that were in demand.

I will write a forthcoming section on this subject. Send me your email address if you want me to inform you when it’s online.