Is dyslexia a gift? Here are some surprising benefits

Dyslexia is a learning disability that is characterised with difficulty in reading and writing due to the brain wired in a different way. It’s a genetic condition but could hamper a child’s early education due to lack of awareness and support from others. There are many myths about dyslexia and many people believe kids who struggle in classroom and find reading and rote learning difficult have low IQ. (Also read: Changing the script: Now a tool book to help dyslexic children)

On the contrary, recent studies suggest that dyslexia is linked to abilities in areas like discovery, invention and creativity and help humans adapt to changing environments. Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, George Washington, Jennifer Aniston and back home celebs like Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan too struggled with this neurological condition but needless to say excelled in whatever they did.

“In simple words, dyslexia is a learning disability. Like so many other marginalised issues, people with learning disabilities suffer as they are considered lesser. They struggle academically, professionally and socially. However, after living with this so-called ‘condition’ for my entire life, I strongly disagree with that definition. Dyslexia is not a learning disability – it is an inability to learn things traditionally. In fact, some of the world’s great thinkers, celebrities, entrepreneurs, and billionaires happen to be dyslexic,” says Aditi Surana, High performance coach and Founder of APT mental gym.

Dyslexics do have so many strengths and it is indeed a gift:

● Wonderfully imaginative and abstract thinkers: Dyslexics can truly envision an excellent view of the world. They make great use of their imaginations and have an acute sense of curiosity and interest. They are good philosophers and understand things that are not real, some of which are innate human qualities, like love, bravery, and deception.

“I became the youngest professional graphologist in the country at 18, had a dedicated national radio show on this topic at 21, consulted HR leaders of companies like IBM, JWS and TATA when I was 23 and had the privilege of analysing many eminent celebrities and high performers including the former President of India, Pratibha Patil by 25,” says Surana.

● Strong memory for stories: People with dyslexia recall facts as if they are reading a good storybook.

“When you tell us a story, we may remember it forever. If a dyslexic has narrative reasoning on their side, it may help enhance the memory and integrate contextual information in a better way,” says the high performance coach who struggled with dyslexia.

● Great at connecting with others: Many dyslexics have a great skill to sense, understand, and respond (practically and emotionally) to how people feel.

“We will tell you exactly what the issue is and what you can do to solve it. The reason is that we are naturally visual-spatial learners. We tend to develop excellent visual and intuitive abilities, including reading facial expressions and body language. Just fearlessly share the deepest, darkest, most embarrassing incident of your life and see our natural empathy rising,” says the expert.

● Excellent puzzle-solving skills: Dyslexics may struggle in reading, but when it comes to solving puzzles, most of them are pros.

“Throw us a complex problem and you will be surprised with the insights and solutions we come up with. We can figure out complex issues and accurately identify the exact shape as no one can ever do. A lot of dyslexics progress in an environment that enables and nurtures simultaneous thinking in which ideas are linked via diverse routes rather than a straight line. This is why we find so many entrepreneurs with dyslexia,” says Surana.

● Critical thinkers: Another top strength that some dyslexics possess is the skill to use logical reasoning.

“We know exactly the actual difference between the two topics and will use critical thinking to solve that problem. We also can think outside of the box. We can come up with superb, unorthodox ideas that are not only fresh but also lucrative. Ask us questions that demand critical thinking, creativity and assessment of several moving parts and you will be blown away with the answers,” says the coach.

“We all struggle to do regular everyday tasks like filling forms, typing correct OTPs, remembering the correct terminal at the airport, reading out loud or even pronouncing words correctly. We sometimes fail to do the simplest things that even a 10-year-old can do. But please don’t be embarrassed by us. We are not dumb or stupid people. We are just differently abled,” says Aditi Surana.

“My dyslexia makes me different, not disabled. It has taken me places and opened doors for me like none other. Though I am not good at counting, I proudly count my blessings for being dyslexic. Remember, if life gives you melons – you are dyslexic,” she concludes.

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