6 Ways Dyslexia Can Be a Gift

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How dyslexia can benefit your child

Kids with dyslexia have many gifts, including:

  • Enhanced right-brain skills
  • Think in pictures rather than words
  • Holistic thinking that sees the whole picture
  • Improved pattern recognition
  • Enhanced problem-solving ability
  • Brilliant spatial reasoning

Dyslexia is a learning difference that affects how someone processes letters and words, which makes reading difficult. While children with dyslexia do face challenges, there are actually many gifts associated with this condition. We talk about how dyslexia can benefit your child and actually be a gift, including many successful people with dyslexia.

Understanding dyslexia

Dyslexia is a condition that affects a child’s ability to process and “decode” words. Basically, it means they have trouble identifying speech sounds, specifically how they relate to written letters, words, and numbers. Most children are diagnosed when they reach school age, but some signs can indicate a problem even earlier.

Some signs to watch for:

  • Delayed speech
  • Difficulty pronouncing words
  • Mixing up words or sounds in words
  • Reversing letters and numbers
  • Reading below age level
  • Struggles with rhyming and sequencing sounds
  • Trouble processing information
  • Trouble following multi-step directions
  • Avoids reading
  • Becomes frustrated with reading
  • Spelling issues
  • Lack of coordination

It’s important to remember that dyslexia has nothing to do with your child’s intelligence. Even though there are challenges associated with this condition, your child can learn to read and be successful academically. In fact, many people believe dyslexia can be a gift, offering a range of benefits you might not have expected.

Right brain vs. left brain strength

You may be familiar with left brain vs. right brain. The brain’s left hemisphere (side) is in charge of comprehension, written and spoken language, and math. The right hemisphere is the “creative” side, in charge of creativity, imagination, emotions, and artistic and music awareness.

In most people, the left hemisphere is larger than the right. However, studies have uncovered that there are differences between the two hemispheres in people with dyslexia.

This results in enhanced right brain activity and strengths, impacting things like art, music, athletics, 3D visualization, puzzles, and outside-of-the-box thinking. We’ll break down some of the specifics regarding the benefits and gifts of dyslexia.

1. Enhanced right-brain skills

As a result of the physiological aspects of the brain hemispheres, people with dyslexia often have incredible right-brain strengths, including artistic ability and creativity. They are also curious, highly empathetic, and love working with their hands.

Since people with dyslexia are so empathetic, they tend to have amazing intuitive skills, with an enhanced ability to read and connect with other people. They pick up on social cues and emotional responses, which other people might miss.

2. Think in pictures versus words

About 85% of people with dyslexia think in pictures rather than words. Some children are verbal learners, meaning they experience a sort of verbal dialogue in the brain when learning new concepts. They will compose mental sentences, one word at a time, at the same speed as regular speech. 

Non-verbal learnings are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They think in pictures, including 3D and multi-sensory images that change and grow as more information gets added and processed. It’s actually a faster way of thinking than verbal learning. 

3. Holistic thinking 

Children with dyslexia tend to be holistic thinkers vs. linear thinkers. Linear or analytical thinking involves logical reasoning, understanding parts, and how they work together to create a larger pattern or effect. Holistic thinking takes a different approach to processing information.

This type of thinking comes with an enhanced ability to see the big picture. Holistic thinkers are better able to visualize scenes, including context, relationships, perceptions, conflicts, and background elements.

4. Improved pattern recognition

Due to holistic thinking, people with dyslexia have an improved ability to see and recognize patterns, even in very complex ideas and systems. While people with dyslexia often struggle with math and reading, many excel in scientific and mathematical fields where visual representations matter. 

5. Enhanced problem-solving ability

Problem solvers are essential. People with dyslexia have an ability to form sudden leaps of insight in order to solve problems, often in an unorthodox way. It’s an intuitive approach that sometimes looks like daydreaming. If a child with dyslexia stares out the window, it’s not a sign of laziness or distraction. It’s actually the child’s brain shifting into neutral in order to visually “assemble” the solution to a problem.

6. Brilliant spatial reasoning

Spatial reasoning refers to abilities that allow a person to understand, reason, and remember spatial relationships between objects or space. We use these skills to navigate, understand and repair things, and estimate distance and measurements. Spatial reasoning does focus on the outside world, but also how information gets processed and represented in the mind.

These skills are important in fields like sports, math, engineering, chemistry, physics, meteorology, and natural sciences. And, just because someone is diagnosed with dyslexia, doesn’t mean they can’t lead an extraordinary life.

Famous and successful people with dyslexia

You may not be aware that many most famous and successful people have dyslexia. They include actors, musicians, artists, athletes, scientists, and entrepreneurs. They include:

  • Jennifer Aniston, Actor
  • Tony Bennett, Singer
  • Richard Branson, Entrepreneur 
  • Warren Buffet, Entrepreneur
  • Lewis Carrol, Children’s Author (Alice in Wonderland)
  • Cher, Singer
  • Agatha Christie, Mystery Author
  • Anderson Cooper, Journalist (CNN)
  • Walt Disney, Walt Disney Company
  • Albert Einstein, Physicist 
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, Author
  • Henry Ford, Automaker
  • Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder
  • Whoopie Goldberg, Comedian and Actress
  • Stephen Hawkins, Physicist
  • Tom Holland, Actor
  • Anthony Hopkins, Actor
  • Steve Jobs, Apple Founder
  • Magic Johnson, Hall of Fame NBA Player 
  • Keira Knightly, Actor
  • Jay Leno, Comedian and TV Host
  • John Lennon, Singer
  • Jamie Oliver, Celebrity Chef 
  • Louis Pasteur, Chemist
  • Daniel Radcliffe, Actor 
  • Octavia Spencer, Actor
  • Steven Spielberg, Director 
  • Gwen Stefani, Singer
  • Tim Tebow, NFL Quarterback 
  • Nicolai Tesla, Inventor
  • Eli Whitney, Inventor
  • Henry Winkler, Actor

Support for children with dyslexia

If your child struggles with reading due to dyslexia, The Learning Lab can help, starting the S.M.A.R.T. Summer Literacy Program. This intensive, six-week program is designed for students who are one or more years behind in reading and/or writing. Students who can benefit from this program include those who have been diagnosed with dyslexia or other Specific Learning Disorders (SLDs), such as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) or Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). 

Our program uses S.M.A.R.T. Goals and the FITT Principle to help students learn to process language and improve reading and/or writing skills. We also incorporate a number of highly-respected teaching methods in our I3 Lab. They’re all based on neuroscience and how it relates to the brain and reading. They include Barton Reading and Spelling System, Fast ForWord, Multi-Sensory Writing Instruction, and Foundation in Sounds, among others.

Help avoiding the summer slide

If your child needs extra help in certain subjects or you want to avoid the summer slide and maintain academic gains, check out the FLEX Summer Program

The FLEX Summer Program offers practice in the following areas:

  • Math
  • Writing
  • Reading comprehension
  • Reading fluency

The big benefit of this program is that it can be tailored to your child’s individual academic goals. It’s also easy to work around your schedule, which may include summer camps and vacations. 

Get support for your child

The Learning Lab serves as an educational resource for children with learning differences. We can help rebuild your child’s confidence and design a program that fits his or her learning style and unique challenges.

The Learning Lab is for kids who require individualized attention to learn successfully, or who need a customized learning plan for after-school, during school, homeschool, or distance learning.

Your child may be a good fit if he or she:

  • Has a diagnosis like dyslexia, SLD, or ADD/ADHD
  • Has trouble with language, literacy, or math skills
  • Has trouble with focus and attention
  • Has trouble sitting still at a desk
  • Has trouble writing stories despite being able to tell them verbally
  • Has negative feelings about school or his/her intelligence
  • Has inconsistent grades and test scores

Take our free online analysis to determine if your child could use our services. You will then be contacted to begin our placement procedure; this will give us a better picture of your child’s needs. 

The Learning Lab recently expanded our Davie location in order to better serve the Broward community. We offer summer learning support to children throughout Davie, Cooper City, Plantation, and Fort Lauderdale. Contact us today for more information.

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