Am I Dyslexic; Am I A Genius?
Updated: Feb 27
Disclaimer: This blog post is proudly sponsored by Mindvalley, but all opinions are my own. Mindvalley is the largest online personal growth platform in the world. Choose from hundreds of personal growth programs and transformative content taught by brilliant minds, with results that stick. Mindvalleys' mission is to create personal transformation that raises human consciousness. As a Mindvalley affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.
In my article titled ‘Am I Dyslexic: Am I Stupid’ I promised to write a follow-up piece on learning disorders, and what I had in mind was to show the world that a learning disorder isn’t a curse, it can be a blessing. Allowing your brain to see and experience the world in ways others simply cannot, bringing innovation and solutions to problems we otherwise would never have had.
I have a friend who never finished his studies (in fact it is difficult for him to read fluently) and when he speaks he finds it difficult to get the right words out, suffering from an irregular vocabulary, where the most pedantic terms are mixed in with healthy vulgarisms. But the worst came whenever he picks up a pen or taps his keyboard (who even uses pens anymore, amirite, sadly I am, right that is, I use a pen, on occasion).
You’d need a whole department dedicated to trying to decipher his hieroglyphs. For this reason, I always thought myself marveled when I was with him: I was able to see an interesting substrate in that gibberish, he decoded a certain kind of poetry in his complicated vernacular.
By this, I mean that, despite his obvious dyslexia, he always struck me as a guy who saw life at a level well beyond us mere mortals. He saw the world in ways I could nigh-on fathom Recently, neuroscience seems to be finding more and more clues about a possible link between genius and dyslexia.
Geniuses of science such as Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, and Albert Einstein could have suffered different degrees of dyslexia we are told.
They Were Geniuses WITH Dyslexia
Edison, due to this (and also to his poor health) could not even go to a normal school. But he ended up becoming a paragon of creativity, holding the record for the highest number of patents granted by the United States Patent Office.
Leonardo da Vinci, versatile, gifted, accomplished as only he was able to be, the maestro has left behind such extravagant handwritten notes that everything seems to indicate that he also suffered from dyslexia. His notes contained many syntactic and spelling errors, as well as unusual idiomatic errors. Several of his biographers make mention of his difficulties with language and reading ability. Leonardo himself wrote that one of his ideals in life was that someone close to him could read him.
The neuropsychiatrist P. G. Aaron argues that Leonardo’s problems with reading and writing were the product of a powerful “compensatory mechanism in the right hemisphere.”
And Albert Einstein? Firstly, he did not speak until he was three years old, well below the average of 10 to 15 months (for those of you who were wondering, that’s all of you who don’t have children) and he was mediocre in all matters that required lexical anything (writing, basically), such as foreign languages. Einstein himself admitted:
“My main flaw was a bad memory, especially for words and texts.”
Canadian neuroscientists carried out an autopsy on Einstein’s brain, discovering symmetry between the hemispheres, rather than the more common pattern of asymmetry. Meaning he was well above average in parts of the brain that involved logical, analytical, and innovative thinking but was well below average in others' such as those involved in language and speech.
Living With Dyslexia
This does not mean that those who suffer from dyslexia automatically become geniuses, but it also does not mean that they are individuals with an intellectual inferior to that of the rest of the population.
With the aim of providing practical and informative information, but from a “strictly scientific” standpoint, the Salamanca biologists Lisardo Sánchez and Rafael Coveñas have published a book in which they have collected the latest research and treatments, as well as information, in accessible language for parents and educators, to better understand dyslexia. I highly recommend it if you want to find out more about dyslexia.
According to Sánchez, he learned of the existence of this disorder several years ago and a “responsible teacher” summoned him to explain that his daughter Rebeca, who was learning to write, had written her name in characters other than conventional ones. Since then, reading books, articles, and visiting specialists have become part of his daily routine. Later, he adds, his other two children were born, Sergio and Álvaro, both with similar signs, so he believes that his experience can be of great help for parents who are going through this situation.
Patience and Understanding
Sánchez acknowledges that when you face this term for the first time, you experience “a feeling of a certain anguish, based on your initial ignorance of it.” The most appropriate thing, he explains, is to get an accurate diagnosis that rules out other conditions that present with similar signs and once the disorder is established, work to create a program with the educational community (school, counselors, experts) according to the child’s needs. If necessary, the result can be improved with the intervention of psychologists, speech therapists, or other equivalent specialists.
The book in which they have worked provides a current vision of dyslexia, without forgetting its history in terms of research, but clarifies that the greatest effort they have made has been to unify all the knowledge and present it unitarily, regardless of its origin.
In addition, it includes practical addresses found on the web, where the reader can get information and contacts of associations and specialists related to the subject.
The greatest challenge of a dyslexic, he continues, is to be understood as such, since once it is recognized, their learning problems can be addressed coherently and thereby achieve results comparable to those achieved by individuals who do not suffer from it.
How To Spot If Someone I Know Is Dyslexic And Doesn’t Know It
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability of neurobiological origin in children who do not have intelligence problems and who initially go through school in the first grades without showing symptoms.
It is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with accuracy and fluency in the recognition of written words, in spelling, and in the ability to decode texts.
It is difficult for the child to read fluently and the words that are written and pronounced differently are more difficult.
Its frequency is greater in certain languages, such as English, in which there is a greater difference in the way words are written and how they are pronounced. Just reading this article from Insider makes me wonder how I ever learned the English language. Dyslexia is usually diagnosed around 7–8 years when literacy should already be established in the child.
Adults With Learning Difficulties
Although it may be somewhat surprising, learning disorders, such as dyslexia, have come to be seen as difficulties in relatively recent times.
Hence, many adults, upon receiving the diagnosis of their children, understand having experienced the same difficulties in childhood. Typically, these are people who say they have made great efforts throughout their academic years.
Keys To Helping A Child With Dyslexia
Normalize and explain to the child that it is a specific reading difficulty that does not focus on intelligence. Give them a clear and age-appropriate explanation of what this problem is. To be reminded that lower performance in reading is not associated with a general difficulty at a cognitive level (don’t use words like cognitive ok!)
Inform the school of the diagnosis and the interventions that are being carried out. If necessary, speak to the school about making curricular adaptations in class.
Work with sensitivity and method, avoiding pressuring the child with the reading in a hostile way. Although reading is a highly recommended leisure activity, we must understand that for children with dyslexia it can become a task that requires great efforts. Therefore, we must encourage them to read, without demanding strict results or imposing times that are suitable for children without difficulties.
The relationship between dyslexia and talent in certain areas, mostly scientific (design, pattern recognition, deduction, forecasting trends through large amounts of data) are not yet clear, but neurologists suspect that creativity and more heterodox (unorthodox) ways of thinking are formed more easily in this class of brains, perfect for those types of subjects.
I wrote a piece about dyslexia in a previous article titled ‘Am I Dyslexic: Am I Stupid’ for those of you who are dyslexic or know someone who is, remember, you are by no means stupid, people who suffered from Dyslexia were some of the greatest people to have ever graced the face fo the earth, lightyears (and yes, I know it’s a unit of distance, but you know what I mean, so stop being smarmy!) ahead in their thinking and changing the world for the better, leaving a legacy that will go on for as long as our pretty blue and green ball keeps spinning, so never, ever, ever think that you’re stupid. Far from it, you could be the next genius to leave their indelible mark on our world, and by god do we need you to.
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This blog post is proudly sponsored by Mindvalley, but all opinions are my own. Mindvalley is the largest online personal growth platform in the world. Choose from hundreds of personal growth programs and transformative content taught by brilliant minds, with results that stick. Mindvalleys' mission is to create personal transformation that raises human consciousness. As a Mindvalley affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.