When The Secretary of State declared his struggles with Dyslexia recently , there is no doubt he created an impact due to his honesty, which was welcomed by many parents, aspiring children and young adults. It’s to easy to turn around today and say a child is “thick” or “slow”, some may say you cannot use that type of language, yet that was the terminology I heard growing up in th 70’s & 80’s.
The article was covered by national news papers, online news and even made the TV.
An insert from the Guardian below;
The Health Secretary has revealed that he is dyslexic, and says he might never have achieved career success without the use of a spellchecker.
Matt Hancock said he had never spoken about it before, because he did not like talking about weaknesses, in an interview with Alistair Campbell in GQ magazine.
The minster said technology could have a detrimental impact on the mental health of young people – but could also help them to succeed.
He has previously called on head teachers to ban phones in the classroom, a view he today restated.
But he continued: “Technology can be an enormous enabler. I’ll give you one example. I have never really talked about this before, but I am dyslexic and I didn’t ﬁnd that out at school. I found out at university, when a tutor said, ‘You are good orally, but you cannot get it down on paper.’
“I think if Microsoft had invented spellcheck ﬁve years later it would have had a massive negative impact on my career. By the time I got to the workplace, everything was done on word processors and that solved my very serious spelling problem,” Mr Hancock said.
So why would I write about Dyslexia?
I am known for being creative, an ideas person, into the detail, having OCD in business, competitive, what many don’t know I have lived with Dyslexia all my life, I didn’t realise it as a kid and like Matt Hancock, within the our education it was never discussed, to be fair in the 70’s and 80’s I didn’t even think they knew what it was.
Being a keen athlete, I was very engaged into my sports as a kid, but also very creative. I built things, I played rugby, I played music, physically worked hard and was very good a mathematician.
When I look back I am not really sure when the penny dropping moments took place, realising that Dyslexia was a part of my life, I think the realisation started when writing more articles and researching subjects. My physical writing skills have always been poor, I just put it down to lazy handwriting, because that’s exactly what you were told in my generation. Then in 2000 when computers started to become the norm in the workplace, a new dimension of email usage created itself new challenges, like Matt Hancock stated, “thank god for spellcheck.”
“Auto-correct” became a must along with grammar check, however the realisation of the amount of words that were actually being corrected came through loud and clear. At first you have the thoughts you are rushing, you also start to read things several times and each time you spot a different mistake. I have read an article four times in the past and each time spot something new.
Dyslexia comes in many forms, for me it comes through tiredness.
I decided around eight years ago to tell my team, so they understood dyslexia and I openly talked about the challenges attributed to the effects of dyslexia. Infact it is known that when I write in outside hours of the business, I will always ask a trusted member of my team to check my work.
Within my public speaking life, I will also talk about the effects of Dyslexia and a fact today there are still negatives towards individuals who deal with dyslexia.
Every cloud has a silver lining!
A few positive’s to the condition are; we can see things that others cannot see, we can solve problems quicker than most and a known fact is that we are less open to suggestive programming such a NLP. Something I learned very recently. My mind is “black and white”, I see the world in very simple terms, non complicated and in my own words “it allows me to cut through the crap”. We can visualise things in a creative way, Simon Sinek would frame it by saying “begin with the end in mind”, meaning picture it and you will achieve it.
So what does this mean?
My concern today is focused towards the next generation and how they are treated, I think it is fair to say, in my option, that those brought up in the 70’s and 80’s have a different resilience to the latter generations, simply because, in my view to social media usage. Although we use it, we never grew up with it being in your hand 24/7, I believe there is a significant difference due to this behaviour difference.
Today’s generation of young adults are being influenced by social media in many different ways, research shows behaviours are changing in society due to multiple devices being used and the fact that personal interaction has lessened, you only have to watch people in Starbucks to see the impact.
Ironically we are using it now to communicate this information. Well-being is key to the future of our society.
Summary – never assume anything about anyone in life, everyone has a story , the question I ask you, are you willing to listen?