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Embracing Neurodiversity

Updated: Jun 16

We've all heard it before--dyslexia is a gift. Or is it? Dyslexia does not usually stand alone. That means that there is generally at least one other diagnosis along with it. It could be dysgraphia, dyscalculia, or ADHD, to name a few. Each of these diagnoses comes with its own challenges--reading, spelling, math, or attention. Does that mean it will cripple your child? Not at all.

But back to embracing it. Neurodiversity isn't a bad thing. It definitely makes school and academics more difficult but not impossible. When the proper resources are implemented, these kids can and do thrive. They can conquer the learning challenges and, along the way, discover that their brains also see learning and the world a little differently. This is where embracing it comes into play.

Dyslexia is a learning processing difference rather than a disorder. People with dyslexia frequently are excellent visual-spatial learners. Many succeed in engineering, construction, architecture, graphic design, etc. Many report an ability to see in three dimensions, which can be extremely beneficial in engineering and architecture.

Finding each child's strengths and then focusing on and developing those is critical for their well-being and success. Yes, they need to read and spell, but they also need to focus on where their specific talents lie. So, just like everyone else, they gravitate towards their strengths.

Brock and Fernette Eide, authors of The Dyslexic Advantage, have studied and researched learning differences for years. They have identified four areas where people with dyslexia shine and refer to them as MIND strengths:

MMaterial reasoning demonstrates three-dimensional awareness and mechanical ability.

IInterconnected reasoning discovers connections, particularly from things that do not seem to fit together.

NNarrative reasoning makes mental scenes from past personal experiences or memories to explain present or future scenarios.

DDynamic reasoning finds subtle patterns and mentally simulates and predicts past or future problems.

As you can see, there are concrete strengths unique to the way their minds work. As the Eides say, "Your kids are not broken." Indeed. The Eides surmise that their brains don't fail to work as a typical brain works, but rather, they work exactly as they are supposed to —processing information in their own way.

It is for this very reason that neurodiversity should be embraced. They are gifted with special abilities unique to their brains. My own son sees in 3D and has always drawn in 3D. As an architect, it is a huge asset to him (and one his co-workers wish they had). He says he used to wish he didn't have dyslexia, but now he's glad he has it and wouldn't trade it. He loves what he does, and dyslexia helps him improve his career. He has learned through experience to embrace his neurodiversity, and we all need to embrace it and focus on their gifts.

If you'd like to read more about the Eides' view, check out this article:

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