The British School of Barcelona celebrates Dyslexia Awareness Week to raise awareness of dyslexia in a positive way and to promote the inherent talent of dyslexic people.
Our understanding of dyslexia is undergoing an unprecedented shift in perspective. Gone is the stigmatisation of dyslexia as a barrier to learning — typically simplified into the difficulties a person manifests in reading and writing — to give way to the positive empowerment of the qualities that come with being dyslexic.
This redefinition of dyslexia as a rising power does not come about by chance. Dyslexia currently affects 1 in 5 people and, while it certainly presents a genetic difference in an individual’s ability to learn and process information, it is also true that dyslexic people have different abilities. Among their strengths, creativity, empathy, problem solving, and communication skills are some of the soft skills most present in these profiles.
Therein lies the paradigm shift: ‘Dyslexic people have the exact skills needed for today’s workplace,’ says Carol Coleman, BSB’s Director of Student Support.
Education: the Key to Unlock Dyslexic Thinking’s Full Potential
This new approach reveals the value of dyslexia and highlights why it should be a priority in schools. ‘Now more than ever, there is a need to reorient the way dyslexic ability is seen, to move away from traditional approaches and build on strengths to help students reach their full potential,’ explains Carol Coleman. ‘We don’t ignore the difficulties inherent to dyslexia, but there are so many more positive elements that far outweigh the difficulties. Traditionally the focus has been on dyslexic challenges, but this has changed — Imagine what we can achieve if we could not only support students with these difficulties, but also uncover the great abilities they possess! We are already seeing this at school with some of our dyslexic students and we are achieving excellent results,’ adds Carol Coleman.
To highlight the importance of this shift in the perception of dyslexia, this week BSB is celebrating ‘Dyslexia Awareness Week at BSB’ with a series of workshops and talks with students and families to share ideas and resources, as well as facilitating the exchange of experiences between people diagnosed with dyslexia, how it has influenced their academic and professional lives, and strategies for making the most of their valuable skills. ‘Detecting, supporting, and empowering dyslexic minds — as well as raising awareness and visibility of dyslexia in a positive way — are key to redirecting dyslexia towards creating talent that is perfectly suited to the changing labour world,’ concludes Carol Coleman.
Dyslexic Thinking: the New Professional Skill
The labour world is constantly changing. In the quest for greater efficiency, organisations are looking at the automation of various routine and transactional tasks as an opportunity, which will have a direct impact on organisational competences. This will lead to the replacement of processing and manual skills with analytical thinking and innovation, creative skills, or leadership and social influence.
In the context of this fast transformation, dyslexia could help organisations bridge the skills gap to respond to the rapid change and disruption we face. With enhanced cognitive abilities, such as visualisation and logical reasoning, as well as natural entrepreneurial traits, dyslexic people can bring a fresh and often intuitive perspective to form alternative points of views and solve problems creatively, according Made By Dyslexia, a global charity, which in its report ‘The Value of Dyslexia’ found that dyslexic thinking skills match the skills of the future identified by the World Economic Forum. Infojobs also indicates that some of the soft skills that companies are beginning to value are empathy (28%), creativity (19%), assertiveness (13%) and curiosity (10%).
Dyslexic people therefore have a number of natural strengths that make them well suited to fill this skill gap. This has been recognised by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, which now offers its more than 774 million members the possibility of incorporating dyslexic thinking as an additional skill when completing their profile and which companies can select as an asset when looking for candidates. Large companies such as Microsoft and Meta are actively looking for people with dyslexia in their recruitment processes.
A Change of Mindset Is Possible
The change of mindset in schools has already begun to materialise. New York City has already trained its entire teaching staff, no less than 100,000 professionals, in key aspects of dyslexia in education, such as the challenges faced by students with dyslexia, specialised strategies and solutions, as well as technological tools. In the same vein, BSB has committed to follow suit by training its entire teaching staff by June 2024.