Embrace Dyslexia!

Ben Foss begins the introduction of his book The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan by asserting this fact: “I know that I’ve been able to accomplish my goals because I have integrated dyslexia into my life, not because I overcame it.” We are a society that struggles to embrace who we are and often seek to change that which we have genetically inherited. We compare our physical appearance to the most beautiful models and actresses. We compare our intelligence to the leading influencers of our particular field. We even compare our salaries, homes, cars, and other tangible items to those around us. It is no surprise, therefore, that the challenges that come with the dyslexic brain are something we encourage our children to “overcome,” “endure,” and “work through.” How does this affect the dyslexic child socially and emotionally as they are asked to complete tasks that they simply cannot do day in and day out? We are essentially asking them to change who they are because who they are is not good enough. In reality, students with dyslexia are smart, creative, resourceful, intelligent, and capable! We as teachers need to realize those truths, help our students embrace who they are, and teach in a manner that allows them to experience success. Ben Foss states that “the key to my happiness occurred when I stopped trying to change my brain, and started to change the context around me.”  As educators and parents it is our responsibility to help students grow and learn in a way that works for their brain.  When students don’t learn the way we are teaching them then we must change tactics and teach in a manner that allows them to learn! Every student has the right to learn in an environment that encourages them to discover and explore their own individual strengths.