Long Term Effects of Dyslexia
If you have read the comments on dyslexia videos, there are a few very common threads you have seen. Many of them about how dyslexia has affected people emotionally. Some about how it has held them back in life. Some about how they have avoided certain jobs where their dyslexia would be exposed. And many about how they have learned to protect themselves emotionally and have learned coping mechanisms. All of this is true. All of those things happen.
In addition to those stories, there is one common, very positive comment that often stands alone. No one ever seems to respond to it. They disagree with it but they don’t understand it, so they stay quiet. And that needs to change. Because this common statement is deceiving.
This common statement has embedded in it, both a truth and a lie.
Like all persuasive, but not helpful ideas, there is some truth to it. But if you don’t understand it fully, well, it leads you down a very bad path. Watch this full video and you will understand both the truth, and the lie. And if you understand both, that will guide your decisions to lead you, or whoever you are aiming to help with this knowledge, to a much better life.
So what is that statement that I am talking about? Well, it usually goes something like this.
Dyslexia is a Gift?
“I wouldn’t give up my dyslexia for the world!”
“My dyslexia is a gift”
People that say this truly believe it, because there is actually truth in it. A lot of truth. But even so, it is deceiving. And the deception has to do with the stage you are in.
For someone that is experiencing the pain of feeling left out, low self-esteem, emotional distress, and being held back in life, that statement can seem very strange. The statement usually comes from someone older. From a time when there was no help for the problem. So instead, they spent a lifetime developing coping mechanisms. Or just dealing with emotional issues.
But for the person early in the journey, all they can see is the pain. A parent doesn’t want their child to go through that pain. They don’t want their child to suffer emotionally. And, armed with a little knowledge, they don’t have to.
I’m here to tell you that it is not necessary to deal with that pain for a lifetime. You don’t have to just “live with it”. And you shouldn’t. Your child shouldn’t. There is a way through. Modern psychology and modern neuroscience, when combined, can truly turn it into a gift. Modern psychology and neuroscience can also teach you how to turn that low self-esteem into high self-esteem. Turn that emotional distress into joy. And bring out the true gift, that if handled well, can propel a person in life. Doesn’t that sound better than just suffering through?
Don’t Give This Advice
Statements like “I wouldn’t give up my dyslexia for the world” can be damaging to others. It can stop them from bettering themselves. It can lead them down a wrong path. If you are the person who spreads this sort of statement. Please stop. Sure, it makes YOU feel better. It makes YOU feel more important. And honestly, it is probably feeding your ego. But when you tell it to others, early in their journey, without giving them the full story, you may be robbing them of a better life. And that is not Okay!
Let’s cover the truth in that statement first. It is actually something amazing and powerful. But so is the lie.
Dyslexia Does Come With Gifts
The truth is this. “Dyslexia very often comes with amazing gifts”. It can allow people to think in different and very powerful ways. These gifts are different for everyone, but there are some common ones. Things like being able to see the big picture. Or having extreme emotional intelligence and empathy. For a perfect example of this checkout Gary Vaynerchuck. He has both of those qualities and it has led him to be both an incredible entrepreneur and someone who has also been extremely successful at helping others. I don’t think he has ever said publicly that he is dyslexic. But he has stated over and over that he did very poorly in school. And has extreme difficulty reading and spelling. Yes, he’s written a few best-selling books, but this was done with the help of others to do the writing. He spoke the books and they put it into written form. Even his tweets and texts are full of misspellings and grammatical errors. And he has stated publicly that he doesn’t care. Perhaps he is showing that even with these problems, a person can be successful. Who knows, he’s a very smart guy. And so are many dyslexics.
One other thing that Gary Vee says regularly, on stage, in front of thousands of people, is this. He attributes every bit of his success to his mother. His mother knew how to teach him discipline and hard work, while at the same time, developing his self-confidence, despite his learning struggle. Awesome Moms rule! Right?
Sir Richard Branson is another similar example. He has come out and spoken about his dyslexia. He speaks about thinking in pictures. He is also an amazing communicator and extremely empathetic. As well as helpful to others. My guess is he had an awesome mom too!
There are many many examples like this in the world of entrepreneurship. It’s estimated that 30% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic.
Why Does Dyslexia Come With Gifts
So it is true. Dyslexia comes with gifts. This is pretty obvious.
But why is that?
Well, let’s talk about the brain for a moment. I think a little understanding of neuroscience will explain a lot.
Our brain has different regions, and in general, each region carries out specific tasks. But, I said in general, right? It’s not an absolute. Our brains are not machines. And that’s where a part of the lie is. Thinking that they are. Thinking that the functions these parts of the brain carry out are absolute. They are not. They can, and do, change and shift for a lifetime. That can be in a positive way, or a negative way, depending on how you treat them.
Yes, you can control how your brain changes. For the positive, or for the negative.
What is also true is that our brain works as a whole. Not individual parts working independently. Each part can be delegated a role. And for most people, but not all, the things that each part does is similar. Just not absolute. So for example, for most people, Broca’s area, which controls speech, is towards the front of the left hemisphere of the brain. And Wernicke's area, which also plays a part in language, is towards the back of the left hemisphere. These, incidentally, are the regions that are involved in most forms of dyslexia.
But in some people, that's flipped. Both are in the right hemisphere. It’s just different. Who knows why. And for those people, it seems to make no difference. It’s just that a different part of the brain is doing that processing than in most people. All brains are different. Different regions can do different things that are not typical.
Let's consider vision.
Vision is partially processed in the visual cortex, at the back of the brain, but the majority of that processing happens in the cerebral cortex. As a matter of fact, it takes up more than half of the visual cortex. Making the processing of vision the most intensive cognitive function of the brain. Vision takes the most brain power of anything we do.
So, what happens in blind people? Does all this brain power just shut down? HHHHmmmm.
Now that wouldn’t be a very efficient use of brain power, would it?
The Brain is Not a Machine
Nope, that’s not how the brain works. That’s what I meant when I saidthe brain is not a machine. In a machine, if a part breaks then whatever the function of that part was, no longer works. So, for example. A car is a machine. If the car loses a wheel, well then it's not going to drive very well. It’ll just skid along, sparks flying, and eventually, come to a stop. But if a car were more like a brain, well then it would be more like those transformer movies. New, better wheels would pop out. Or better yet, wings, and it would just fly instead of drive.
Too bad cars aren’t more like brains. Right? That would be fun.
So, back to the brain. Parts of the brain can be reassigned to do other jobs. New skills can develop this way. New ways of thinking and feeling can develop this way. Everything can change. For better, or for worse. Depending on how you guide it.
Some brains have parts that have been reassigned to completely different jobs. And that has some amazing implications. Let’s cover that.
So how do these parts get reassigned?
Well, it happens when there is a need. When the brain must reconfigure itself to overcome some challenge.
For example. We already know that blind people have far more sensitive fingers. They can read braille. Ever try that? And they can touch a face and in a sense “see it”. Can you do that? Probably not. I can’t either. Most can count change. Can you do that with your eyes closed? Not easy right? Their brains have remapped due to a need. A need to understand the world around them without the use of vision. *************end #9***************
Here’s an interesting experiment that turned out to be a radical example of brain region reassignment. Scientists made a machine that would transform images into light touches on a person's back. The machine would sort of print out the image on their back with touch. They had blind people practice with this machine for some time. And here’s the amazing thing. Eventually, they could “see” the images. Not in high resolution of course. But enough that they could make them out. And, they perceived the images as if they were seeing them with their eyes. Not their back. They actually used the sense of touch to see. Brains are amazing right?
If you’ve ever heard the story of Helen Keller, you know that, being born blind and deaf, she learned everything by touch. Words were spelled out on her palm and these words were related to objects by feel. She felt faces, and lips and eventually even learned to talk, even though she couldn’t hear or even see the lips. Amazing right? Much of this was able to happen because of brain remapping. And a whole lot of persistence on her part AND her teacher's part of course.
Here’s another example, closer to home. Phil Weaver, one of the founders of Learning Success, lost sight in one eye. One of the things that happen when you only have one functioning eye is that you lose depth perception. You can’t tell how far away things are. Depth perception is a processing skill of the brain. What it does is triangulates between the two eyes and the object and constantly calculates distance. It’s like the brain is constantly doing geometry to figure out how far away things are. You may not be able to consciously do that geometry but your brain can.
So Phil lost that ability.
Now, Phil’s passion is Kung Fu. And as you might imagine, punches and kicks coming at you might be a little difficult to block if you had no depth perception. Might lead to a few painful knockouts right?
But, over time, Phil became able to block extremely well. He could even throw a punch full speed and stop it just at the point of contact, so as to not hurt his sparring partner. How did he do those things without depth perception?
For a long time, even Phil didn’t know. His brain figured out a way but he didn’t realize how it was happening. He just knew he could do it and he could do it well.
Eventually, he figured it out. He realized that when he was sparring, or doing any other thing that required depth perception, he kept his head moving very slightly from side to side. Positioning his one eye back and forth. And his brain was doing the calculation as if those two positions were two eyes. His brain found a way, even though he did not consciously participate in that process. He just had a need. A need to not get hit. His brain figured out a way. That’s what brains do. If you challenge them.
The Magic of the Brain
That’s the magic of the brain. When there is a need, it grows, it adapts, and it figures out a way.
But, if you don’t challenge it. Well, no change. Brains can be lazy too. They’d rather just stay the same because change takes work. No work, no change.
Here’s another little neuroscience tidbit. The younger the brain the less work is required to change. Older brains can change just as well. They just need a lot bigger push. A lot harder work. That’s why, with dyslexia, or any other learning struggle, the earlier you start the easier it is.
So, let's bring that back to our original point. The gifts that can come with dyslexia. Or any other learning struggle.
Can you see where those gifts may have come from? From a need. There was a learning struggle. Because of that struggle, the brain remapped and developed some other skill in much stronger ways than normal. A gift was born. What skill develops is different in different dyslexics. There are some common threads but every brain is different. We can’t just say that a person will develop better spatial reasoning, or better people skills, or empathy, or humor, or whatever. Because everyone is different and everyone will develop in different ways. A gift will be developed. You just have to find it.
So that’s the truth in the statement.In most people with a learning struggle, there will also be a gift. They will have some skill that is way beyond what other people can achieve.
And, a helpful bit of advice, it’s a really really good idea to first find that gift and then develop it to its fullest. The problem is that you can’t do that unless you also develop confidence.So make sure to watch our video on confidence.
Thanks for watching.
So we have talked about the truth. Where is the lie in the statement “I wouldn’t give up my dyslexia for the world”
The lie is that remediating the learning struggle erases the gift. It doesn’t. You can build up the cognitive micro-skills. Eliminate the deficiency that is causing the learning struggle and KEEP the gift. IT DOES NOT GO AWAY!
Pro-tip. Build up those cognitive micro-skills using the Learning Success System. Click the link in the description and start a free trial
But that statement, which gets so flippantly thrown around, implies that addressing the problem eliminates the gift. And if people don’t realize this lie, they suffer. They assume that the learning struggle cannot be addressed because they think the brain just “Is what it is”. It’s not, brains have plasticity. They mold to needs. The human brain is the most adaptive structure in the universe, as far as we know. Brains are amazing.
Learning Struggles and Emotional Issues
Here’s where it gets even worse. If a learning struggle is not addressed, emotional issues always arise. [cut this] That’s why people early on in the journey don’t get the comment. All they see is pain and struggle, and here is someone saying they wouldn’t give that up for the world? What? Doesn’t make sense right? [end cut] Who wants to go through all that pain and struggle? Who wants self-esteem to suffer? Especially if it's your child. No One! Right?
It doesn’t have to be that way. You can keep the gift and eliminate the struggle. And that is because of one other feature of the brain. Neuroplasticity.
You see, each little neuron in the brain can have multiple functions. The brain is not a one-to-one mapping. Every part can play multiple roles. So even though a part of the brain is mapped to develop a skill, it can also do a completely different skill. If you give the brain a need each part can learn to do new things. Just like the blind people in the experiment, or Phil’s depth perception.
You can keep the gift and still develop new skills.
But here’s the bad news. Brains can rewire in a negative way also. So if negative thoughts set in, and they do if not handled, those thoughts will repeat. The more they repeat the more they get hardwired in. The more hardwired in the harder they are to reverse. This is how low self-esteem turns into worse things, like depression.
Don’t let that happen. Reverse that path now.
You can help your child find their gifts and overcome their challenge by starting a free trial of the Learning Success System.
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