Learning Disability or Hidden Ability?: What Science Says About Dyslexia
The dyslexia we celebrate today October 8 is an international day. And although the definition agreed by the International Dyslexia Association presents it as “a Specific Learning Difficulty (DEA) initially neurobiologicalcharacterized by difficulties in accuracy and fluency in (written) word recognition and deficits in decoding (reading) and spelling (spelling) skills, new scientific evidence would point in the opposite direction.
It is that, according to researchers from the University of Strathclyde and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, “dyslexia is not a disorder but an evolutionary advantage it makes people more likely to explore.”
The truth is that one in ten people in the world live with the condition, and new discoveries could radically change the perception of it.
It is characterized by a difficulty that mainly causes problems with reading, writing and spelling in the early years of schooling – the average age of diagnosis is ten years – according to new research, dyslexia is actually a vital tool that has helped humanity to adapt.
Dr Helen Taylor of the University of Cambridge led the study, later saying that “a deficit-focused view of dyslexia does not tell the whole story”. Until now, dyslexia was considered a problem because modern educational systems focused on things that patients struggle with and they neglected what they excelled at,” he said with colleague Dr Martin Westergaard of the University of Cambridge.
Experts reviewed previous studies of people with dyslexia and disagreed with the prevailing theory that it is a cognitive deficit.
In this sense, Taylor emphasizes that “achieving a balance between exploring new opportunities and reaping the benefits of a particular choice is key to adaptation and survival and underlies many of the decisions we make in our daily lives.”
In the magazine Frontiers in Psychologywhere the researchers published the conclusions of their work, ensures that Dyslexia should not be considered a disorder.
It is that as they discovered, people with dyslexia actually have “enhanced abilities” in certain fields, such as discoveries, inventions and creativity.
“We urgently need to start fostering this way of thinking so that humanity can continue to adapt and solve grand challenges,” says lead author Taylor.
The researchers concluded that people with dyslexia are specialists in research and curiosity. This “exploratory bias,” as they described it, plays a “crucial role” in human survival by helping people adapt to changing environments.
Resourcefulness and long-term thinking are some of the skills and strengths associated with these exploratory behaviors.
The researchers link dyslexia to human evolution over hundreds of thousands of years, in which people – and therefore their brains – had to adapt to constant change rather than a fixed environment.
This is what the authors of the new article said dyslexia can be an advantage like that of the fastest and strongest men who have ever succeeded as hunters, for example, because they have what is called physical fitness. In the case of dyslexia, this allows people to be more flexible and able to make the most of the new environment.
Previous studies have already supported redefining dyslexia as a strength not as a weakness.
The Value of Dyslexia, a report by professional services firm EY and Made by Dyslexia, a charity redefining dyslexia, argues that the strengths of dyslexics can help employers navigate the rapidly changing world of work.
People with dyslexia can show “strong,” “very strong,” and “exceptional” performance in a range of “cognitive skills, systems skills, complex problem-solving skills, content skills, processing skills, and technical skills,” the authors conclude .