Dyslexic volunteers and supporters of Microsoft UK came together on Saturday 7 December to run the “Think Differently About Dyslexia” Kids Xmas Boot Camp.
The volunteers had a shared mission to empower children with dyslexia by providing them with technology that would enable them to develop their unique thinking skills – cognitive flexibility, creativity, visualization, and complex problem solving. These skills are going to be important in the workplace of the future, and businesses need to continuously invest in their neurodiverse workforce.
Photo of child using surface with help of Microsoft employee on Think Differential with Dyslexia event
Dyslexia is a mainstream accessibility requirement
It is estimated that one in five students have dyslexia, yet there are still more possibilities that are not yet identified in today’s classrooms. These students – whose language-based learning differences cause deficiencies with phonological processing during learning to read – are often mistakenly labeled as learning disabilities. Because of this, they make up about 70 to 85 percent of today’s special education classes.
Their teachers and parents often do not have the resources or training to help, however emotional they may be. And without proper support in the early years, a struggling student’s confidence and love of learning may fade.
I can relate to this story personally. By the time I found out I was dyslexic at 19 and in my first year, my school experience had already snapped my confidence – “below average, depressing, careless spelling, paying more attention, more practical Adopt attitude, still basic mistakes and need to be more structured and organized “and constantly” You should try really hard – you are clearly bright, so Try harder “.
Indomitable creative talent
Many people with dyslexia are highly successful, becoming experts and celebrities in their fields. Richard Branson, Agatha Christie, Jamie Oliver, Jennifer Aniston, Lewis Hamilton, Kiara Knightley, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford all overcame their hardships and went on to develop their often goodies.
Today more businesses need creativity. Industries such as advertising, media, technology, and the arts are all actively considering hiring more people with dyslexia in their organizations. Gone are the days when the workplace prized only those with “three rupees” (reading, writing and arithmetic). Technology means that we can now be as productive as we are communication and creative.
Support and awareness
Since running the Microsoft Dyslexia Kids Boot Camp, I have been able to listen to the frustrations of parents whose children remain uneducated. Many parents believe that some schools do not want to be diagnosed too young or if the condition is not “serious”, because they do not have the resources or headcount to support children with dyslexia.
Unfortunately, research has shown that emotional well-being, self-esteem, and confidence are often important issues for dyslexic youth. Being expert in reading and writing is never his strong thing. Yet their ability to solve problems, be creative, tell stories, be visual, and see a bigger, more strategic picture are keying the different skills of people with dyslexia to our future.
Organizations such as Made by Dyslexia and Valuable 500 initiatives are campaigning and creating awareness and support. Med by dyslexia campaigns aim to change perceptions, so that dyslexia is seen as a different way of thinking rather than harm.
Changing perceptions and reducing dyslexia
We were very happy to see Caroline Casey join Dyslexia Boot Camp. Caroline is the founder of Valuable 500 and an award-winning social entrepreneur. She attended workshops and posted about the fun she had with this inspiring group of children learning new skills.