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A Recipe for Empowerment

Work ethic, perseverance and motivation are excellent tools for building success and achievement throughout our daily lives. These factors are of particular importance to those belonging to the neurodiverse community, as so often neurodivergent individuals may perceive themselves as less ‘able’ and somewhat more error-prone in comparison to others. Banishing and managing these negative thoughts and conclusions is crucial in the quest to continue to support and empower the dyslexic population.

On a recent lazy Sunday afternoon I was surfing YouTube for interesting dyslexia videos; alongside adorable videos and vlogs of very cute Labrador puppies. Intriguingly, I stumbled across interviews with various celebrities discussing the nature and impacts of their dyslexia. One in particular caught my attention. As a clue, the interviewee is famous and well known for her roles in Love Actually and The Pirates of Caribbean series. This person greatly emphasised that their work ethic and level of perseverance have always been high, ever since they found out that they were dyslexic. This statement was of keen interest, as it is something that myself and other dyslexics can really relate to.

Why may a dyslexic have a very high work ethic? In order to answer this three main points came to mind. Firstly, as dyslexics process and absorb information differently to others it may take them slightly longer to complete a task. Therefore, due to the increase in time taken it often feels as if they have to work significantly harder than others in order to reach the same level or outcome. Often this ‘increased task time’ is hidden from view, such as completing homework, re-reading passages and checking spelling or grammar away from others/peers. Secondly, dyslexics may feel as if they are more vulnerable or prone to making mistakes during their daily tasks. This increased error-some nature is not factually or necessarily true, yet individuals may still worry over making errors. For example, I can become paranoid and focused on ritualistically checking for spelling and grammatical errors in important work documents and even my own blog posts. Linking with the first point, this can greatly increase the time taken and effort put into completing a task. Thirdly, due to this heighten worry over errors, dyslexics can develop perfectionist traits and even a fear of failure or making mistakes. Although this cycle of working, checking and rechecking can be infuriating it does highlight a real strength in dyslexics. This work ethic, diligence and resilience are fantastic qualities to guide a dyslexic individual throughout their life endeavours.

A major overarching theme of this interview was focused specifically on the positive nature and benefits of dyslexia. In addition to work ethic, the interviewee emphasises that dyslexics both are and will be “better at different things”. We may not be perfect spellers, fast readers or fantastic at remembering facts and figures. Yet nonetheless, creativity and imaginative thought is where we strive. Although dyslexics present with a spiky profile of cognitive abilities and process and interpret information differently, they can be extremely efficient learners and master unique skills. Focusing on individuals strengths and harnessing their skills is of vital psychological and emotional importance.

Ensuring that dyslexics receive the time needed to complete tasks successfully was also stressed within the interview. This alongside receiving clear instructions, constructive feedback, rewards for excellent work and setting achievable goals are seen as great ways to promote hard work, confidence and high motivation levels; particularly in children and adolescents. A great work ethic, high resilience and self-esteem/confidence can come from two differing, but often combined, sources. These can originate internally, or from within an individual, via our personality traits, personal beliefs and opinions. Alternatively, these can also stem from external factors, or from some else, including family, friends and teachers through praise, compliments, advice and recognition of successes.

I found it really pleasing, reassuring and almost a bit of a relief to see a famous well-known individual speak so freely about their dyslexia. It reinforced that we dyslexics are not alone, although we may sometimes feel like it, and that dyslexia can have immense benefits in our lives. Once again I find myself emphasising just how important support networks and an overarching knowledge of dyslexia are. These resources, alongside beneficial personal traits including perseverance, resilience and a high work ethic, are crucial for empowering and inspiring dyslexics within their everyday lives.

Useful Links

For further information on the spiky cognitive profile of dyslexics check out one of my previous blog posts ‘Understanding the Dyslexic Spiky Profile from February 2020, at

Interesting in finding out more about how to support dyslexics? See below a recent post from June 2020 on “Supporting the Dyslexic Community, at

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