In my previous blog I discussed the importance of focusing on one’s dyslexic strengths and ‘gifts’, rather than overly dwelling on weaknesses. Building upon this, on a particularly lazy Sunday morning this got me thinking about how dyslexics can create, generate and earn success, achievement and accomplishment in their lives.
Setting and meeting goals is a major part of human life. All individuals, in one way or another, set out particular milestones they wish to achieve and gain. Crucially, these can vary in their nature from familial/parental, financial, occupational, educational and social. These goals or ‘success indicators’ can vary greatly depending on a person’s skillsets, personality traits and personal interests. Why is this goal setting and achieving success particularly important for dyslexic/neurodiverse individuals? It is an unfortunate and sad reality that many dyslexics experience negative secondary symptoms of dyslexia. Most notably these can include low self-esteem and confidence, higher stress or anxiety levels and a susceptibility to self-criticism. Subsequently, this post aims to outline and explain awesome ways to negate these negative emotions and assist individuals to experience and explore success and triumphs.
In order to help and support fellow dyslexics a ten-point ‘check list for success’ has been developed. These are ideas and processes that have helped me, are based on research and literature reading or have been suggested and discussed by other dyslexics. This isn’t a totally exhaustive list, therefore they may be ways or methods I have completely missed or totally forgotten about. Notably, these suggestions are ones that sprang to mind, ranging from psychological to practical recommendations.
1. Understanding and acknowledging that it is perfectly fine and ok to be dyslexic. Being dyslexic is not something one can control and switch on and off throughout their lives. As such, it is a lifelong neurodiversity that impacts approximately one in ten people around the globe.
2. Set and strive to reach realistic and achievable goals. Setting and meeting personally achievable targets that require an individual to work hard, but not over stretch themselves, can be extremely valuable and highly rewarding.
3. Participate in activities and subjects that you enjoy. Throughout human nature, better results and outcomes are frequently yielded during tasks we like and enjoy. The same also often works vice versa; tasks we are naturally good and excel at we tend to enjoy more.
4. Focus on and play to your strengths. All dyslexics possess unique strengths, skills, talents, and gifts. Most crucially, these should be celebrated, explored and nurtured.
5. Not to over dwell on weaknesses or mistakes. Regardless of whether an individual is neurodiverse or not making errors is a natural and inevitable part of human life. Instead, what it is important is trying and attempting to learn and grow from these mistakes, as dwelling and focusing on past errors can be highly psychologically and emotionally damaging.
6. Discover and experiment with different learning methods to see what suits you best. Ranging from visual, auditory, kinaesthic to tactile, dyslexics ‘preferred learning styles’ and ways to have information presented to them varies greatly from each individual to the next.
7. Developing desirable traits to help one to achieve their goals. Excellent work ethic, resilience, diligence and motivation are all qualities that emphasise an individual’s willingness to learn, grow and manage potentials setbacks in life.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Although it can be slightly embarrassing to ask for help and assistance it is absolutely fine to do so. From time to time, neurodiverse or not, we all need that little bit of a boost, clarification and/or reassurance. From one dyslexic to another: please don’t suffer in silence.
9. The importance of support networks. Support and advice for dyslexia is out there in all sorts of formats. Whether it be talks with other dyslexics and their families, joining online support groups or seeking advice from an educational professional. These are all great methods to learning more about dyslexia as whole, understanding dyslexia as a diagnosable neurodiversity and to exchange useful coping strategies and support resources.
10. Remember that you are your own unique individual with excellent personal strengths, traits and skillsets to offer. Although dyslexia is part of your identity and daily existence, it should not stop you from leading a successful and fulfilling life.
As all dyslexics present with varying learning styles, interests and life goals, different methods and pathways to achieving success exists amongst the dyslexic population. I am hopeful that this tenfold check list provides a good starting point and platform for dyslexics to consider techniques to meet and create their own life goals; whilst also considering the positives and benefits dyslexia can yield.