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Dyslexia As A Superpower

Jan 18, 2024

It's no surprise that traditional schooling (at least in the U.S.) pushes sameness and a one-size-fits-all approach to learning. If you don't fit into this tiny box of unrealistic expectations that limit creativity and unique expression, you are told to get evaluated and sometimes medicated.  I'll save the rest of this rant for my book as right now I want to share some incredible insight into why dyslexia is a superpower.

Being diagnosed with ADHD in grade school and then dyslexia in college, I often felt guilty for not being like everyone else. Early in my corporate career when I would share my ideas with execs, I would often feel like I was from a different planet! My view on things and how current or potential problems could be resolved involved strategies that no one else had even thought about. And they seemed SO simple to me. Unfortunately, I stopped sharing my ideas, deemed myself an idiot, and decided I was meant to remain a minion forever. 

UNTIL. I started meeting entrepreneurs with 7, 8, and 9-figure businesses. While learning their intimate life story as a clinical intake specialist for a neuropsychiatric practice, I realized they all had one thing in common: a dyslexia diagnosis early in life. I was intrigued! They thought differently and because of that, they birthed ideas and fully trusted their instincts. These are the people who unknowingly pushed me to become an entrepreneur myself and start celebrating and selling what makes me unique.

As the years passed and I met more and more of the most successful people on the planet, I continued to discover most of them had a dyslexia diagnosis. I haven't stopped learning from them! As someone who can "treat" dyslexia (for those with reading comprehension issues specifically), it's been interesting to learn more about dyslexia in our culture as dyslexia is a learning disability related to problems with writing, reading, and spelling. 

The Irlen Institute estimates that 65% of those diagnosed with dyslexia have Irlen Syndrome, a visual processing disorder in the brain. It is NOT a vision problem. (I myself have Severe Irlen Syndrome and freaky awesome vision). Irlen Syndrome runs in families and is exacerbated by concussions, toxic exposure, and environments with bright lights, white walls, and white tables. Can you see why this is significantly prevalent in the traditional school system?

Irlen Syndrome is when the brain has trouble communicating and processing visual information sent by the eyes. Given the eyes transmit 70% of the information a person receives and this must be interpreted, you can see why this causes so many problems with reading and writing tasks. Any problem in the way the brain processes visual information can cause difficulties in a person's general ability to function. For example, I really struggle with escalators due to Irlen Syndrome because of my issues with poor depth perception.

Some research estimates that Irlen Syndrome affects approximately 18% of the general public let alone the 65% already diagnosed with dyslexia. 

Not-so-fun story... there is a private school that charges over $30k a year for K-9 students. One of my colleagues (an Irlen Syndrome diagnostician) went in to do Irlen Syndrome screening for one of the classrooms and found that every child had severe Irlen Syndrome and 95% of their symptoms dissipated with colored overlays. Sadly, she was told to leave and threatened something bad would happen if she spread the word. Someone needed to be profiting off of these intellectual kids.

Can you see why I'm so passionate about this? 

When I conduct Irlen Syndrome screenings, I often find that other family members also have Irlen Syndrome, even if it's mild, and they too benefit from the colored overlays when reading or taking tests.

Famous & wealthy entrepreneurs with dyslexia: Steve Jobs, Glenn Stearns, Tommy Hilfiger, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver, Steven Spielberg, Charles Schwab, Ted Turner, William Hewlett, and Henry Ford.

To schedule an Irlen Syndrome screening with Fallon:

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