My son had an appointment today.
He went with my wife to the CAMHS centre in St Austell to have a diagnosis for potential ADHD. He was recently diagnosed as dyslexic, and his school attributed his struggles to settle down to work as indicative ADHD as the two “often go together”.
90 minutes of Q&A later and the initial assessment returned a negative result. I guess I am not surprised. Anyone subjected to 90 minutes of anything had better be interested or they are likely to switch off. Someone with ADHD is highly unlikely to cope with that.
The processes and protocols will be followed, the school informed, and we shall wait to see what reaction they have. One possible outcome is that there is no reason why he should not settle down to work (this completely ignores the dyslexia diagnosis, but hey) so he can just get on with it. Another one is that the system he is expected to work in presently doesn’t account for his challenges, so perhaps some adjustments could be made.
It got me thinking about my experience at school. A sheltered upbringing which had me valuing the importance of sitting up straight, trying my hardest, not answering back, and generally being a good boy. I fit the system, I found it easy enough, I got on. It never occurred to me then that this was not the case for everyone. In fact, it was easy to believe as a 10-year-old that those who did not excel were either naughty or stupid or both. Apologies, but that was the language of the time.
School is important. Check that, learning is important. It is our brains growing as our bodies do. Amazing thing though, is that our brains keep growing even after our bodies stop. School absolutely has a place, as it somewhere learning can happen. However, the very nature of it, at least as most of us experience it, is that it is dominated by time, and space, and rules, and authority. Those who excel in school are likely to become very good employees. People who can get on in a system. But what of those who don’t?
Well, a bit of Googling uncovered a few interesting gems including an article in the Guardian pointing to numerous entrepreneurs who were diagnosed as, or demonstrated dyslexic characteristics. Further scrolling and reading, yielded more information about the numbers of people with dyslexia taking charge and being successful. 35%, 40%, 60% – the point is not the detail, but the reality that there is likely to be a corelation between people with dyslexia and those who start up their own businesses.
Back to the Guardian article and the headline “Entrepreneurship provides independence”, makes a lot of sense. “Being the boss of your own organisation makes a lot of sense when it enables you to shape a working environment that suits your skills – and supports you in areas you’re not so good at.” Guardian, Louise Tickle 15.01.15.
It has been said by some that “dyslexia is my superpower”. A reframing in the positive can make a huge difference to people. The very thing that makes certain functions difficult, can help to uncover skills and traits that are overlooked and under-valued in school. When we get out into the world however, they are potentially gold dust.
My son will have to work hard, accept our support, and cross his fingers and toes to excel at school, but his dyslexia may well be the blessing to excel in life. If school was a challenge for you, maybe you won’t make the best employee, but perhaps you can become an amazing employer.
If you want help in defining your ambitions, setting your targets, and achieving your goals, get in touch with Real Ideas.