My Dyslexia Presentation #1


I volunteered to give a schoolwide presentation on dyslexia. I’m feeling inspired and nervous, so I decided to prepare a speech in advance. I hope you will find it useful.

Enhancing Students’ Self-Belief

Usually, I wear a suit for presentations because I firmly believe that if you do not have substance, you must at least impress your audience with style. But I’m going to take off my suit now because I want to send off a message that I’m not an authoritative expert giving you a lecture on helping students with dyslexia. I’m just a regular teacher like you, trying to survive every day. So treat this as a sharing instead.

 

I first want to draw your attention to how dyslexic students are likely to think about themselves. I watched “Rescued by Ruby” on Netflix recently. The main character has both dyslexia and ADD. A picture speaks a thousand words, so I will like to show you his words that he uttered at the lowest point in the movie: “I’m not the stupid, hyperactive kid who couldn’t read.” So, I guess a lot of dyslexic students equate their reading and writing difficulty with their self-worth.

 

This will have repercussions on their attitude towards learning because if they feel they are stupid, they will probably face a fixed mindset and not be motivated towards learning. Hence, our job as educators becomes important because we need to help them raise their self-esteem first and foremost.

 

As such, I think now is a good opportunity to understand how society perceives people with dyslexia, the lens through which we examine them. Because the things we are exposed to will affect the language we use with our students. So I will like to highlight two things under this part of the Personal Development session. Firstly, people have classified dyslexia as a learning disability all this while. Which is unfortunate because students will feel inadequate and even ashamed of themselves if they associate their struggles as handicaps. So, as society grows more enlightened, we start to refer to dyslexia as a learning difference.

 

Because I want to drum this into your heads, right, could you all repeat learning difference after me?

 

Learning difference.

 

Secondly, in Singapore, because we perceive dyslexia from a position of weakness, we tend to cover successful people as the resilient ones who have turned dyslexia into a strength. So allow me to read aloud the key part from these two Straits Times articles.

 

The first article says, “NTU grad turned dyslexia into 'strength' to emerge top student and Rhodes scholar.”

 

The second article says, “SP grad turned her dyslexia into strength to rank second in cohort and win Low Guan Oon Gold Medal.”

 

I mean, these two headlines seem to suggest that dyslexia is something negative. There are even quotation marks around the word ‘strength’ for the first headline, as if the NTU graduate’s success is somewhat dubious.

 

But Orlando Bloom, who acted in movies like Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean, puts it differently. He is dyslexic and learns his lines forward and backward, inside out, so he is fully prepared. He says, “With dyslexia comes a very great gift, which is the way that your mind can think creatively. If your kids can be given the opportunity to find that way of thinking, what works for them, they will be very happy and successful in whatever field they choose to go into.”

 

Dyslexia is a gift. The gift of the creative mind.

 

In fact, there exists a model called the Sea of Strengths model, which aims to celebrate the strengths of dyslexic people. Examples are concept formation, reasoning and problem-solving.

 

We are living in very exciting times because famous dyslexic people who have made it big in their careers are pushing for the recognition of dyslexia as a positive force. Some of these people lend their voices to a website called Made by Dyslexia. And it seems that their movement has led to some success. LinkedIn has added Dyslexic Thinking as an official skill. Hot on its heels is dictionary.com, which will add dyslexic thinking as an official term.

 

So I hope this workshop will bring about a mindset change or paradigm shift.

 

  1. Learning difference
  2. Dyslexia is the gift of the creative mind.

 

 

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diaperfinancingfund
diaperfinancingfund

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diaperfinancingfund
diaperfinancingfund

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