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The International Celebration of Dyslexia aims to “shatter the myth” that the condition is a “curse”.
Unlike existing events, which focus on ‘coping’ with dyslexia, the ICD will highlight its benefits and provide visitors with practical strategies to “harness and exploit” them in everyday life.
It also hopes to “smash societal prejudice” by educating the public that dyslexia is not a disorder but a gift, which assists one-in-10 people.
ICD is set to take place in London, UK at the London South Bank University.
“The common misconception of dyslexia is that it’s a curse which should be dealt with by encouraging people with the condition to think and act more like non-dyslexics.
“This is exactly why the International Celebration of Dyslexia is needed. By bringing together so many in the dyslexic community we can effectively shatter the myth and smash societal prejudice at the same time.
fMRI studies show that a dyslexic person mainly uses the right-side brain hemisphere, unlike the left hemisphere that is good for literacy skills, such as writing, reading, and spelling.
According to the British Dyslexia Association, up to 10 per cent of the UK’s population is dyslexic, four per cent severely so.
Many dyslexics are bright, highly intelligent and articulate but are unable to read, write, or spell at the level expected of them.
Others are especially talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, and engineering.
But despite being so common, public awareness and societal prejudice remain “at an all-time low”, according to Karl de Leeuw, one of the world’s leading equality campaigners for “the gift” of dyslexia.
Karl said a significant proportion of children with dyslexia – a recognised impairment under the Equality Act 2010 – are unfairly described by their teachers as careless, lazy, or immature.
Many youngsters will also be punished for daydreaming or for their inability to sustain attention – two of the most common symptoms.
But Karl de Leeuw, who is himself dyslexic and has a dyslexic daughter, said most of the educational interventions that are currently available view dyslexia as a “curse”, rather than highlighting its benefits.
He reiterated that “Research has shown that people with dyslexia mainly use the right, creative, hemisphere of the brain, while non-dyslexics tend to use the left, logical hemisphere,” he said. Traditional dyslexic products take away the “gift”. The same fMRI studies showed that after a year using traditional dyslexic products a dyslexic person use the left hemisphere and thereby removing the “gift”.
“Dyslexics show a tendency to be more intuitive, creative, innovative and perceptive than non-dyslexics. They are gifted with vivid imaginations and a holistic way of thinking that allows them to more easily see the bigger picture and have ‘eureka’ moments.
“They are also often better at reaching the end goal because they are not distracted so much by small details as non-dyslexics and, because of what they’ve had to go through in life, they are usually far more resilient to setbacks.
“It’s no surprise, then, that research has shown that entrepreneurs are five times more likely to be dyslexic. The gift of dyslexia gives them both the vision and will to succeed.”
The ICD is the culmination of 10 years of trying to get the event off the ground and aims to help dyslexic adults and parents of dyslexic children to appreciate that they or their child have a gift.