I’m a little baffled by the local primary school that has decided to celebrate the “gift” of dyslexia. I know it is generally poor form to begin an argument with “Some of my best friends are…” but I actually do have dyslexic friends. I think many of us probably do these days, now that the condition is recognised and there are techniques for dealing with it. I’ve seen dyslexic people manage to reach all kinds of heights that I will never match. They just have a slight disadvantage they have to overcome to get there. We are living, more than ever, in a literary world where instructions and online communication rely on understanding writing. Struggling to cope with that is just a thing some people need to cope with. I wish them well, I applaud the efforts of those who overcome their problems, but a problem is a problem. Being dyslexic is not some wonderful talent, it’s not something that is going to improve your lot in life, it’s something that you need to work around. It is not a gift.
Inclusivity in schools is good. Teaching kids about the problems their peers face is good. Showing them role models who have overcome dyslexia is good. Telling a dyslexic kid that they’ve got something valuable that not everyone gets – which is what being gifted means – is surely detrimental? Why instil an expectation of gratitude for being “blessed” with a disability in kids aged ten and under?
This is the article that alerted me to the school’s programme:
I like that it’s putting a positive spin on an issue that some of their student are subject to, that they are showing that it doesn’t need to wreck their lives, that there are different approaches to learning and success. I hate that they appear to be brainwashing children into a belief that a bad thing is in fact good. I hope that the piece has lost something in the translation from interview to article.