Friday, March 13, 2009

The Link Between Dyslexia and Creativity

Photo 1 : Richard Branson

Photo 2 : Superbike ( John Britten)

I recently watched an interesting video which was part of the promotional material for the 2008 Dyslexia Awareness Week organised by The Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand .In this video they explain that :

often dyslexics do much better later in life due to the fact that dyslexia offers special gifts and talents.
They have the ability to perceive the world from different perspectives; to think outside of the square.
They often excel in art,music,sport,storytelling,leadership,design and engineering.
Their creative talent often goes unnoticed at school ,which becomes a challenge for them; in a world full of words”

There are many examples of famous and successful dyslexic people world-wide who do seem to possess special talents and gifts but who failed at school. You may wish to talk to your child about these people. In Turkish schools, since the emphasis tends to be on academic success alone , it is up to us as parents to endeavour to try to develop our childs individual and unique talents.

Here are just some people that I found out about who possess special gifts and talents and who are dyslexic :

Richard Branson – business man and entrepreneur Founder of the Virgin Group enterprises , with a personal wealth estimated at nearly $3 billion.

From Richard Branson's Autobiography :
I was trouble - and always in trouble. Aged eight I still couldn't read. In fact, I was dyslexic and short-sighted. Despite sitting at the front of the class, I couldn't read the blackboard… … the letters and numbers made no sense at all. Dyslexia wasn't deemed a problem in those days, or, put more accurately, it was only a problem if you were dyslexic yourself. Since nobody had ever heard of dyslexia, being unable to read, write or spell just meant to the rest of the class and the teachers that you were either stupid or lazy. And at prep school you were beaten for both……

My dyslexia was a problem throughout my school life. Now, although my spelling is still sometimes poor, I have managed to overcome the worst of my difficulties through training myself to concentrate. Perhaps my early problems with dyslexia made me more intuitive: when someone sends me a written proposal, rather than dwelling on detailed facts and figures I find that my imagination grasps and expands on what I read."

The dyslexic Jamie Oliver left school with no qualifications, and studied at Westminster Catering College before working as a pastry chef at Antonio Carluccio's restaurant in London. It was while he was a sous-chef at another top London restaurant that Jamie Oliver, was 'discovered' by a BBC documentary team. This led to his own BBC Food cookery tv series. Later he went on to write several books and appears on tv regularly.

It was with great regret that I didn't do better at school. People just thought I was thick, it was a struggle, I never really had anyone to help that understood dyslexia and who could bring out my strengths..”

Richard Taylor has won many awards, including five Academy Awards ( Oscars ). He is the Director and co-founder of Weta Workshop, one of the best known creative arts studios in the world. Weta Workshop has made special effects for many well-known films including The Lord of the Rings and Prince Caspian..

In a interview he said :
The kids that find success at Weta are the ones that day-dreamed in their Maths exam and drew monsters on the backs of their pencil cases,” said Richard Taylor.These are young people who might not fit the traditional academic school model or be great on the sports field, but they can still have an important impact on the world through the celebration of their unique creative minds.” It seems to me that the crisis that dyslexia first appears to be is simply an opportunity in disguise.”

John Britten
When he was a young boy he began making go-karts out of old packing cases. By the time he was twelve years old he built his first motor-powered go-kart. .Despite suffering from dyslexia he completed a mechanical engineering course at night school Britten first started working a draughtsman . In his spare time Britten worked on motorcycle designs. In 1992 he set up the Britten Motorcycle Company. The V100 superbike designed by Britten ,was internationally acclaimed for its design.It went on to win many races and also set world speed and acceleration records . In a poll compiled by the world’s leading motorcycle writers to rank the Motorcyclist of the Millennium, John Britten was placed equal with the four founders of Harley Davidson.

His wife said that :
John struggled at school with his reading and writing because of his dyslexia. But the unique picture thinking ability and creative gifts of dyslexia enabled his design genius to shine as he got older.”

Arik Levi
He struggled at school because of dyslexia, so he learned to work with his hands, with the help of his grandfather who sold electronics, “When everyone else was playing in the sand , I was taking apart my mother’s iron “ he recalls . By his early twenties he was running his own graphic-design studio and surf shops, and designing surfboards and wetsuits on the side.He studied industrial design in Switzerland. Dyslexia and losing a finger made Arik the designer what he is today." Loss gave me the tools to look at what’s not there.To make the best of a situation.I don’t see flaws.I only see advantages” (from an interview for the Frame magazine.)He has now become a renowed international designer.

In earlier blog articles I have already talked about Sally Gardner , another dyslexic , who do poorly at school but went on to be a successful costume designer and childrens book writer.Also Luke Concannon from the music group Nizlopi . As you will see I have not listed any Turkish people. There must be some out there I think !!!!

1 comment:

neil said...

I have just edited an exciting new book on creativity and dyslexia, with fourteen authors, including myself (Neil Alexander-Passe).

This include Thomas West, Ulrika Wolff, Jane Graves , Beverley Steffert and Katherine Hewlett.

It is already on sale through the publisher, amazon and tescos.

It takes an interesting look at the link between the two, giving more evidence to their relationship.