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The Intuitional Arts of Dyslexia
- The greatest gifts that dyslexia gives a dyslexic person are intuition, insight, empathy, creativity and imagination. These are the Intuitional Arts of Dyslexia.
- Dyslexic children are the future. They will help save humanity and the planet. It is imperative that dyslexic children are supported to trust their gifts and have healthy self esteem.
Mentoring for Teens and Tweens:
I have been a Mentor/Coach since 1994. One of my specialities, and one which is very dear to my heart, is Mentoring dyslexic teens and tweens (as well as adults). I am all about helping young dyslexics claim their self esteem as unique individuals with dyslexic gifts. The Mentoring I offer them is a great addition to a team-style approach where a teen or tween has an existing psychotherapist.
- I am profoundly dyslexic! And I am successful! I understand from the inside out the challenging experience both academically and socially of going through school and life as a dyslexic and finding my way. I am a great resource in helping teens and tweens develop their self esteem. It has been powerful and life changing for my dyslexic youth clients to speak to someone just like them who’s made it through.
- It is typical that several months' of sessions with me can help a dyslexic youth make an important shift in perspective from self-doubt or even self-loathing to finding a new perspective where they can begin to love themselves and embrace their unique strengths. I am a great super-power adjunct to the necessary work with their therapist that needs to happen and I'm a team player as needed with both therapists and parents to advocate for their child.
- Because dyslexia runs in families, an additional byproduct of me mentoring one family member is that the mentoring can become systemic for the entire family in a positive way, including any dyslexic parents and siblings: Everybody feels the mentoring support, even if it is indirect.
Some of the ways that I help my young dyslexic clients:
- Teach them how to be kind to themselves and be their own best friend.
- Identify how their dyslexic gifts are already in play and valuing and enhancing their gifts.
- See the value of their different thinking and stand up for themselves.
- Identify their interests and pursue them.
- Value themselves enough to choose positive friends and guide them out of social isolation and into deeper and appropriate social connections (in short, helping them create a sphere of positive and nurturing friends).
- Find hope that there is a valuable place for them in the world.
- Shift from shame to self esteem, self love and self worth.
The Intuitive, Empathetic, Creative Wisdom of Dyslexics, aka "The Intuitional Arts"
Empathy, intuition and imagination are interrelated and are all integral parts of what I call The Intuitional Arts.
Empathy: If I had only one thing to say to parents of dyslexic children and to dyslexic kids, it’s that dyslexics operate off an exceptionally high level of empathy which enables them to understand other people and situations better than non-dyslexic people. They “just know.” This knowledge, or insight, is innate to dyslexics and is one of their gifts.
One of the biggest gifts of dyslexics is their abundant and accurate empathy and understanding of others. The advantage of being so empathetic towards other people is that you can put yourself in other people’s shoes so that you can understand other people’s behavior and the situations they get themselves into. This gives the dyslexic the added advantage in the world of literally seeing the world from many people's viewpoints. This usually occurs spontaneously, so when a dyslexic is in a room with several other people they understand what's going on with the other people better than the other people understand themselves. This is a tremendous amount of information to have that brings with it tremendous benefit personally and in a variety of professions. I call these abilities The Intuitional Arts.
But problems may arise when a dyslexic is more empathetic to other people than they are to themselves. This can happen easily when a child has gone through the school system and ends up feeling shamed, traumatized and loses or doesn't develop their self esteem. At this point a dyslexic child learns to put others' needs, wants and desires before their own. When a dyslexic is not empathetic to themselves, then they can’t use their great intuitional gifts to fix their own problems or even believe that they can. So they can end up drowning in a sea of life preservers, the life preservers which they themselves have created for others but don’t believe that they have the right to use for their own self rescue.
So the sad circumstance is that in spite of the difficulties that come along with dyslexia, the dyslexic actually has the solutions to all their own problems (and the problems of the world) but they don’t believe that they do because the hit that they take to their self esteem and self worth from the conventional education system separates them from their true abilities and prevents them from knowing that they have these gifts to use.
Intuition is an inward form of knowledge, a form of “just knowing.” So often dyslexics get told that they’re not entitled to” just know” things even though they are accurate! They are taught that they have to have outer knowledge, formal book learning, and linear thinking to know things—knowledge which is external. When the dyslexic is asked to give a basis for their knowledge or their opinion, they can’t justify and defend it because they “just know it,” ie. internally. It takes time for them to learn how to explain and defend their intuitional opinions and conclusions—which are highly accurate and which others may have to work hard to arrive at!
So more often than not, dyslexics are right about what they know, but they can’t prove it because it didn’t require a linear learning process. So then people argue with them, “How do you come to know this?” and their answer is, “I don’t know how I know this, I just do.” And then inevitably the people asking them how do you know this discount the validity of what the dyslexic innately knows, which is a belief system that the non-dyslexics have which is literally a prejudiced belief system towards people who innately know things. Ironically, at some point down the road, empirical data reveals that the dyslexic’s innate knowing was correct. It's difficult to defend your right and ability to "just know" as an adult—imagine as a child trying to defend your ideas to an adult.
Dyslexics, when they don't have good self esteem, are often not given credit for being right a large percentage of the time, and over time, even when there is consistent empirical data that they are correct in their opinions of people and things. As a result of not being witnessed as accurate, which begins in the school system, dyslexics learn to doubt the accuracy of their own information. A real world example is a boss or a coworker stealing and running off with a dyslexic's ideas and then taking credit for them and receiving the benefit. Hence the importance of the dyslexic developing their self esteem and self worth in order to advocate for themselves in an empowered way. Another real world example is that over 50% of NASA employees are dyslexic because of the value of their incredible brains.
Imagination is everything! Everything that you will know or experience in this world more than likely started in someone's imagination! Imagination gives the opportunity to take something which is known and concrete and something that is not known, which is potential, and combine them into something that is completely new. Dyslexics excel at this.
In some sets of circumstances imagination enables one to create something as though it were cut from whole cloth and which has never been seen before. It just comes out of the great unknown. I know that people like to quote Einstein a lot, but there is no getting around it. The Theory of Relativity was delivered in its entirety with no footnotes or supporting information. It just is. Often dyslexics will have something new arrive in their imagination completely formed. But they must believe in themselves to have this imagining come into the world. As a dyslexic I totally get why Einstein worked in a patent office while he developed his theories—he didn't have to worry about having his understanding of how the universe and everything in it worked be challenged.
Einstein (who was brilliant because of, not in spite of, his dyslexia) described imagination as the highest form of intelligence. Einstein actually stated that you don’t need to learn anything, you can look it up, but that imagination is more important than knowledge for transforming the world.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Knowledge is limited.
Imagination encircles the world.
Using The Intuitional Arts As a dyslexic becomes an adult with good self esteem in place, they learn to trust themselves, and they learn along the way how to explain things so non-dyslexics can catch up. Meanwhile, they’ve used their brilliant brains to make innovative leaps in many fields—think of the leaps in technology alone that dyslexics have given the world because of, not in spite of, their dyslexia: The phone, the Iphone, the airplane, the car, the light bulb, cds, and the list goes on. Dyslexics use their Intuitional Arts as great world leaders, athletes, musicians, writers, architects, counselors and more!
Mentoring Dyslexics to Have Good Self Esteem Many non-dyslexic people do not have the ability to place themselves in other people’s shoes to the degree that dyslexics do, so therefore they can’t support the dyslexics in a witnessed realization that dyslexics can basically interpret and predict reality cut from whole cloth—“big picture thinking” and innovative solutions. As a result of this, the chief advantage of being dyslexic ends up being lost because the dyslexic person is falsely convinced to believe that they don’t have the innate understanding and the ability to solve problems that is their very strength! They literally become the person who’s dying of thirst while they are driving around a full water truck. More often than not, the dyslexic is told that their cup is empty or only half full when in truth their cup is overflowing and the dyslexic has been talked, or shamed, out of seeing it. My job as a Mentor has always been to help dyslexics have the kind of self esteem that enables them to see that their cup of creativity, imagination and empathy is overflowing; in short, to set them free from a societal prejudice against dyslexics, the creative people who “just know.”
The Hard Science Behind the Dyslexic’s Empathy, Intuition, Creativity and Imagination:
Dyslexia is about so much more than difficulty reading and writing. What isn’t often recognized is that the dyslexic’s brain structure has a hard wired advantage which non-dyslexics don’t possess. The dyslexic’s neural towers are set farther apart, so that signals must travel a longer distance, and the incredible result is that they have an easily accessible accurate big picture of what is going on that nondyslexics either miss or must spend a lot of time and more linear thinking to arrive at. Because of their unique brain structure, dyslexics come up with unique and creative answers, and they possess a lot of right brain empathy. But they need to have their unique way of thinking witnessed, recognized and supported so they can make their way in life.
- Over 50% of people at NASA are dyslexic—they are valuable to NASA because of, not in spite of, their dyslexia.
- 40% of self made millionaires have dyslexia.
- 35% of entrepreneurs have dyslexia.
On the other hand, heartbreakingly for unsupported kids:
- 32% of students with dyslexia/LD drop out of high school or do not receive a regular diploma.
- 50% of youth in the juvenile justice system have dyslexia/LD.
- 60% of adolescents in drug and alcohol rehabilitation have dyslexia/LD.
This is a terrible waste of human potential. These unsupported lives are stories of incredible suffering that could have been avoided by support and consciousness.
The ability to spell and read have nothing to do with intelligence. Intelligence has at its foundation empathy, intuition, creativity and imagination, qualities that are the innate, natural gifts of dyslexics. These qualities are what the world needs to survive, to dispel prejudice, and to grow. Dyslexics are the key to the future in this regard. Helping young dyslexics to believe in themselves, to not be unnecessarily traumatized in school, and to grow their self esteem is imperative.
The Impact—Helping Dyslexic Young People Believe In Themselves:
When left to their own devices, dyslexics can figure out how to be successful on their own. It’s not uncommon for them to take hobbies and interests and turn them into careers!
The unfortunate part about this is that their experience in the conventional education system may lead them to believe that they can’t turn their interests and hobbies into something successful because the school system has been so focused on their reading and writing that they feel stupid and don’t believe in themselves, and peers and bullies have dismissed and abused them. One day they can be the best in their field and still have an “imposter syndrome”—believing erroneously that it’s only a matter of time before it is discovered that they don’t really know what they are doing even while they are doing it successfully!
It's absolutely vital to support dyslexic kids’ interests and hobbies (which they may eventually turn into adult vocations) outside of the school system. Kids somehow have to get through the hell of school. The question is, can they do so with their self esteem intact?
When supported, dyslexic kids and youth:
- Know what they are interested in.
- Know what they can do and can excel at.
- To be supported in focusing on what they can do rather than what they can’t.
- To have their assets focused on and witnessed, and not their liabilities.
Kids can be told for years through the school system and by their peers that they can’t do things, and come to believe they are stupid. Instead, their different way of thinking needs to be celebrated and supported.
Somehow dyslexics will learn to read and write to the extent that they can, but it is vital to remember that reading and writing have absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. Einstein was terrible at math in school. Naturalist and artist Jack Laws, who hasn’t made it through a book, has recently published his own book, the wonderful Laws Field Guide to The Sierra Nevada. Ansel Adams’ father took him out of school and put a camera in his hand. There are many examples of successful dyslexics who thrived because their gifts and abilities were witnessed and supported outside the conventional education system.
In the end, the school system is the problem. Supporting and witnessing a child’s gifts enables them to have the self esteem necessary to thrive with their empathy, intuition, creativity and imagination intact. A team of believers—parents, mentors, therapists and fellow dyslexics—is the best support a young person can have to claim the gifts of their dyslexia and claim also their self esteem and self worth.
Being a dyslexic youth and having a successful dyslexic Mentor is a real game changer
I am privileged to be an invaluable ally for my dyslexic youth clients as a Mentor/Coach.
As a successful dyslexic myself I understand the dyslexic experience from the inside out, and kids’ difficult experiences with the onslaught of the conventional education system, being bullied, and being different. My work with teens and tweens totally expedites their empowerment process and helps them have a real increase in their self esteem.
Dyslexics come into this world with a unique set of gifts that lends them opportunities in life that nondyslexics do not share to the same degree.
However, it is vital that dyslexics are made aware of these gifts and are shown how to activate them.
The tragedy is that a dyslexic person may have gifts that lend to leading an above-average life, but that can only happen if they are made aware of their gifts and can manifest and articulate them in the world. Ironically and tragically, if dyslexics’ gifts are not recognized, they will most likely perceive themselves to be less than average people and live a less-than life. It’s important for everyone to have high self esteem, but it is especially important for dyslexics because high self esteem helps them to recognize their gifts and their potential so that they lead a fulfilling life that’s on par with their gifts. More often than not, dyslexics are taught to focus on their liabilities rather than their gifts and assets. They may even believe that their assets don’t exist.
I help my dyslexic clients dispel the belief that their assets don't exist and help them to recognize, claim and implement their gifts.
I work as needed—once a week or once a month, whatever supports my clients. I work worldwide via phone and Zoom. I offer a free 30 minute consult for both the parents and the youth.