A million reasons to get a dylexia test
“If it was up to the NIH to cure polio through a centrally directed program… You’d have the best iron lung in the world but not a polio vaccine.”
- Samuel Broder, Former Director, National Cancer Institute.
So why are dyslexia assessments needed?
The Dyslexia Institute reported that un-diagnosed dyslexics could earn £50,000 less over their lifetime and are more likely to have health problems . In addition, they are more likely to struggle at school and gain fewer qualifications. This lack of quailifications has a knock on effect , when people are misallocated to jobs which are a poor match , you deny a would be entrepreneur or disprupter the peer contacts he or she would normnally make early in a career . You remove a way in to an industry not to mention the seed money needed to start up on ones own .For the problem solvers the budding einstein's , edisons or marconi's the opportunity cost can easily exceed a million in lost earnings and taxes . It goes without saying that nobody benefits from maintaining a status quo that miss allocates resources .
Who is this Article aimed at ?
Typically if you have read any thing online , it is not uncommon to conclude, this is not for me , they are not talking about me , they can't be ! .
I wrote this series of articles for everyone who runs a internet search and feels it is completely inappropriate to proceed , for everyone who is pulled in by the mention of Einstein or Edison Faraday JFK or Churchill .I wrote these articles for anyone who erroneously concludes that nothing changes , that this is a problem that can not be fixed or overcome . In the 1900's a swiss patent clerk 25 at the time writes a number of papers on physics , he holds no academic position and has only a moderate degree in his chosen field , he has tried and failed to secure a position in academia . Yet against all odd he wins the one million Nobel prize for physics . This is a story you could not make up but it happened his name Albert Einstein ,
This article is for everyone who has ever had doubts that they are failing to live up to their potential , everyone who has ever exceeded expectations only to crash back to earth , anyone who has ever been unfairly labelled bone idle by the bone idle .
Here the story
I am the founder of a website that promises to replicate the benefits of smart drugs , improve memory , focus and attention without the drugs .
How I came to found this website is the consequence of my experiences .Two tests in my twenties, two years apart see a condition once diagnosed managed away. The cynical among you may argue that a misdiagnosis has taken place , although that would be questioning the credibility of not one but two qualified independent psychologists with no vested interest .
I begin by destroying any preconceptions you might have.
I attended a grammar school in my late teens , I didn't struggle to keep up .
Did Einstein, Edison, Faraday, Marconi, Bell, Churchill, JFK and Darwin [dyslexics all.] struggle to learn to read or write , there is no direct evidence they did .Evidence of absence asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false . I would not be surprised if such evidence existed I simply have not come across it .
However plenty of evidence does exist that these great men struggled with formal education . Brilliant men , they overcame , but notably , not one of them really excelled academically , suggesting the problem may not be learning to read or write but rather the way they were taught , learning itself . Could it be , that the way it has been done for hundreds of years . listen and learn may a poor fit for minds that are just wired differently .
There are known known's. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.
[Donald Rumsfeld rather expertly making dyslexics of all of us . ]
I resume the story just prior to the final year of a university course in business law with a minor in economics. The penultimate year I had started to struggle, falling behind. At the time I was holding down a few jobs to pay for college working nights and weekends.
That summer a family history of dyslexia prompted a dyslexia assessment, The results came back late from a fully accredited body, (the full reports including IQ test required by the university).
At the time it was quite shocking to be categorized as one of the 3% diagnosed as severe, especially when you have all the qualifications. During my final year, rather than coursework the university overloaded on examinations. With no support, not even the extra time (pulled at the last minute) I got over loaded. I am not sure what motivated the change of mind. Stressing quantity over quality on the face of things appears to be blatant discrimination but of course no such action has ever been brought , The reason , screening by examination works well on the grounds of gender race or sexuality , it allows filtering not on the grounds of who is smart but on politically acceptable grounds , hard work . If it so happens your memory is not up to it and you struggle with the heavy reading burden , hard luck you are collateral damage, sacrificed for the greater good .
.After sulking for several months , [I feel I was entitled] I starting over. I dug out an old memory course from the attic. On the face of it, nothing to do with dyslexia. Despite having what I thought was a good memory , I reasoned this was a practical skill .The fact was in a situation which stresses quantity of quality then I would and had been found wanting .Memory is not rocket science and after some reflection that solved the problem , Truth be told we tend to think we have great memories, the reality is we have shocking memories but you can improve . I had no idea how much , yes you slow down but only in the very short term , after a hour or two you have saved a hour or two of repetition .
Obviously having learnt what was possible [ for example remembering a deck of cards , in order , inside 2 minutes ] in retrospect it was a skill I was lacking in. While stressing quantity over quality is going to find a lot of people out. The idea had been crystallized, I could only cope with so much before diminishing returns set in , In my case my capacity did not compare favorably with my peer group . That much at least over time had been proven. Memory may be at the bottom of the thinking skills pyramid but it is part of a system, the foundation of everything that follows.
On reflection , It turned out I had never really acquired a genuine ability to learn, I was not alone , I saw it time and time again with my peers , what passed for learning was emulation not the real thing an over reliance on what Daniel Kahneman calls system one or fast thinking rather than the more reflective slower system two thinking .
I would use my analytical skills to isolate core material and my excellent visual memory to photograph text . Exams for me were like taking dictation , more precisely transcribing from an auto-cue , like many men I could not walk and chew gum at the same time , to put it another way I was wholly unable to multi task . Sure I would switch between activities but this divided my attention rather than reinforced it . Given the choice I would prefer to free associate to really take the time to think , when I did I would run out of time .
The reason for the timing issues can be directly attributed to the way the information had been stored ,
Unless you are a genius , 90% of the beneficial [slow] thinking needs to take place before you are put on the spot , If you are to pull everything together convincingly .
I was taught to isolate , learn , repeat and forget , Ok , if you are recalling a list of capitals . A list of capitals does not require understanding . .It had taken twenty years but I had been found out. Like an actor learning lines [ unconventionally in my case ] understanding, contextualizing and integrating was simply was not required to pass the tests . As a result I was un-engaged ,
The more efficient you are at doing the wrong thing, the wronger you become. (Russell L. Ackoff).
Two years after leaving University I was dragged into a class action concerning dyslexia, my brother was involved,It involved sitting the full test for a second time administered by a psychologist [Just like the first test]
The second test was pure serendipity, I did not seek it out. It showed the condition had almost entirely disappeared.
Before and after the fact, I could never fully reconcile the troll like malevolence involved in deliberately setting out to discredit . Is it ignorance. A misguided defense of hard won rights . A small mindedness fueled by deep seated resentment by a few entitled individuals .. To assume that anyone would waste their time in this way displays a level of narcissism bordering on psychopathy . Or could it be a Machiavellian self serving opinion that I somehow gamed the assessments , in which case I had been laying the groundwork since I was 8 years old . I never realized I had such capacity for cunning .Could it be that I represent a ticking legal time bomb , a class action lawsuit to end them all .
Truth be told I was never one for conspiracy theories , but then Trump got elected .Obviously the darker conspiracy theories were complete nonsense but Trump benefited . I was not a great fan of Clinton but Trump got elected [ I can't quite process that ]. Fake stories, fake news, fake beliefs played a part . We see it with fracking, it is no longer debated on the facts but on what people choose to believe . Who shouts loudest and if just one side is shouting, guess what, they get to write history , I am not a green I support fracking as a clean bridging fuel .Never the less I am still at a loss to explain how we can possibly live in a world where a climate change denier has been appointed to oversee the EPA
Anyway two tests in my twenties, two years apart see a condition once diagnosed managed away. In my case the root cause was easy to fix .You can probably still catch me out if you are a being really pedantic but not in any way that really matters .I still make the occasional spelling and grammar mistake , Einstein would make the odd mistake with simple math , but it speaks to nothing other than the fact that attention has failed to shift fully from the bigger picture .Some of us are detail thinkers some are not ..When self identified deductive reasoner's , like the fictional Sherlock Holmes work from small to large then small mistakes multiply , that is how you catch out a conman or a thief . But if you are big picture thinker like a film director and you make a tiny continuity error , it remains a tiny continuity error usually cleaned up during editing .