International Day of People with Disabilities 2020
When we think of disabilities, we often turn to the ones with the most visible signs. Those who require a wheelchair or mobility scooters for example. But this year’s International Day of People with Disabilities focuses on its theme of ‘Not every disability is visible’. Those with chronic pain, mental health issues and others that impact lives around the world but can’t always be seen. The Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity is an organisation that is passionate about removing barriers to learning and life by promoting less recognised skills, campaigning for new ways of living and thinking as well as inspiring people to fall in love with learning despite their hardships. We were lucky enough to be able to invite Tory Sparks and Andy Cook from this fantastic charity to talk to us about our own preconceptions, myths about dyslexia and ways we can start incorporating more inclusive behaviour into our organisation.
Tory and Andy took us through what it means to be dyslexic today and shared stories of people they worked with who were silently struggling with feelings of inadequacy and doubting their intelligence because of their dyslexia. 10% of the population has dyslexia and that number rises to 15% if you include other disabilities such as ADHD which incorporate dyslexia as a symptom. While many of us may have negative preconceptions about dyslexia, many who have it compensate by developing their own techniques for overcoming their disability. This leads to dyslexics like Richard Branson, Tom Cruise and Albert Einstein who excel because they’ve taught themselves different ways to rationalise and interact with the world.
In fact, many organisations like NASA actively look for employees who have learning disabilities such as autism because they covert the unique skills they’ve developed. Dyslexics are often more empathetic with better interpersonal skills than the average person. Our new friends at Helen Arkell took us through all this and more, with exercises and activities to give us a sense of what it’s like to struggle with dyslexia, we came away with a newfound appreciation for the difficulties faced by thousands of people in the country.
We’re thrilled to have had this amazing chance to learn more about what differences we can make and hope to work with them again soon.