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Texthelp Talks: Exploring Dyslexia beyond reading and writing

Our host, Donna Thomson, is joined by Adam Spencer, Content Creator at Classic Marble. Adam has Dyslexia, and in this episode, Adam and Donna explore dyslexia beyond reading and writing challenges.

Don't forget to listen out for Donna's one thing to know, one thing to do, and one thing to think about at the end of the episode.

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We hope you enjoyed this episode of Texthelp Talks. If you'd like to find out more about inclusive technology, Read&Write, visit text.help/dyslexia-support.

Transcript

Donna Thomson (00:14):

Hello, everyone. I'm Donna Thomson, and welcome to the latest episode of Texthelp Talks podcast. This is where we chat to experts and friends from the education arena and the workplace who share our passion for making our schools, colleges, and workplaces much more inclusive and accessible. So if you haven't done so already, subscribe to Texthelp Talks through your preferred podcast player or streaming service so you never miss an episode.

(00:37):

I am joined by Adam Spencer, who is a content creator at Classic Marble. Adam has dyslexia, and today we are going to explore what it means to have dyslexia beyond reading and writing challenges. After our chat, you will leave with one thing to know, one thing to do, and one thing to think about. So let's get started. Adam, it's great to have you on the podcast today.

Adam Spencer (00:58):

Hi. Thank you for having me.

Donna Thomson (01:01):

Great. Okay. Well, listen, before we delve into your experiences as someone with dyslexia, it's probably a good place for us to start by defining what dyslexia is for anyone that may not know. So dyslexia is defined by the British Dyslexia Association as a learning difference which primarily affects reading and writing skills.

(01:20):

They highlight that it doesn't just affect these skills. It's actually about information processing, which can mean that those with dyslexia can have a difficulty in remembering information which can affect learning and the acquisition of literacy skills. So hearing this definition, Adam, is this something that you can relate to?

Adam Spencer (01:37):

Yeah, absolutely.

Donna Thomson (01:41):

It is? So I mean you definitely see things slightly differently to maybe your peers or your friends?

Adam Spencer (01:49):

Yeah. I think it's one of those things. You can get told it quite early on after you've been diagnosed with dyslexia that you have a different way. But it's not until maybe you get into a work situation or some kind of group work in school and you sit there, and you have this long conversation. You realize that everybody else's ideas maybe had a similar theme around them or something and yours was just completely, completely from a different-

Donna Thomson (02:20):

Very different. Yeah, yeah. I guess, yeah, it's in those situations that you realize I thought about that in a very different way.

Adam Spencer (02:26):

Yeah, exactly.

Donna Thomson (02:29):

I know we were chatting before today, but I know you were informally diagnosed with dyslexia by your parents at quite a young age. This is really because your dad has dyslexia as well as his dad, so your granddad. So your parents then were quite aware of the common traits that can affect someone with dyslexia.

(02:47):

I guess thinking back to when you started school then, did your parents chat to your school or your teachers about your dyslexic? Can you remember this?

Adam Spencer (02:55):

Yeah, yeah. I mean they were always incredibly supportive. My dad had a fairly rough experience, I think, in school and I know his dad had it even harder. I think there was a lot of times ... It wasn't understood, so it often came across as people not applying themselves or whatever there. So yeah, they kind of always had that stigma.

(03:26):

So when my parents came to having me, and I think my dad had pretty much known that his son would be dyslexic the same way as I know if I have a son, he'd probably be dyslexic too, and came at it from an angle of wanting to do everything that they could to help me, which even in the time, I mean I'm 31 now, so we're talking realistically when it first became an issue probably when I was eight to 10, 20+ years.

(03:53):

Even then, their very modern attitude towards dyslexia for the time would probably now be considered a little bit off base as well. Their way of dealing with things was deciding that, okay, we're going to really support you to understand more practical aspects and make sure that you hit a minimum requirement, read/write level, which was incredibly helpful. I'm really glad that they did.

(04:18):

But I think nowadays with modern technology and the way that we understand it more, I don't think you need to put any restrictions at all on people.

Donna Thomson (04:29):

Yeah. I think even back when your parents were quite forward thinking 20-odd years ago, their level of knowledge is probably very different to what we all know now. So things just progress through the years, which is good to see, isn't it?

Adam Spencer (04:43):

Yeah.

Donna Thomson (04:43):

So I mean thinking about your school then, how did having dyslexia really affect you at school?

Adam Spencer (04:50):

It's a very complicated relationship, I think. I had times when it was ignored, which had its own difficulties within it. But then equally on the other side, I had times when maybe I had a classroom assistant or somebody who would have helped me for a small period of time throughout primary and secondary school, and that kind of had the opposite effect where it drew a lot of attention towards that what I was doing was slightly different from everybody else, which kind of in its own way made me pull back from the things and what was going on.

Donna Thomson (05:38):

Yeah. I think of that age, you don't want to be different. Sure, you don't.

Adam Spencer (05:39):

No.

Donna Thomson (05:40):

You want to fit in with everybody. You want to just blend into the background and not really stand out as being different at such a young age.

Adam Spencer (05:48):

I've never particularly felt different from having dyslexia. I know people who have got maybe more severe maybe learning difficulties and things like that, and it never felt as severe as that, the way that I had handled it. So then getting help in school was always something ... It didn't feel like it matched up to what I needed.

Donna Thomson (06:20):

Yeah, yeah. I mean being ignored is what is certainly a terrible thing to have to deal with really, isn't it?

Adam Spencer (06:25):

Yeah.

Donna Thomson (06:26):

Thinking back, your teachers and your school, they probably didn't know enough about dyslexia to know how to support you. Do you think that's fair?

Adam Spencer (06:33):

Yeah.

Donna Thomson (06:33):

Yeah, yeah.

Adam Spencer (06:34):

People do what they can. I think often the school of thought back then was taking your time explaining something to somebody a little bit slower and in more rudimentary terms would be the way to combat that learning gap. There was often a thing about being a visual or a practical learner and all that. But then actually in the modern way, I think we've seen as time goes on, at least for me in the workplace and with how I ended up dealing with the problem, which I'm sure we'll get onto, was actually there's plenty of technology that just helps you.

(07:13):

You can accept that there's a few points of which you're not quite as good as everybody else or not as fast as everybody else, but it doesn't have to affect your main standard of work if you use the right things.

Donna Thomson (07:26):

Yeah, yeah. So 20-odd years ago when we didn't have the sort of technology do you think, could you look back at your school? Are there other ways that you wish your teachers had supported you better or in other ways, thinking about your reading and your writing, maybe your organization skills as well?

Adam Spencer (07:43):

Yeah, yeah. Well, definitely from a point of view of learning how to organize and set things out properly is a skill that once you learn it and you know how to organize yourself and to get everything in a row, all of those tasks become so much easier. I mean I am an insistent note taker at work. People laugh. I have a page a day diary, and I often end up using the weekend pages during the week of my notes.

(08:13):

But at the same time, they might say, "Oh, what did we talk about here?" And I always have a record of that. I can flick back through the diary. Maybe they can recall it. I have no chance of recalling it. But it doesn't change the fact that I have the information there. But to the question of school specifically, I think the hardest thing for me was I was lucky enough that my parents took me to a private tutor who helped me with phonetic spelling.

(08:39):

We had a phonetic dictionary, which was so useful to me. I remember one of my biggest things in school was they would say, "Okay, Adam, you don't know how to spell that. That's fine. Look it up in a dictionary." I'd go, "But I don't know what letter it starts with." Or if I knew the first letter, I probably don't know the second or the third. To my brain, I need to be able to spell it to look it up in a dictionary. So these phonetic dictionaries and things were super helpful.

(09:08):

My main issue was when I got to school, the teachers weren't trained in the same thing. So they would go, "Adam, why are you making all those silly noises? Can you spell it properly, please?"

Donna Thomson (09:19):

Terrible. It definitely sounds like you were left to find your own coping mechanisms from a very young age, which must have felt very unfair when you look back. That said, you were inspired to go to university and you find a path to take you there. Can you tell us a little bit about that journey to university?

Adam Spencer (09:39):

Yeah. I think towards the end of traditional schooling had enough. I'd found that I could do things well outside of school, and that made it very hard for me to want to concentrate inside of school. So I ended up leaving secondary school a little bit earlier than I was. It was a discussion with teachers and thinking, "Yeah, this probably isn't the right environment for you to learn in."

(10:10):

I went to college, that I tried my best there. But it was a lot of free rein and a lot of things to distract me, which at that period in my life was a fairly difficult thing. But I did end up semi-negotiating my way into university, met some really cool people. I just went and visited and went to speak to them, explained my situation, explained where I was with it, that I was maybe a few years from having the on-paper qualifications but didn't feel like academically I was that far behind and was lucky enough to meet a few teachers there.

(10:48):

I mean one of them, Sally Harrison specifically, was amazing, who really enabled me to go in there and take ownership of those parts of my life, not use dyslexia as an excuse, not use things as an excuse, get on top of it and really push myself. I mean she was one of the first people. I started on a less writing course and more radio-based course, so audio and a more practical kind of learning style.

(11:15):

I had a few humanities subjects with her and she was one of the first people who ever really sat down with me and said, "Adam, I do this every year and I very rarely get new concepts. I get new ways of looking at things in these essays, but it's the same essay every time, and it's often very similar essays that I get handed in. You're giving me new talking points that I haven't even considered myself in your essays, and that's amazing. You shouldn't let the fact that grammatically it takes you a little bit longer push you away from doing this kind of thing."

(11:55):

Just having somebody who had that faith, which my wife became that support for me in later life after university, just really pushed me and enabled me to go and try my best to do something.

Donna Thomson (12:09):

Yeah. It's lovely to hear other people's view of dyslexia then. Maybe for the first time, it was told to you in a positive way rather than all the sort of negative barriers and challenges that you'd experienced. Actually, there were a lot of positives to have dyslexia, too, and this teacher really helped you to see that, so gave you that motivation.

(12:30):

So I guess was it during your university years then that you received your formal diagnosis of dyslexia then?

Adam Spencer (12:37):

So yeah, that would have been the first time. I mean not that it was particularly something that, as a family, we waited around for. When I was a lot younger, I did a course with something called the DDAT at the time, and we did Toe by Toe books. We did kind of everything. It was very well-known that I was dyslexic. We'd just never gone to the degree. It seemed like a foregone conclusion. It wasn't something that we were really looking for confirmation.

(13:06):

But when I got to university, there was a slight mentality shift with meeting people who looked at it differently. Now, I'd seen dyslexia, and I'd seen people be successful with dyslexia. My grandfather, my father were very successful business people. I had the typical example as a kid that, "Richard Branson's dyslexic, don't you know?" And that kind of thing.

(13:31):

So I'd seen people do well in a very practical situation, and that was always the thing that I was given, but never really considered that I could do things away from more practical career bases. So when I was in university, people told me, "You can do these things." So I went for a formal diagnosis and the university through, I'm not sure what scheme it was, was able to give me a iMac to work on.

Donna Thomson (14:02):

Brilliant. That was probably the DSA, Disabled Students Alliance.

Adam Spencer (14:05):

That would have been it, yeah. Originally, they wanted to give me a laptop to take notes in class, which was something that I didn't need. For me, my biggest thing, I wanted a big screen because I did a lot of research, and I found having a Word document ... By the time I flicked from a Word document to a webpage and back, I'm losing the plot of what I'm doing. Being able to just have those two pages open at the same time on a screen changed everything about the way I'd [inaudible 00:14:35] and write essays.

Donna Thomson (14:36):

It helped you focus and concentrate because you could see it all and without flicking from one to the other. We were talking, Adam, before as well about how you were diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome at the same time. So I mean just for anybody who is listening and doesn't know what that is, I'll give a brief introduction. So irlensyndrome.org's definition start off by stating that it's not an optical problem. It's a problem with the brain's ability to process visual information.

(15:05):

Just to give a couple of stats, 14% of the population have Irlen Syndrome, and actually 46% of people with reading and learning difficulties like dyslexia have it, too. So it can affect people in different ways, such as light sensitivity, reading problems, headaches and migraines, attention and concentration problems, and then strain and fatigue.

(15:25):

I know I was talking about this earlier, but I met a lady earlier in the week, [inaudible 00:15:31], who wears pink-tinted glasses to help her see written information on the screen because she's got difficulty actually reading black and white backgrounds and colors together. So I'd just be interested to know how you experience Irlen Syndrome, what way it impacts you.

Adam Spencer (15:48):

Yeah. For me, the most prevalent thing would be the sensitivity to light. It was kind of one of those moments when a lot of things started to make sense. I found myself far more comfortable in sunglasses even in normal light. When I'm driving, I very much struggle with oncoming traffic at night, especially if they have the white lights. The orange don't bother me as much, but the white specifically.

(16:19):

There was always certain shops as a kid that I always hated going in and never really knew. Boots would be one of them. It's the stark white lights and the reflectiveness. When that came to a reading/writing [inaudible 00:16:34], it meant to me that the white page was always stood out a lot more than the black writing on top of that page, which I've heard people describe, especially reading as a dyslexic, with the letters jumping. I never really had that.

(16:50):

For me, it more felt like kind of a 3D type effect where the white had come out of the page, and the black was set all the way far back. I think, to a certain extent, as a kid, I learned to read the gaps between the words more than the letters themselves, which I think probably led to a lot of reading errors and me losing my space because I'm not following the lines. I'm following between it.

(17:18):

The glasses or a screen overlay or something like that is something that really, really helps dull down that brighter color and help my brain focus on the bit that I need.

Donna Thomson (17:32):

Brilliant. That's so interesting to hear how different conditions can affect people in so many different ways. I want to fast forward now, Adam, into the workplace and talk about how your dyslexia and even your Irlen Syndrome impacts on your everyday working day.

Adam Spencer (17:50):

Yeah. I mean if we talk about my industry career, I've had three major job opportunities that I've worked along that time. In each place, dyslexia was treated completely differently. I would say the first place that I worked ... Well, probably more from me, I've always had [inaudible 00:18:13]. They used to offer you extra time at school. My response to this was from my dad's response that he would say to me would be, "But they won't give me extra time in the workplace."

(18:24):

So I never accepted that extra time. Especially going in secondary school, I never really accepted any help because I never felt like I would get it in real life, and I wanted my grades to be an accurate reflection on my ability. There's no point in giving me extra time to get me up to a B or an A if then I walk into the workplace and I'm not able to hit that standard. That was always my attitude anyway.

(18:50):

So in my first job, it wasn't really talked about. It wasn't really known about. I would say the most stressful part of it would have been writing. My field is mainly advertising. I do content advertising, content marketing, so writing for social media, writing for websites. It's not major copy. It wouldn't be magazines or anything like that, but there's still room for errors.

(19:18):

I think people in that job place found it very frustrating that I would make the same error over and over again. I know there's often an attitude in the workplace that making an error once is fine, making it twice, that's when it becomes an issue because you haven't learned the first time. Well, unfortunately, I can write, style, 1,000 times, and I'll get the Y and the L the wrong way around. It doesn't mean I haven't concentrated. I cannot see it.

(19:48):

Tell me there's something wrong with that first word and I still can't see it. Luckily, technology has kind of come to my aid in later years. But at the start of my career, there wasn't necessarily tools that I had. So that was a point of frustration. My next job, there were no allowances made for dyslexia. I'd probably say it was a fairly bad place to work as far as that. Very great place to work for lots of other things. It wouldn't be a criticism.

(20:19):

It probably wasn't something that I made them aware of as much as I should have done. So it wouldn't be a criticism of that place particularly. But the whole way that it was handled was fairly poor. There was way too much attention paid to small mistakes that really wasn't much of an issue. The main bulk of the work was what was the themes in the copy, how it was going, and I was fine.

(20:45):

But my current job now, so I work in Northern Ireland for a company called Classic Marble. My current job now are just incredible and have really enabled me and pushed my writing to the next phase. My boss understands dyslexia fully. He understands that missing a full stop or getting a few letters the wrong way around isn't me not trying. [inaudible 00:21:14]. He knows when to give me an edit and when to give me a note and go, "This isn't right. I don't like the way this sounds," or point me in the right direction with that.

(21:31):

But then maybe when it comes to a typical dyslexic grammar mistake, he just fixes it himself. He points them out, which is something that I've asked him to do. I'm like, "I still need to know that you fixed it because I don't want to grow complacent." But he will just do that. That really enables me because I mean everybody has that feeling, I'm sure, dyslexic or non, once in their life when they're asked to spell something on the blackboard in school and they don't know how.

(22:00):

But as a dyslexic person, as you can imagine, I've had thousands of those experiences, and they continually come up. It's incredibly embarrassing, and it makes you kind of shrink away. But with technology and the right team of people around, you really don't have to in the modern day. It's very liberating and freeing. Hopefully, we'll see that that allows more people with learning difficulties to go into fields and industries that they've never been in before.

(22:31):

I truly think that we can bring a different angle and a different way of thinking to those industries and really have an effect on them. We've just got to have the right people to deal with the places that we're not so great.

Donna Thomson (22:44):

Yeah, I think you're right there, Adam. Even in your own career, you're only in your 30s, as you mentioned earlier, and you've seen in your career so far, the jobs that you've had and the attitudes towards dyslexia has changed. Even your own mindset, you weren't expecting to get any support in the workplace. You were just expecting to get on with it and do it your own way with your own coping mechanism.

(23:04):

So it's great to know that your boss now does have an understanding of dyslexia, and that makes your job that little bit easier. What I want to explore, if you don't mind, is some of the tools then maybe that you use in the workplace just to support the way that you work. Okay, cool.

Adam Spencer (23:22):

We've come on a long way. I mean I started out, we didn't even have phones in school. I had this little, it was a one screen LED thing, and you could type in spelling mistakes and it would try and get back to you. The thing was useless. It wasn't worth the time and money. Now I've come on to using a lot more tools actually on the computer. The great thing about them and the Texthelp stuff especially is because it just integrates in the background.

(23:54):

It's not out. It doesn't make a big show of itself. You can just have those tools. They quietly go on in the background, and they can help you with things. I use text to speech a lot. I find it really helpful. Sometimes I can find myself, I read back my copy and I can tell I've written it in a certain way because I didn't know how to spell a word, and so I've written around that word.

(24:23):

Whereas when I use text to speak, I feel like I make much more ... It's a much more accurate version of what I want to say. I definitely think that I write more in a talkative manner, which is good for some projects and not great for some. So it wouldn't be a tool that I would use for the initial copy every single time.

(24:44):

But then from a proofreading point of view, I read what I think I've written. I don't read what I've written. If I've written the wrong way, I can proofread that a lot of times. There's a lot of examples of words that I'll never get back. But having them read back to me, then all of a sudden you can twig, "Oh okay, I understand that's not the right word there," or that doesn't quite sound right or helps you with your grammar and stuff like that. So tools like that are massively helpful.

(25:16):

I do a lot of researching and browsing through the internet, and the screen mask feature is helpful, too, because it just allows me to just move around the internet and look at what I want and not worry about backgrounds. There's a text called Open Dyslexic, which you can have put onto certain browsers, which it's not a universal tool. It's not going to help you with everything, but where it can be applied, it's really helpful.

(25:47):

And then something like a screen mask or just simply inverting your phone sometimes to be able to see black where the white is is massively helpful, and it just helps with things of not losing your place, which can be frustrating when you're nipping between Word documents and you can't quite remember where you were. Yeah.

Donna Thomson (26:09):

Absolutely. It's funny you mentioned the screen mask and the speech tools that we have in Read&Write. I can definitely see how they would be beneficial. That screen mask is used by so many people because you can put whatever color of tint that suits you the best to help you read the information on the screen. So many people actually use the speech tools to help them proofread their work.

(26:29):

A lot of people listen to their work at a really fast rate, we find, because you can hear things at a faster speed than how we're talking now, this normal rate of speed. So it's really interesting, I think, to learn how people are using our tools.

Adam Spencer (26:43):

It's not just me as the dyslexic person in the office who would use these kind of things. I get comments from people. They'll come past because I edit a lot of videos, I have big headphones on most of the time, but they'll see the kind of things that I'm doing and I know it would be useful for them. I think that's one thing that I think everyone can take away. There's a lot of coping mechanisms that are essential for people with learning difficulties, which is still hugely beneficial for people without.

Donna Thomson (27:12):

Absolutely. You've hit the nail on the head there because, in today's world, we all want to work so fast, don't we, at such a fast rate. Even if you don't have dyslexia, you can still make a spelling mistake, and you can still miss it in your own writing. So having those proofreading tools really helps support everybody with what we're doing, to work a bit more efficiently and more accurately going forward.

Adam Spencer (27:31):

Yeah. I mean I've written with a lot of writers. The writers that can write freely without restriction and get 100% correct copy at the same time are incredibly rare, learning difficulty, no learning difficulty, [inaudible 00:27:47]. I think I probably know one or two that I've met in the entire time. Everybody else needs some form of edit or some form of help.

Donna Thomson (27:58):

Absolutely. Yeah. I don't know anybody who can write a piece and go, "Yep, boom," one go and it's done. We'll publish that. That's perfect. There's a lot of editing that goes on.

(28:08):

So Adam, I want to talk a little bit about dyslexic thinking. So we often hear about the power of dyslexic thinking, and I do get the impression that you view your dyslexia now as a strength. So I'd like to maybe explore some of the advantages that you experience that your dyslexia brings.

Adam Spencer (28:25):

Yeah. I had a really nice example when I was in university that really helped me. Basically, this guy told me that most people are able to jump from A to B really easily. For somebody who's dyslexic, that jump is much more difficult. The example he gave me, which I thought was great because I could really relate to it, is he would say to me, "Okay, so if I ask you what the third day of the week is ..." Now, I mean it's a very simple example.

(28:54):

But people who without dyslexia might instantly be able to say Wednesday. They instantly know that that's the third day. Whereas, someone with dyslexia would go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to get to that. We got to the same place. Might have taken me a little bit longer, an extra step, but we got to the same place.

(29:12):

Now, if you expand that out to broader concepts, I often found in work that I would get to somewhere a little bit slower than everybody else, but the way that I got there was not necessarily a better route, but it was a broader route, and it gave me a much wider understanding of the subject so I could come in from angles that other people hadn't thought about.

(29:39):

That's really, I think, where I've noticed the difference is that maybe it takes me a little bit longer to get there, but the steps that I've taken are more and it gives me just a more complete view and, like I say, allows me to come in slightly different.

Donna Thomson (29:55):

Yeah. So you have this talent for visualizing, maybe a process or a way of doing things that your colleagues maybe can't see, so that adds great value to your projects and the things that you're doing then. It just brings that other sort of out-of-the-box thinking to the way that you're doing things.

Adam Spencer (30:09):

I find in the right environment, a creative meeting, a bunch of people sat around a table hashing something out, I find that the rate in which that I can have quite complete ideas is usually more than other people. I can come through those. As a team, we're great in my new workplace because we will take some of those ideas. We will apply some more slower critical thinking from some other people within the office and, between us all, we'll get to where we want it to go.

Donna Thomson (30:41):

That sounds nice because you know what? If we were all the same and we were all on the one team, we would never achieve all the things that we were able to achieve. We need that different thinking and different approaches to the way we do things.

Adam Spencer (30:51):

Exactly.

Donna Thomson (30:51):

Absolutely. So I'm interested to know if you can remember when you first discovered that you've got this powerful creative thinking skills that were different to maybe other peers?

Adam Spencer (31:02):

Oh gosh. I think the concept of it, the idea was imparted on me from being quite young. It's quite a long one, so I won't bore you with it in this podcast. But there was a legendary story amongst my family of my grandfather and essentially how he was able to do critical thinking better and how that made him successful in his business. This was a family fable for us growing up.

(31:39):

It was used as a little bit of a battle cry to us dyslexic people within the family of this shows you why what you've got, if you use it properly, can be something that's super beneficial to you in your life.

Donna Thomson (31:56):

That's lovely, isn't it? That's a really positive mindset that your parents were able to instill on you that yes, okay, you might have dyslexia. You might think about things in a different way. But actually, if you use it to your strength, you can achieve a lot.

(32:08):

So I have one last question for you, Adam, and it's really about advice. So thinking about how you've navigated the various barriers and challenges that you faced throughout your school and even throughout your work and you found this great success as the content creator that you are now, have you any advice to our listeners who are maybe diagnosed with dyslexia or maybe don't have that diagnosis but they suspect that they have some of the symptoms? What would you say?

Adam Spencer (32:38):

I mean I would definitely say just chase and lean into what you're good at. Nobody is good at everything. Yes, okay, you might have gotten a diagnosis or there might be a diagnosis in the future that you feel limits your options. To a certain extent, there will be certain things that you can't. But there is so many ways of dealing with these things and I think accepting where you have a downfall, finding something that helps deal with those problems is the most positive thing that you can do about it.

(33:22):

Look to the people that we have out there who have dyslexia or other issues who have been incredibly successful in their life, and all of them are unapologetic for it. Nobody stands there and apologizes for spelling something wrong when they just came up with the greatest idea that company has ever seen.

Donna Thomson (33:45):

Absolutely. I think that's really great advice to end on there, lean in and be brave. Well, thank you, Adam. I can't believe it's over already. I really want to thank you for joining us today and really sharing your experiences with dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome as well with us. It is definitely clear from talking to you that you were pretty determined from a young age and that you wouldn't be pigeonholed and told that you can't do something.

(34:09):

The very fact that you've built a very successful career around writing content speaks volumes to that determination and your positive mindset. You've already mentioned Richard Branson. I do have a little quote that I want to throw in here. You might not like it, but I'm going to throw it in anyway. So Sir Richard Branson did once say, "If anyone ever puts you down for having dyslexia, don't believe them. Being dyslexic can actually be a big advantage, and it has certainly helped me." So I think that is quite a positive quote to end this with.

Adam Spencer (34:37):

I like that. I like that.

Donna Thomson (34:39):

Good. I'm glad. I'm glad. But listen, before we do finish up, actually, I did promise to leave you with one thing to know, one thing to do, and one thing to think about. So here we go. One thing to know, so studies have proven that dyslexia is hereditary. A child has a 50% chance of having dyslexia if one parent has it and a 100% chance if both parents have it. So that's quite interesting. We'll share those stats with you in the show notes.

(35:03):

One thing to do, if you have dyslexia, add dyslexic thinking as a skill to your LinkedIn profile. According to recent research from Made By Dyslexia, who campaigned to add this skill to LinkedIn, the top 10 skills needed in the workplace are dyslexic thinking skills. So be proud of your dyslexic skills and use them to your advantage.

(35:25):

And then one thing to think about, so four out of five dyslexics say that knowing they were dyslexic helped them to develop the perseverance to succeed. Technology is a game changer. It helps to remove barriers to reading, writing, organizational skills, and really helps the dyslexic mind to flourish. So look, to find out more about how our inclusive tools can support your students or your staff, you can visit our website at texthelp.com.

(35:51):

But look, that is us for today, folks, and it is also the end of our season on dyslexia. So I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have and we've helped you to see the great benefits and talents that dyslexic thinking brings. Our next season takes a deep dive into UDL. That's Universal Design for Learning. My very lovely colleague and UDL expert, Johnny Degner, will lead the conversation.

(36:15):

So look, don't miss out on an episode. Subscribe to Texthelp Talks through your preferred podcast player or streaming service. But thanks again, Adam, and thank you all for listening. Have a great day. it's bye for now.

Adam Spencer (36:27):

Thank you. I'm going to be adding dyslexic thinking to my CV right away. That's a great idea.

Donna Thomson (36:31):

Oh, brilliant. I'm so glad to hear that. Thank you, Adam.

Adam Spencer (36:35):

Okay, thanks.