In honour of Jessica Kingsley Publisher’s upcoming book ‘The Bigger Book of Amazing Dyslexics’, we spoke to authors Kathy Forsyth and Kate Power about the incredible work that dyslexic people do across all the creative industries!
Welcome to the colourful world of dyslexia.
Looking to inspire our teenage dyslexics through secondary school and college, we spent three years interviewing amazing dyslexics about the jobs they do. It was an incredible and inspiring experience to meet over fifty happy and successful amazing dyslexics working in a wide range of jobs – from a top London surgeon to a Royal ballet choreographer, and a few famous faces too… The project resulted in a design-led book showing the amazing dyslexics pictured in their working environments alongside their interviews. The wonderful fashion designer Paul Smith supported the project and wrote the foreword to ‘The Bigger Picture Book of Amazing Dyslexics and The Jobs They Do’.
“It was an incredible and inspiring experience to meet over fifty happy and successful amazing dyslexics working in a wide range of jobs – from a top London surgeon to a Royal ballet choreographer, and a few famous faces too…”
The thing that all these amazing dyslexics share is that they have found careers they love, they have explored subjects and pursuits that they are passionate about, and carved out niche careers for themselves, careers from football to writing for a living. The key is to identify what you are good at and enjoy, to find projects that energise you rather than drain you. Once you know what you’re amazing at, look at what you may struggle with, and find people to work with that can do what you can’t, and vice versa… collaboration is a dyslexic’s best friend!
“The thing that all these amazing dyslexics share is that they have found careers they love, they have explored subjects and pursuits that they are passionate about, and carved out niche careers for themselves”
We talked to our amazing dyslexics about their top tips, what gets them in a pickle and what makes them burst with pride. As a dyslexic is important to know your challenges and build your toolbox of coping strategies and technologies available that make life easier. It’s the ideas that are important, leave ‘spellcheck’ to check the spelling! Our first book ‘The Illustrated Guide to Dyslexia and Its Amazing People’ is an easy way to understand how dyslexia affects you, which provides some useful top tips.
“leave ‘spellcheck’ to check the spelling!”
At school, we only study around fifteen subjects, but there are thousands of jobs available using more than these topics. At school, you’re not tested on key skills like empathy or collaborating which are so valuable in the world of work. In this new digital age, new jobs emerge all the time, your perfect job may not have been created yet. Recent research commissioned shows that the things that many dyslexics are good at are needed for the future job market. There’s never been a better time to be dyslexic!
It’s time to change the negative perception of dyslexia and to embrace the skill set and divergent thinking of dyslexics. “Your time has come,” says educational psychologist Katherine Sharkey.
Dyslexia is a different way of learning and thinking and affects everybody differently, it can be mild or severe. About 1 in 10 people are dyslexic, and it’s commonplace in the creative industries where thinking differently is embraced. Sebastian Conran, son of design guru Sir Terrance Conran noted: “In the design industry it’s actually a stigma if you’re not dyslexic.” Lots of entrepreneurs are proudly dyslexic too.
“Dyslexia is a different way of learning and thinking and affects everybody differently”
We also interviewed experts in the field of dyslexia, like Professor John Stein FMedSci. Professor & Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford who has said he “wouldn’t want to cure dyslexia; it comes with too many good things.”
Dyslexic strengths are more recognised with companies looking for big picture thinkers. Matt Boyd runs Exceptional Individuals, an employment agency for dyslexics (and other neurodivergent thinkers), it provides support and educates employers about how great minds think different.
Marketing Director at Direct Line Mark Evans believes that “dyslexia is the next big thing in the talent conversation.”
Read more in ‘The Bigger Picture Book of Amazing Dyslexics and The Jobs They Do’ publication date May 2020. You can pre-order your copy here.