Articles of Interest

“Talk Much?” by Morgan Baker 2018 Winter Contest winner — Special Edition

When our 2018 winter contest judge Kelli Agodon awarded 3rd Place to Morgan Baker’s personal essay “Talk Much?” she commented:

As someone who loves finding words inside of words and who has struggled with dyslexia, I thought “Talk Much?” was an intriguing look at what the world (or the words) look like through dyslexia. The author’s joy in her own misreading and mistakes made this an engaging read where I found myself looking forward to what she would share. This essay worked as a smart reminder how dyslexia has nothing to do with intellect, but also an authentic account of how uncomfortable it can feel to mispronounce words. The author’s thoughtfulness in how she practices students’ names to names to get them correct was both endearing and inspiring to me.

It takes courage to write about one’s disability. The result, however, is an invitation to readers to experience the world differently and to understand that experience.

Read the full article.

Marketing firm posts "only dyslexics need apply" job advert.

A marketing firm has released a job advertisement that stipulates applicants must be dyslexic as it wants employees who think differently.

The ad – which features a photograph of the Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who was dyslexic – says: “We require people with a unique mind, so only dyslexics (like Steve) should apply.”

It was released by the Garage, which aims to provide “innovative thinking” for businesses. The new marketing consultancy was founded by Chris Arnold, a former creative director at the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi who describes himself as a “dyslexic entrepreneur”.

Arnold said he does not care if the ad is seen as a discriminatory against non-dyslexics. “If you wanted to assemble the world’s best choir you’d want great singers, not tone-deaf ones. We are simply looking for the best innovative thinkers and they are usually dyslexics,” he said.

Arnold cited the example of another dyslexic businessman, Richard Branson, and also a number of historical figures who are believed to have been dyslexic, including Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the advert did not appear to go against its code. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has yet to comment.

The ad highlights a debate among experts about whether dyslexia, which affects up to 10% of the population, should be regarded as a disability. In December the Guardian revealed Britain’s largest sperm bank was turning away donors with dyslexia, which it described as a “common genetic disease”. It has since reviewed its policy after the intervention of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Earlier this week it emerged that Starbucks lost a disability discrimination case after it wrongly accused a dyslexic employee of falsifying documents when she had simply misread numbers she was responsible for recording.

Commenting on the Starbucks case, Arnold said: “Dyslexia isn’t a disability, it’s an inability in an linear environment, but a great ability in a creative one. Dyslexics are great at creativity, imagination, strategic thinking and problem solving.”

A spokesman for the ASA said: “There’s nothing in the advertising code that specifically prohibits a company from producing recruitment ads that seek dyslexic candidates only. The advertiser might be best advised to make sure it follows any equality and diversity laws.”

Richard Freedman, an employment lawyer at Rosenblatt Solicitors, said the ad may be controversial but is allowed under existing legislation.

“This advert ... seeks to favour those with a potential disability,” he said. “The Equality Act 2010 expressly states that treating someone with a disability more favourably than a person who is not disabled is not direct discrimination. On the other hand, many people in society are of the view that any kind of discrimination is wrong; so the concept of positive discrimination remains controversial with numerous arguments for and against such an approach.”

He added: “This advertisement may well be permissible legally under the Equality Act, but employers should remain vigilant to ensure their job adverts, or indeed the resulting recruitment processes applied thereafter, do not inadvertently disadvantage potential candidates who do or may possess a protected characteristic.”

The British Dyslexia Association said it was “against discrimination of any kind”. But a spokeswoman added: “We would encourage employers to be aware of the positive strengths and abilities that dyslexic individuals can bring.”



Decoding Dyslexia

Decoding Dyslexia is a network of parent-led grassroots movements across the country concerned with the limited access to educational interventions for dyslexia within the public education system. We aim to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children and inform policy-makers on best practices to identify, remediate and support students with dyslexia.

Eye to Eye National

We are the only national mentoring movement that pairs kids who have learning disabilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (LD / ADHD) with college and high school mentors who have been similarly labeled. Using our arts-based curriculum, mentors help their mentees understand their unique way of learning and thinking, building self-esteem and skills they need to become self-advocates.       



What Inspired by the neuroscientific discoveries presented in The Dyslexic Advantage, NoticeAbility’s curricula provide authentic inquiry experiences in vocational subject matters that capitalize on the neurological strengths of students with dyslexia: entrepreneurship, engineering, architecture and the arts.