“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference” Sir Winston Churchill

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My Story

Until  I was 9 Years old I was failing miserably at school. Back in the late 60’s and early  ’70’s rote learning was all the rage with huge emphasis on spelling punctuation, grammar, and my personal worst…times tables.  All this was drilled into us and tested almost daily, and unless we could pass (and I rarely could) we were in the bottom sets.

My favourite subject was biology, I loved animals and was fascinated by everything about them, I spent all my spare time caring for my pets or looking for newts and tadpoles, all of which I’d proudly take into school for ‘show and tell’. In fact I dreamed of being a vet when I grew up.  But my biology teacher was a stickler for spelling punctuating and grammar and however imaginative and accurate my ideas, my work was always covered in ‘red pen errors’ and marked down.  Sadly my biology teacher was also my maths teacher and maths being my absolute worst subject, rewarded me with weekly public humiliations in mental maths and times tables tests. The obvious conclusion to all of the above for both my teacher and myself was that I wasn’t very clever, and certainly not clever enough to be a vet! At 9 years old I was failing at everything.

Eventually the head teacher called my parents in for a meeting and told them that although I was “a lovely kind girl who tried very had, I just wasn’t very bright, I would certainly fail my upcoming entrance exams, and struggle to get any qualifications” In summary my parents were told them they should think of alternative education for me.

My school hadn’t picked up my dyslexia but my older brother’s dyslexia had been identified and he was going to Millfield School, a school school recognised for its support for dyslexia, so I was sent for an interview at Millfield.

The Headmaster ushered me into his office and with a kind expression he asked me to tell him about myself.  So I dutifully repeated what my headmistress had said about me, that I wasn’t very clever and wouldn’t be able to pass any exams.  He laughed as said ‘Oh we’re not bothered about exams, we can help you to pass those, but exams don’t mean you’re clever they just mean you are good at passing exams…we’re interested in finding what you’re really good at, and what do you love to do?”  I spent then next hour telling him all about the things I loved to do and at the end of that time, he offered me a place at the school and I stated straight away.

I remember that day so vividly as it changed my life and is one of the main reasons I do what I do now. That day made me realise just how important attitude and focussing on strengths really is.

Dyslexic Strengths

The teachers positive attitude to dyslexia and their focus on strengths meant that in just a few weeks I went from feeling like a failure to realising that I actually had potential, that tests were not the be all and end all, and that I was smart, just in different ways.  Eventually my dyslexia was picked up and I was given the help I needed.  From there on in I loved school.

Although Jamie Oliver wasn’t as lucky to have a school that focussed on his strengths, as he says in the clip below, “There are different types of intelligence and everyone has the ability to be brilliant”.

Levelling the playing field

I appreciate how very lucky I am to have had the education I’ve have had and it’s what drives me and the mission behind Made By Dyslexia. We want to help every dyslexic understand their potential and get support.  We’ve known since the 1930’s, when Millfield was set up, how to identify and support dyslexia, and that with dyslexia comes this pattern of strengths. But still today most dyslexic kids are misunderstood and largely unsupported.

We also know that the current focus on exams, on spelling punctuation grammar and rote learning is seriously disadvantageous for dyslexics and won’t create the kinds of minds the future needs…as a charity we are campaigning hard for change.

Last week we held a Dyslexia Showcase at Millfield School, with some inspiring discussions with expert educators, successful dyslexics and students discussing all these points. It’s well worth a watch so click on image below to view.

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Free Dyslexia Awareness Training

The first step to unlocking dyslexic potential is understanding it.  We the help of the expert teachers at Millfield and the Schenck School in Atlanta we’ve created this free Dyslexia Awareness film based course with Microsoft. Be sure to check it out by clicking the image below.

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Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

So for every dyslexic kid, their parents and their teachers who are going though the stresses of end of year tests and exams, please keep focused on your Dyslexic Strengths, whatever they may be, as they really will take you far in life.  Remember these wise words from famous inventor Henry Ford, Made By Dyslexia …because attitude really is everything.

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Please share and help us spread the word.

Thank you!

Kate

 

An amazing Dyslexia Showcase in Atlanta!

Wow! What a night.  We couldn’t have wished for a better way to launch our Dyslexia Showcases in partnership with Microsoft.  We had a packed room at The Schenck School in Atlanta, Georgia full of educators, school administrators, dyslexia advocates, parents and many successful dyslexics.

A panel of Dyslexia expert teachers from Schenck School and Atlanta Elementary schools Morningside and Thomasville/Purposebuilt, all shared their views on how we enable ALL dyslexic children to succeed.  There was such a sense of positive energy and movement for change…and it was all broadcast on Facebook live so please check it out here

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The showcase was hosted by the wonderful Robyn Curnow, News Anchor at CNN who spoke openly for the first time about her dyslexia.  We have an interview with her coming up soon!

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Beth Watson and Mike Tholfsen from MicrosoftEdu spoke and presented at the event, explaining their partnership with us, and the work they’re doing to provide free support for educators and dyslexics.

The overriding take-away from the event was how really important it is for teachers and parents to understand dyslexia properly and get the right support.  And that’s exactly why we’re working with expert educators across the world, and in partnership with Microsoft to create FREE online Dyslexia Training for teachers, and parents.  In January we launched our first 5 Dyslexia Awareness Modules and already 75,000+ teachers have done training! We have more modules coming up later this year and next.

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A panel of successful dyslexics from Atlanta (Mike Altman, Richard Courts IV and Dr James Calleroz White) all joined Robyn to share their fascinating stories and very humorous insight!  They discussed the EY Value of Dyslexia report and all of the panel agreed that they focus on their dyslexic strengths meaning that dyslexia has definitely helped them to succeed.

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We are so excited for the next Dyslexia Showcase which will be held at Millfield School in UK on 6th of June.  We’ll be rolling our Dyslexia Showcases out around the world…so if you’re a school that excels in supporting dyslexic students and would like to partner with us on an event…we’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime if you haven’t taken our awareness training click on the image below!

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Thanks!

Kate

Launching “Dyslexia Showcases” Made By Dyslexia!

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We’re super excited to announce that we’ll be heading to Atlanta to our friends at the Schenck School where we’re holding the first in our series of Dyslexia Showcases in partnership with Microsoft.

The Dyslexia Showcase events are designed to help teachers, educators and parents to get a better understanding of dyslexia,  the value of dyslexic thinking skills, and how to enable dyslexic students.

You can join us too, we’re broadcasting the showcase on Facebook Live so hop over to our Facebook page on 25th April at 6pm EDT and join in. You can sign up here to  Watch the Dyslexia Showcase on Facebook LIVE  and if the US time zone makes it too late or early for you to join live, the stream will be on Facebook and YouTube to watch after the event.

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We’ll be showcasing the new Dyslexia Awareness Training we’ve just released, and the evening will be full of practical insights that will help you understand and support dyslexic students.

  • Hosted by CNN International News Anchor Robyn Curnow.
  • Inspirational discussions and presentations from Made By Dyslexia, Microsoft, and Schenck School teachers.
  • Discuss the recent EY Value of Dyslexia report, and the importance of dyslexic thinking skills for the future
  • Personal insights and stories from successful dyslexics and dyslexia experts.
  • Video contributions from Sir Richard Branson and other celebrity ambassadors.
  • Exclusive previews of new free online Dyslexia Awareness Training modules.
  • Presentation by Microsoft on their Learning Tools.

The evening will bring together public officials, educators, teachers, parents, and advocates.

Our goal is for everyone to leave with an understanding of the value of dyslexia and how to support dyslexic learners.

We hope you will join us and help us spread the word.

Thank you!

Kate

Dyslexia – Spelling It Out

Welcome to my new blog!

Every month (and sometimes in between) I will be sharing our news and views and Spelling Out all things Made By Dyslexia. I hope you’ll follow along and spread the word to help everyone, everywhere understand the #ValueOfDyslexia.

NEW Dyslexia Awareness Training in partnership with Microsoft.

At our Global Summit back in October Satya Nadella announced our partnership with Microsoft highlighting ourmission to empower every dyslexic to reach their potential.

This month we’re so excited to tell you about first  NEW Teacher and Parents Dyslexia Awareness Training that we’ve created with Microsoft.  The training includes our NEW inspirational Dyslexia Awareness Films and anyone anywhere around the world can access it for free.  

Dyslexia expert teachers from two world-leading schools are sharing their wisdom and expertise alongside successful dyslexic celebrities who are contributing their insights and inspiring stories.  Click on image below for link to new course.

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The course only takes about an hour and will provide essential insights into dyslexia, which we believe all educators and parents should have so we would love your help to share this far and wide.  Please recommend it to your schools, your friends, to parents.  Share this blog and social media posts to help spread it far and wide.

Spelling It Out – why this is SO important

Research Challenges

Dyslexia is the most common learning difference affecting between 10 – 20% kids…so a sizeable cohort in every class.  Yet most teachers simply aren’t trained in how to spot it, or support it.  We have to change that! 

With school budgets and time so stretched, dyslexia often slips down the list of priorities when actually even small changes can make such a huge difference. AND what’s good for dyslexic kids is good for all students! 

Understanding the Value of Dyslexia

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We know that dyslexics have a different way of processing information which means they often struggle with more traditional education and testing. But our report with EY Value of Dyslexia found these thinking skills are the very skills that are needed in the 21st Century.  

So it’s really important we help everyone understand the #ValueOfDyslexia and support Dyslexic Thinking.

These films and training will help to do that! Watch these kids talking about their Dyslexic Strengths.

Keep and eye out for 5 new modules coming later this year, and more in-depth training due next year.  

Thank you!

Kate Griggs.

Founder, CEO Made By Dyslexia

Dyslexic Thinking Skills Explained

“It’s time we all understand dyslexia properly as a different way of thinking, not a disadvantage”. Sir Richard Branson 

With so much focus at this time of year on exam results, it’s an ideal time to write about Dyslexic Thinking Skills. Because whether you get the grades you want or not, the key to success in life is to recognise and nurture your Dyslexic Thinking.

Finding your passions; things you love to do and are naturally good at, and then working really hard to become great at them is a winning formula in whatever endeavour you choose. This is SO important for dyslexics; a passionate and determined bunch who often become ‘experts’ and ‘pioneers’ at what they do. It’s a formula that all of these amazing dyslexic thinkers use…and just look what they’ve achieved! 

Round Pegs in Square Holes

Dyslexic minds process information in divergent, creative and lateral ways, and have created some of the world’s greatest inventions, brands and art. But education systems aren’t designed for dyslexic thinking and typically measure success by how accurately students regurgitate facts in an exam or test. Most dyslexics find this difficult, and stifling to their imaginative and creative thinking.  In our recent interview with Richard Branson he said “If you’re not good at conventional education you are made to feel stupid”. 

That’s why many dyslexics only begin to flourish after school, when they’re no longer forced to fit into the confines of education and can truly tap into their dyslexic thinking and apply it to their endeavours. Like Richard Branson who you will recognise in many of the Skills listed below.

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4 out of 5 dyslexic people attribute their success to their dyslexic thinking. There are a large percentage of dyslexics in fields like Entrepreneurship,  Engineering, Creative and Tech industries, and in organisations like the British Intelligence agency (GCHQ) actively recruit dyslexics for their Reasoning skills.  

Now Neuroscience is giving extraordinary insight into the physical differences in dyslexic brains that lead to these enhanced thinking skills. 9 out of 10 dyslexics describe their thinking as “seeing past detail to gain a strategic (big picture) view of a subject/problem”. Dr. Manuel Casanova (University of Kentucky School of Medicine) has found that dyslexics have longer connections in certain parts of the brain, which explain this big-picture processing skill.

Surely, it’s time for education to catch up and find a better way of measuring our young people? We’re working on that! But in the meantime it’s super important we all recognise and nurture the talents in dyslexic people, young and old.

Dyslexic Thinking Skills Explained

There are 6 Dyslexic Thinking Skills areas.  These are broken into two areas: Specific Skills which relate to the career paths often preferential to dyslexic thinkers; and General Skills which relate to most sorts of education, activities and careers. 

Whilst no two dyslexics are the same, all will have a combination of some of these skills.

SPECIFIC SKILLS

VISUALISING: Interacting with space, senses, physical ideas & new concepts. (75% of dyslexics are above average at Visualising).  

  • Moving: physical interpretation & game playing. Examples: Dancer, Musician, Sports player.
  • Making: visualising, planning & making. Examples: Engineer, Architect, Craft worker, Programmer, Designer, Chef, Gardener.
  • Inventing: exploring possibilities, making connections & inventing. Examples: Scientist, Technologist, Entrepreneur.

IMAGINING: Creating an original piece of work, or giving ideas a new spin (84% of dyslexics are above average at Imagining).                   

  • Creating: creating completely original work from your imagination. Examples: Designers, Artists, Composers, Writers.
  • Interpreting: using imagination to give ideas a new twist, or bring out a fresh angle. Examples: Actor, Advertiser, PR, Director, Photographer. 

COMMUNICATING: Crafting & conveying clear & engaging messages. (71% of dyslexics are above average at Communicating).                                         

  • Explaining: assessing situations/information, & explaining clearly to other people. Examples: Journalist, Marketeer, Politician, Teacher, Campaigner.
  • Story-telling: creating vivid & engaging experiences in words, pictures or other media. Examples: Author, Writer, Games Developer, Song Writer, Film Maker.

GENERAL SKILLS

REASONING: Understanding patterns, evaluating possibilities & making decisions.  (84% of dyslexics are above average in Reasoning).                                  

  • Simplifying: understanding, taking apart & simplifying complex ideas & concepts.
  • Analysing: using logic to decide on strength of an argument or where the truth lies.
  • Deciding: interpreting patterns & situations to predict future events & make decisions.           
  • Visioning: seeing past detail to gain a strategic (big picture) view of a subject or problem.

CONNECTING: Understanding self; connecting, empathising & influencing others. (80% of dyslexics are above average at Connecting).                                                                        

  • Understanding self: recognising & managing own feelings, & understanding how they affect own behaviour and that of others.
  • Understanding others: understanding & interpreting the verbal, physical & emotional reactions of other people.
  • Influencing: managing, influencing & inspiring constructive emotions in other people. Empathising: sensing, understanding & responding (emotionally and/or practically) to how people feel. 

EXPLORING: being curious & exploring ideas in a constant & energetic way. (84% of dyslexics are above average at Exploring).           

  • Learning: having a curiosity for finding out new things and learning new skills.       
  • Digging: looking into things in a way that means most is learnt or discovered.  
  • Energising: being so passionate about something it gives a buzz and tenacity to learn about it.
  • Doing: using new knowledge to achieve a result that surprises & pleases self or others 

To take our Dyslexic Thinking Skills test go to madebydyslexia.org

“You can be good at something very simple that you enjoy, and turn it into your life’s work that makes you want to get out of bed with a spark in your eye“.  Jamie Oliver 

Here’s an example of how Jamie Oliver used his dyslexic thinking of Creating, Explaining, Connecting and Energising, to help him succeed.

 

You can keep up to date with all our news and activity on social media. Facebook Twitter Instagram

Thank you!

Kate Griggs

Made By Dyslexia Launch Event

What an amazing first week we’ve had at MBD HQ!

Our feet literally haven’t touched the ground.  Thanks so much to everyone who’s followed, RT’d, shared, commented and connected. We’re excited to have you with us on the journey and please remember to keep spreading the word!

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At the launch we shared Made by Dyslexia’s global goals.  Our initial focus is about CHANGING PERCEPTIONS…making sure dyslexia is properly understood as a different way of thinking, not a disadvantage.

Some of the greatest inventions, art and brands of the modern world have been made by dyslexia.  We believe that if the world truly understands the value of dyslexic thinking and the amazing talents dyslexia brings, then we can start to drive opinion and behavioural change so dyslexics are empowered and open about their way of thinking.  We want schools, parents, teachers and governments to look for and recognise dyslexia rather than hiding, ignoring or misunderstanding it.  Dyslexia brings with it creativity, innovation and empathy that is so important to our ever changing world.

We’ve been genuinely moved by your appetite and passion for our campaign message.

The Launch

We gathered in a secret location in Central London for an intimate, informal and inspirational chat with Richard Branson  and fellow Ambassador Roland Rudd and me.

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The audience included many of the great and good from the dyslexia world who came from far and wide including, Canada and the USA.  Australia were with us in spirit, sharing questions for Richard, Roland and I to answer.

The “Dyslexic Sperm Bank”

So why a “Dyslexic Sperm Bank”?  It was an edgy idea dreamt up by the creative minds (many dyslexic) at Y&R London.  It was a bold communications idea that Richard and his team loved, and so did we.  It certainly got people talking.  We’ve had incredible coverage by everyone from the Sunday Times and the BBC, to the Huffington Post.

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We arrived at the idea because about 18 months ago the London Sperm bank announced that you couldn’t donate sperm if you were dyslexic as it was considered to be a “neurological disease”…yes really!… providing an extreme example of how much we need to change perception. So we took that thought and created some social research by setting up a pop-up ‘Dyslexic Sperm Bank’ and filming the public’s reaction.  Watch the film here.

The Research

To support the launch and film we commissioned exclusive research by YouGov and Made By Dyslexia which highlighted the task at hand:

•   Only 3% of people think dyslexia is a positive trait

•   58% believe that someone with dyslexia will do worse at school; only 2% think they may do better

•   19% of people associate dyslexia with creativity whereas 84% of dyslexics say they are above average in creative skills

•   13% of people associate dyslexia with lateral thinking whereas 84% of dyslexics say they are above average in lateral thinking skills

•   12% of people associate dyslexia with good problem solving skills whereas 84% of dyslexics say they are above average at problem solving

•   9 out of 10 dyslexics say their dyslexia made them feel angry, stupid or embarrassed

Podcast of the Event

We’re excited to share a podcast of the launch talk between Richard, Roland and myself…we talk candidly about our experiences of dyslexia and our advice for dyslexics, their parents and teachers.  Hearing one of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs saying he spent his school years thinking he was “just plain thick”, was moving and enlightening.  Happy listening!  iTunes or Lybsyn

We’ll be back with another blog soon. You can keep up to date on twitter or Facebook or go to our website where you can read our launch report or take The Dyslexic Thinking Test.

Kate Griggs – Founder and CEO Made By Dyslexia

Welcome to Made By Dyslexia

Hello and welcome to our first blog!

Today is launch day and we’re all super excited to start to share our plans.

There is SO much to do but it all starts with audacious goals and passionate supporters.

Please help us spread the word by following and sharing.  And we’d love to hear your stories and thoughts so get in touch either on social media or email.

Our launch event is in London with Richard Branson.  He and I will be talking about his dyslexia and about our aims….we’re filming it all and will share this with you on social media over the coming days.

In the meantime check out the Connecting the Dots Report which tells you about us; what we know about dyslexia, and dyslexic thinking.  You can find it on our website www.madebydyslexia.org

You can also take the dyslexic thinking test here http://madebydyslexia.org.

We’ll have lots more in the coming days.

Let’s get going!

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