One of the first stock images that you will find for dyslexia is a man tied to a huge metal ball with his condition written on it. Another image shows a child holding a sign that reads "help". These images are representative of developmental dyslexia's image in society. However, there are many positive aspects to the condition that have been largely overlooked - and we all, dyslexic or otherwise, may owe them an immense debt.
Frontiers in Psychology reports that developmental dyslexia, as defined by the World Federation of Neurology, is "a disorder in which children fail to acquire the language skills of reading and writing commensurately with their intellectual abilities."
However, this view has been challenged by psychologists for forty years. While there is no doubt that developmental dyslexia can make some things more difficult, Norman Geshwind, a Neurologist, compiled evidence in the 80s proving that people with developmental dyslexia rank high on skills that are beneficial to art, architecture, and engineering.
Perhaps it's time to reconsider dyslexia in an age when Greta Thunberg refers to autism as her "superpower". Dr Helen Taylor of Cambridge University and Dr Martin Vestergaard from Cambridge University suggest that developmental dyslexia may be common because it has advantages over our ancestors. Taylor stated in a statement that the deficit-centred view on dyslexia doesn't tell the whole story.
Vestergaard and Taylor believe that developmental dyslexia is only a secondary effect to reading. They call it a cognitive search strategy, in which exploration and not efficient exploitation are the preferred strategies.
Every tribe had to have an explorer. This is why the connection between developmental dyslexia (also known as explorative search strategies) and developmental dyslexia was so important. Complementary Cognition theory states that a large number of people might not be able to use familiar food sources. However, the chances of others improving their prospects are higher if there are a few people who are dyslexic.
Also, during times of climate instability and change, neurobiological diversity was the true superpower of humanity.
This is not a historical fact. The heritability rate for developmental dyslexia is at least 60%. Taylor stated that finding the right balance between exploiting new opportunities and preserving the benefits of one particular choice is crucial to survival and adaptation. This decision underpins many decisions we make every day.
Some traits that were useful in the paleolithic served us well today. It has been a game-changer that reading, a technology that can cause problems for people who use specialized search strategies, recently became the dominant technology in the world. However, Vestergaard and Taylor believe that developmental dyslexia would have a greater place in society if institutions were more flexible.
"Schools, universities, and workplaces are not built to take advantage of explorative learning. Taylor stated that we must urgently foster this way of thinking in order to enable humanity to adapt to key challenges and continue solving them.
It is striking that dyslexia is more common than other forms neurodiversity, whose value has been questioned recently. A range of 5 to 20 percent of the population is affected by dyslexia. This is higher than ADHD or autism, and despite increasing rates of diagnosis.