Different Is Good. Stay Different.
People with learning and attention issues think differently. But, the fact is, all of us learn differently from one another. As you may know, dyslexia is a different brain organization that needs different teaching methods. It’s important to teach our kids to be aware that their brain works differently—and to appreciate that.
Cerebrodiversity is the idea that no two brains are alike and we all learn differently. Gordon Sherman, PhD, coined the term to refer to our ‘neural heterogeneity’ and ‘brain variations.’ Sherman asserts that each of our brains is unique (much like our fingerprints) and that each of us processes information differently. The way that we process information can present advantages or disadvantages for each person. (Bridging the Chasm: Dyslexia Scholar Applies Research to Benefit Diverse Learners, August 18, 2015). For example, a person with dyslexia processes language differently, and therefore needs to learn to read in a different way, but that brain variation in people with dyslexia is also an advantage. People with dyslexia can have strengths in visual thinking and this ability to think in pictures allows them to be great problem solvers.
Dyslexic minds are amazing minds. The difference in the way the dyslexic mind processes brings with it an ability to think ‘outside the box’ and see the ‘big picture.’
Many successful and famous inventors, entrepreneurs, artists and writers have benefited from the gift of this mind that thinks differently—including Ann Bancroft, Nelson Rockefeller, Charles Schwab, Whoopie Goldberg, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, and Agatha Christie—just to name a few.
So, don’t think about how to change or fix our students. Instead help them realize that everyone has challenges and strengths and to appreciate their own. Their challenges exist in a ‘sea of strengths’ (Sally Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia). We want to help them recognize brain differences exist—no two minds are alike and we want them to recognize and appreciate their strengths. We celebrate the fact that we all learn differently. Different is good. Stay different.