For the Workplace
Do you know what Charles Schwab, Richard Branson, and William Hewlett have in common?
Of course they are all incredibly successful business people but did you know that they are also all dyslexic. Each one of them was able to harness the unique visual-spatial thinking style of dyslexia for their success and develop tools to overcome the barriers that they faced along the way.
Many did not even realize until very late in life that they were dyslexic.
As an employer, you most likely have at least one employee who faces the challenges of dyslexia but who also exhibits some unique strength.
Leveraging the expertise of Mind Over Dyslexia, your business can benefit by improving employee effectiveness and reducing turnover costs.
Perhaps the next great talent is hidden in your business today!
Mind Over Dyslexia can help by:
Providing Literature and Information Sessions About Dyslexia for Management and Employees
With increased education and awareness in the workplace, your business will be better able to manage the challenges and talents associated with dyslexia.
Defining Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace for Dyslexic Employees
As an employer you have a legal responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace for employees who have disclosed the fact that they are dyslexic.
Employee Coping Skills Coaching Sessions
Mind Over Dyslexia can work with employees who face some of the challenges of dyslexia such as time management, organizational and communication skills to develop coping skills for the workplace.
Individual Intensive Training
Mind Over Dyslexia provides one week intensive training sessions for individuals with dyslexia which can lead to positive changes in reading, writing, spelling and task focus. In addition to delivering a renewed sense of self esteem, the program lays a strong foundation for your employee to return to the workplace and continue to apply the tools and strategies for better productivity and life-long learning.
Please contact Mind Over Dyslexia today to discuss how we can help.
Did you know that it is estimated that 1 in 10 children face learning disabilities such as dyslexia in Canada today? Studies also suggest that approximately one-third of the school population are more visual-spatial thinkers.
Mind Over Dyslexia provides programs for school age children and teens, which harness their unique thought processes and learning style to overcome the barriers they face in school.
Mind Over Dyslexia provides consultation for individual students and information seminars for teachers, administrators, parents and the community to:
Please contact Mind Over Dyslexia today to discuss how we can help.
For students in your school who have completed one of our programs, through Mind Over Dyslexia, we will at no charge:
In Learning Hurdles, Lessons for Success
By ROB TURNER, NY Times
November 23, 2003
WHEN Charles Schwab speaks, people listen. That is a good thing, because Mr. Schwab, who has dyslexia - a learning disability that makes reading and writing difficult - prefers to communicate that way.
These days, it's not just financial strategies that Mr. Schwab, the chairman of the discount brokerage firm, is espousing. He and many other executives with learning disabilities are becoming increasingly outspoken about the challenges they have faced.
Many of these executives say that while their learning issues left them struggling in school, they developed some important managerial skills as they adapted.
The list of executives with learning disabilities like dyslexia or attention deficit disorder, according to their own public statements, includes John Chambers, chief executive of Cisco Systems; Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group; David Neeleman, chief executive of JetBlue Airways; Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group, the real estate firm; Craig O. McCaw, the telecom executive; and the late computer pioneer William Hewlett.
But even with the encouragement provided by such an impressive list, many executives who grew up with learning difficulties have begun to discuss the experience publicly only in the last couple of years. "It's painful to think about it," said Mr. Schwab, 66, who was one of the first top executives to go public with his story. "You don't like to go back and review the pain. I don't think 20 years ago I would have talked about this. But someone's got to do it, and I felt sufficiently secure that I could."
Mr. Schwab is now trying to increase public awareness of dyslexia and provide support for dyslexic children and their families. Last month, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation started a Web site called SparkTop.org to help children 8 to 12 who have dyslexia or other relatively common learning disabilities, like attention deficit disorder.
Mr. Schwab, who runs the foundation with his wife, said he did not realize his condition had a name until his son's dyslexia was diagnosed about 15 years ago. "It was a massive 'Ah, ha,' when I finally realized my problems were his," Mr. Schwab said. "They were all the same issues I had faced 30 years before."
Growing up just outside Sacramento, Mr. Schwab said he had known at a very young age that he was falling behind other children.
He was strong in math and athletics - he credits his golf game with helping him get into Stanford - but when it came to English, he had to fake it.
"The nasty little secret was that I couldn't read worth a darn," he said. "In my case, I still read very slowly to this moment."
But like many executives with dyslexia, Mr. Schwab said he had developed a different way of looking at things. "Along the way, I've frustrated some of my associates because I could see the end zone of a particular thing quicker than they could, so I was moving ahead to conclusions," he said. "I go straight from step A to Z, and say: 'This is the outcome. I can see it.' "
Dr. Sally E. Shaywitz, director of the Learning Disorders Unit at the Yale University School of Medicine and the author of "Overcoming Dyslexia" (Knopf), says Mr. Schwab's ability to see solutions that others cannot is typical of dyslexics.
"What distinguishes them is that they really think outside of the box," she said. Dyslexics, she said, often have a variety of qualities, including resilience, adaptability and the ability to formulate original insight.
Dr. Shaywitz estimates that one-fifth of the population has some form of learning disability, but she says she believes that the share is much higher among overachievers like top business executives. Many dyslexics have to work harder to find their strengths, she said, and they often develop those strengths earlier.
Alan Meckler, the chief executive of Jupiter Media, the technology market research firm, knows the humiliation that can be heaped on children with learning difficulties. As a child on Long Island, he was put into a remedial class in second grade because he could not read. He eventually taught himself by poring over the sports sections of newspapers.
But in sixth grade, he turned in a report on King Henry VIII. Typical of dyslexics, Mr. Meckler inverted some of the letters in the king's name, and the paper was filled with references to King Herny. "I still remember the teacher," he said. "He read this whole paper about King Herny'' in front of the class, "and it was a lesson to everybody that you must proofread.
"But that's the thing - I did proof it," he added. "It looked right to me."
HE credits his athletic talent with helping to get him into Columbia, where he says he excelled. But he still struggles with some basic concepts. At a recent meeting with a reporter, he reached into his briefcase and pulled out a folded piece of yellow paper with handwritten instructions for simple computer commands like cut and paste. "I'm notorious in the company for how bad I am with the computer," he said.
Still, Mr. Meckler, 58, found that he adapted to his learning difficulties by strengthening other abilities that have benefited him in business. "I think my best skill in business and in life is to spot trends," he said. "I had to think off the page.''
Paul Orfalea, the founder of Kinko's, found early in his business career that ordinary office life did not suit him. "I can't sit still, so I hate meetings," says Mr. Orfalea, 56, who recently gave a lecture to students at Babson College, just outside Boston, that included details of his struggles with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder.
Mr. Orfalea struggled through school. (He says he failed second grade because he didn't know the alphabet.) But in 1970, he founded Kinko's and soon focused his attention on work that could be done outside the office.
"My job ultimately became the wanderer," he says. "Every location, there was something there that every store could learn from. So I was going store to store, looking for gold.''
All three of these executives say the obstacles they have faced have given them a heightened sense of empathy. That helps to fuel their openness. Speaking out, Mr. Schwab said, "Gives people coming up the ranks hope that things might be better for them."
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