“There were a lot of benefits to being dyslexic for me…I think I came into an appreciation of all those qualities of language…” Novelist Richard Ford
Although traditionally classified as a learning disability, dyslexia can also lead to advantages in thinking and behaving that enhance creativity.
Dyslexia is defined by one authority as “a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.” [The International Dyslexia Association.]
Richard Ford has explained how it was a benefit to his creativity as a writer: “When I finally did reconcile myself to how slow I was going to have to do it, then I think I came into an appreciation of all those qualities of language and of sentences that are not just the cognitive aspects.
“The syncopations, the sounds of words, what words look like, where paragraphs break, where lines break, all the poetical aspects of language…”
From my post: Your Creative Mind with Learning Differences.
[My title is an acknowledgment that a number of people choose to think of dyslexia and other conditions as a “learning difference” rather than “disorder” – a potentially life-changing reframing of ADHD or ADD (actor Charlize Theron), prosopagnosia (painter Chuck Close) and others.]
[Photo of Ford from his Amazon author page.]
Director Joe Wright (“Atonement”; “Pride and Prejudice”; “Anna Karenina” and others) has commented, “Because I think visually, not being able to read meant that other parts of my brain were pushed further…” – From my post Considering Carefully: Director Joe Wright on Dyslexia.
Here is a video by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide that includes comments by a number of artists and other people about their experiences: “Dyslexia and Talent – What You May Not Have Heard About Dyslexia.”
Book: The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain by Brock L. Eide, MD, Fernette F. Eide, MD.
Here is another example of an artist finding that dyslexia provided both challenges and advantages in their creative life – plus, it is an excuse for me to post a photo of her exquisitely beautiful face:
Keira Knightley struggled with dyslexia earlier in her life, and, according to a Los Angeles Times article about her performance in ‘Anna Karenina’, she “listened to a handful of books on tape, many of which were historic literary works from authors such as Austen and Charles Dickens.”
That probably affected her choice of roles, and facility with dialogue.
From photo description on my Facebook/The Inner Actor page.
Continued in Part 2.