Today we’ll discuss the third and final aim in DA’s Mission Statement: promoting positive achievement.
By ‘positive achievement’ we mean the ability to effectively pursue and reach important life goals, particularly practical goals in education and employment.
How DA Supports Positive Achievement
At DA we believe success is most effectively achieved when dyslexic people work together with those around them using the best information about dyslexic strengths and abilities. Through our programs, DA seeks to equip dyslexic individuals, educators, employers, and others who play an important role in the lives of dyslexic people with the information and strategies they need to help dyslexic individuals learn and work as effectively and productively as possible.
One of most important ways DA promotes success is by helping dyslexic individuals and those who work with them effectively identify, build, and use dyslexic strengths. While remediations, accommodations, and assistive technologies are all very important, their primary aim is to help dyslexic individuals better cope with ‘conventional’ academic and work tasks—that is, to perform tasks they naturally find difficult as much like a non-dyslexic person as possible.
At the present time these ‘adaptive’ steps are important in helping dyslexic people cope with schools and workplaces largely designed for non-dyslexics. However, they’re just a partial fix, and if we limit our attention to them, we’re missing a bigger opportunity.
Understanding and Embracing Dyslexic Differences
Ultimately, if we truly believe dyslexic minds are different for a reason—that they’re organized differently to create different strengths and abilities—our first goal should be to better understand and take advantage of these differences. We should learn how dyslexic minds function best, and how to identify, build, and use these strengths in specific individuals as effectively and efficiently as possible to learn and work. In other words, we should focus on helping dyslexic people find the kinds of success, well-being, and fulfillment in school, work, and life, to which they are best suited, using the strengths and strategies they are best suited to employ.
One way DA is working to create this better understanding is by studying dyslexic adults, to identify common pathways of strengths and success. Our interest includes not only the strengths shown by dyslexic individuals in isolation, but also how these strengths can be supported or enhanced by the right kinds of environments, including teams and partnerships.
Another way DA is promoting achievement is by working with dyslexic teachers, parents, and students, to better understand dyslexic cognition, learning, and development. This will allow us to teach the right things, at the right times, and in the right ways, so dyslexic learners can develop their strengths as effectively and enjoyably as possible.
DA is also working to remove unnecessary barriers in schools and workplaces that have been formed by prior misunderstandings of how dyslexic minds learn and work. Using our knowledge and the passion and power of our community we can together advocate for change.
Making Environment An Ally
DA’s mission of promoting positive identity, community, and achievement aims to create an environment that supports, rather than opposes, dyslexic people in their pursuit of positive goals and personal well-being. By focusing on the strengths that are the core of the dyslexic mind, DA will help to create positive change by:
- Promoting a positive, strengths-centered identity for dyslexic individuals, and helping them find and use their strengths
- Helping schools and jobs understand and use these strengths
- Removing legal barriers to achievement and opportunity
- Supporting research that focuses on strengths and abilities
- Creating a positive perception in society of the strengths and value of the dyslexic mind.
Working together, we can truly revolutionize the way dyslexia and dyslexic people have been viewed. Once we recognize that strengths rather than deficits are the true core features of dyslexic minds, we can create a world where dyslexic people are known for their strengths!