Do you or your child have special needs? Do you get frustrated and sometimes feel like you are up against insurmountable odds? If you do, you’ll want to read this!
Most people don’t think of special education when they think of Richard Branson. He is the owner of Virgin Atlantic and has had numerous successful ventures throughout his career. Richard has dyslexia. In recent years, he has formed a charity called Made by Dyslexia, in an attempt to change the stigma surrounding dyslexia. Below is the letter he wrote to his teenage self as an adult:
I know you’re struggling at school and I wanted to give you some advice on how to become the best you can be, even when it’s difficult and you feel like the world is against you.
You should never see being different as a flaw or think that something is wrong with you. Being different is your biggest asset and will help you succeed.
I know you have problems with reading, writing and spelling and sometimes find it tricky to keep up in class. This does not mean you are lazy or dumb. You just think in a more creative way and struggle to find the relevance in school. Just make sure you turn your frustration with education into something positive.
Find things that interest you and pursue them doggedly. This passion is what will keep you going when things get tough – and life is always full of challenges. Your alternative ways of thinking will help you see these challenges as opportunities.
It’s ok not to be good at some things; as long as you find good people you can trust and surround yourself with them. Learn what you’re good at and channel that, instead of focusing on what you can’t do.
Use your alternative ways of thinking to be creative and think bigger. Look around you and see where things aren’t as they should be and try and come up with huge, big solutions that can have a positive effect on people.
You might not realise it, but there are many, many other people out there that struggle at school in similar ways to you and many of them have gone on to invent or create wonderful things.
As your mum is teaching you, never be afraid to fly higher. If you’re scared and excited about what comes next, you’re probably on the right path.
Keep smiling, attitude is everything. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to – don’t ever believe anyone who tells you otherwise.
All the very best wishes for the future,
If you know someone that needs to read this, please share it with them!
Too often, special education is thought of in a derogatory sense. People that don’t know any better crack jokes about kids in special education settings being dumb or having to take the short bus to school. Most special needs students are self-conscious as it is. They don’t understand why they struggle with things that their peers seem to find easy. They wonder if something is wrong with them or if they’re destined to be a failure for life.
What they don’t realize is that what makes them “different” also makes them incredibly special. Having to endure these hardships early in life teaches invaluable lessons on determination, perseverance, problem solving, and courage. Most special needs students have to think outside of the box to get through school. They have to figure out a way to make things work when the odds seem insurmountable against them. This is probably why there are so many incredibly wealthy business owners who struggled with special needs in school.
I hope that more awareness is brought to this subject in the future. Dyslexics are brilliant people in their own way, as we all are. Everyone has different strengths and should never feel like they’re lesser of a person because of whatever their weakness happens to be.
If your child happens to have dyslexia and you’re feeling lost, the best place to start is with an Orton-Gillingham assessment: https://servidioeducationsolutions.com/services/tutoring/orton-gillingham-tutor/
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