I created a summary post containing links to the dyslexia blogs and associated videos, which include my 2015 TEDx Talk – Dyslexia 2.0: The Gift of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Mind.
Open Coffee is a free, informal, one-hour community gathering for individuals with dyslexia or anyone interested in the topic. The event is hosted by Dyslexic Distributors, founded by Marnix Langstraat, and based in Amsterdam.
Tiffany and Marnix will discuss her internationally recognized books: Dyslexia’s Competitive Edge and How Dyslexics Will Rule the Future. Plus, how she utilizes her creativity fueled by her dyslexic brain to write flash fiction, poetry, and short stories.
Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at 20:00 pm CET (Central Europe Time) or 1:00 pm CST in the U.S.
With the rapid acceleration of digital visual technology, video content surrounds us everywhere we go. As a result, individuals who possess visual thinking and spatial awareness skills have an advantage.
For individuals with dyslexia, visual thinking and spatial reasoning is both a skill and talent. All our thoughts and ideas appear in our minds, like movies. We can imagine an idea in 3D with a 360-degree perspective.
When we think about new ideas, we can often see the whole picture and how the idea will work. Currently, I am working on a fiction manuscript and see the book as a movie more than words on a page. My visual thinking skills enable me to see the book first, making it easier to write.
Once we have a lock on what we are creating, we back into the idea to transform thought into a tangible product. As a visual thinker, I rarely, if ever, read instructions for putting things together. Instead, I look at the IKEA box and then build it.
The downside of being a visual thinker is conveying what we see in our mind’s eye to others. We know the forest, the trees, and everything in the forest from top to bottom. Most of the time, we can envision all the details and have a gut on how our vision will work. Transferring our mental blueprint to others is always the most challenging part of the process, which is rarely a straight line. Instead, the process consists of squiggly movement as we test and build the idea. However, often, what we envision is created.
We Must See First
Being neurodiverse, I rely heavily on visual cues. However, when I receive too much visual information, I become overwhelmed, which is why I avoid clutter. Last month, I spoke with a group of college students, and we talked about how we had to “see it” to create it. Whatever it was, we had to see it. The group discussed dealing with research and term papers.
One of the students talked about their frustration as the professor did not provide a template or sample paper. As a result, the student had no roadmap to follow, which added to her frustration. For the past month, I have thought about our discussion and realized just how much time I spend seeking visual templates for my brain each day. If my dyslexic brain cannot see, it does not exist. Period.
Value of Spatial Reasoning and Thinking
With all the frustrations of finding templates, I would not trade the visual thinking and spatial reasoning skills my dyslexic brain possess. From my book research for, How Dyslexics Will Rule the Future, I concluded that visual thinking might be another form of human intelligence as information can quickly be conveyed through graphical images derived from our imagination. I also spoke about visual thinking during a podcast interview with Sean Douglas following the 2018 British Dyslexia Conference.
I believe this is why Einstein felt that imagination was more powerful than knowledge because he understood the importance of visual thinking.
Tiffany Sunday is a key presenter at this year’s Region One Dyslexia Conference on Friday, April 22, 2022.
She will be sharing information with the students about how dyslexia is the DNA for entrepreneurship and innovation. Tiffany is the author of Dyslexia’s Competitive Edge, a book that discusses how dyslexia is a competitive edge for entrepreneurship and business ownership.
The Dyslexia presentation is based on Tiffany’s 2015 TEDx Talk – Dyslexia 2:0: The Gift of Innovation and the Entrepreneurial Mind.
Region One Presentation Topic: Dyslexia DNA of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
During her presentation, she will include examples to help the students understand how the challenges they encounter at school build tenacity and resiliency which are invaluable traits.
Tiffany will encourage students to focus on their creative talents, problem-solving skills, and unique abilities. She will share stories about when she was in school, and how she worked to overcome challenges including failing classes.
Key Points for Teachers and Parents Unable to Attend the Conference
Dyslexics are creative, entrepreneurial, and innovative.
Dyslexia enables individuals to solve complex problems.
Dyslexics develop tenacity from dealing with adversity and bouncing back from setbacks.
Finding downtime for the dyslexic brain to explore, dream, and think is important.
Dyslexics are strong leaders, who understand the big picture.
Many of our decisions are made from a “gut feeling.”
Tiffany would like to express her gratitude to everyone at Region One for this opportunity. She believes it is important to share positive information about dyslexia with students.
When I wrote Dyslexia’s Competitive Edge in 2015, companies had yet to embrace inclusion for neurodiverse individuals. The same year, I gave a TEDx Talk about the Gift of Dyslexia. Somewhere between 2015 and 2017, the neurodiversity and inclusion movement gained traction. I received multiple speaking requests and secured corporate sponsorships.
In 2017, It seems like the world has finally realized the benefits and advantages of individuals who have dyslexia and think differently. Richard Branson launched Made by Dyslexia and companies were promoting their inclusion programs.
With so much momentum I hope companies continue to promote inclusion and how adults with dyslexia can provide insight for problem solving and innovation. Companies must be willing to go outside the HR box and hire neurodiverse individuals who think differently.
Today, dozens of groups, individuals, and companies share information and build an awareness far beyond what many I thought was possible six years ago. When I was a child in school, I could never imagine a world where dyslexia is a positive trait. Now, we are educating children and others about the competitive advantages and thinking benefits of dyslexia.
When I wrote, Dyslexia’s Competitive Edge, I never thought the opening quote in the book would be recognized and requoted by so many organizations, universities, researchers, and fellow authors. I am humbled by the attention and am glad the quote continues to inspire individuals around the world.
In 2018, I wrote How Dyslexics Will Rule the Future. The book’s purpose is to provide companies and HR departments with checklists and onboarding ideas and strategies that were helpful for individuals with dyslexia. But, most importantly, I wanted to offer fellow professionals with dyslexia a resource book they could use for work and share with others.
I have always believed we (neurodiverse) individuals are here for a reason. Our unique way of viewing the world, how we solve problems, use our creativity and differences to transform ideas into reality is our greatest gift to humanity.
My Quote From Dyslexia’s Competitive Edge
“We are the visionaries, inventors, and artists. We think differently, see the world differently, and solve problems differently. It is from these differences that the dyslexic brain derives its brilliance.”
Today, with a greater awareness of the link between dyslexia and entrepreneurship, organizations are thinking of ways to help dyslexic founders develop their ideas into concepts and launch sustainable businesses.
As a result of recent conversations, I am once again sharing my dyslexia startup wish list.
First – do not water down anything or hyper-focus on fixing our weaknesses. Instead, share a list of apps or software, or strategies to mitigate and outsource.
Over the years, the one thing that has pissed me off the most is the misguided perception of providing resource room accommodations instead of professional business advisement.
The best course of action is to ask neurodiverse entrepreneurs what they need to develop their ideas into viable products and services.
Dyslexic Startup Wish List (starting point)
Access to qualified business professionals
All startups need access to qualified business professionals and advisors such as IP attorneys, business attorneys, accountants, HR professionals (for hiring) to ask questions and discuss matters.
We need professional introductions to individuals we can trust to provide the following: nutshell required legal documents and strategic advisement for potential legal, financial, and tax business exposures, the nitty-gritty for filing patents and IP protection, and accounting matters that our dyslexic brain prefers to outsource.
Understanding and Respecting Gut Decisions
Dyslexic entrepreneurs need introductions to professional advisors who understand and respect us, our way of thinking, and how most of their decisions are made by a gut feel.
We’re 50 steps ahead and in our minds see the whole business, how the product will be built, target customers, marketing, everything. The entire concept is in our minds. When we make decisions, it’s based on our gut and a combination of all the actions we’ve taken to develop the idea and business. We back into concepts since we see the finished product.
Fireside Chats with Fellow Dyslexic Entrepreneurs
Create an incubator and group fireside chats for neurodiverse founders and entrepreneurs to share ideas, discuss lessons learned, and seek feedback. No business owner has enough time in the day to make all the mistakes while building a business.
By sharing with others, dyslexia / neurodiverse style, we can reduce the errors and accelerate the business. We need a space to share concepts as we are always thinking of ideas, solving problems, and anticipating the future.
In 2015, I wrote Dyslexia’s Competitive Edge, which discussed the connection between dyslexia and entrepreneurship and shared strategies from fellow dyslexic business owners and professionals. I also gave a TEDx Talk Dyslexia 2.0: The Gift of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Mind.