Emma Jefferies, Ph.D: Defining Dyslexia To Include Cognitive Distinctiveness

Emma Jefferies, is an award winning researcher, designer, educator, writer and more recently, a filmmaker. She also has dyslexia. In a series of videos, she speaks about the challenges and processes she went through while earning her Ph.D (in Design).

Watch this first of a few videos posted on the Innovation Investment Journal website. At about the 1 min: 24 second point, she begins to talk about her non-linear processing, for what non dyslexics is a simple “getting from point A to point B.” The way she understands her variant way of delving into a subject or idea recognizes the positive aspects as well as the challenges.

Later on she talk about certain “attributes” or attitudes she’s developed as a result of challenges her dyslexia presents. Included in these attitudes is “taking responsibility for my own problems or challenges and that they’re not someone else’s to accommodate” (words to that effect). She considers reflectiveness about one’s own processes (such as writing) as being another key ingredient.

I loved watching her bit about not going directly “from A to B.” I noticed years ago that certain students who really struggled with the sequential nature of spelling words (theirs were rife with getting the right letters but in the wrong order), could much more quickly unscramble word jumbles like those in the daily newspapers.

I used to teach a class of 5th graders and I’d put a word jumble on the board for fun. Consistently, this one girl, the most severe dyslexic and the worst speller, was the quickest at unscrambling. I’ve always said that folks who are less encumbered with reliance (or ability) on sequencing may have interesting and creative solutions to problems because they are less stuck in A to B.

Sequencing is vital but in designing a creative solution sometimes comes afterwards, when you need to write it down so others can reproduce the solution.

About Sanford

Learning Disabilities specialist and Educational Consultant
This entry was posted in Books and Videos, Discussion Topics, Education Issues and Ideas, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health, Personal Stories, Reading, Writing, and Math. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Emma Jefferies, Ph.D: Defining Dyslexia To Include Cognitive Distinctiveness

  1. Pingback: So may think dyslexia is a PROBLEM-when they are really right-brained learners! « successmom3d

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