How to Explain Dyslexia to People You Meet

Salespeople know that there is an art to getting their pitch down to a succinct speech that is short enough to share on an elevator ride with a stranger. People with dyslexia should be armed with the same ability to explain their learning difference quickly and concisely so that friends, family, coworkers, and teachers can better understand their struggles. Here’s a short and sweet breakdown of how to develop your own elevator pitch.

Points to Include in a Dyslexia Elevator Pitch

  1. What dyslexia is: Dyslexia is a neurological learning disability. In other words, if someone has dyslexia, his or her brain is wired to handle information differently.
  1. How dyslexia affects an individual: It can take longer to process information and figure out how to use new data. It can make reading and writing more difficult.
  1. Advantages of dyslexia: Sometimes spatial reasoning and creative thought are easier for people who have dyslexia. People with dyslexia have succeeded in all fields, including business, architecture, and creative arts.
  1. What dyslexia DOESN’T mean: Having dyslexia doesn’t make a person dumb or lazy.
  1. What someone with dyslexia needs: Being patient goes a long way!

Bonus! There are a ton of famous people with dyslexia. Do some name-dropping. Search online to find your favorite examples and include them in your pitch.

Sample Elevator Pitches

Elementary students can remember a pitch like, “I have dyslexia. That means my brain is wired a bit differently than yours, but different is okay. I’m not lazy or dumb, it just takes me longer to read, write, and understand information. Please be patient with me. Because of my dyslexia, I have used my creativity to find other ways of doing things.

Middle school and high school students may prefer, “Dyslexia makes things like reading and writing a struggle sometimes, but I have used my creativity to find different ways to get things done. I’m good at math, art, and business, but my brain’s wiring makes taking notes in class a challenge sometimes. I’m not lazy or dumb, I just learn better with a tape recorder than a pen and paper, and I read better with audio books than with printed material. But, hey, if Richard Branson can make millions and be dyslexic, I figure I’ll be okay.”

Adults may prefer an elevator pitch like, “Dyslexia means my brain processes information differently, but everyone has challenges. Once I figured out that I can use tools like audio books and computers, I’ve gotten the challenges down to manageable levels. Dyslexia isn’t something I can fix, but I’ve figured out how to work around it where I struggle and embrace it where it helps me.”

Share Your Pitch
If you have an elevator pitch you’d like to share, send it to us here. Who knows… we may print it in a future edition.

Copyright © 2016 International Dyslexia Association (IDA).

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