Estimates say that 10% to 20% of people are, to some extent, dyslexic.
For some, their dyslexia is something very mild and can go unnoticed; for others, it makes life much more difficult. This means that we will all be engaging with dyslexic people on a daily basis, and that there are dyslexic people in our congregations and among our clergy.
So, what if we told you almost everything you think you know about dyslexia is probably wrong? Dyslexia is often thought of as a learning difficulty - we want to set the record straight on that. Dyslexia is a learning difference.
As dyslexic clergy, we believe that not only is dyslexic thinking a positive for the church, but in the fast-changing world we live in, dyslexic thinking is essential. Where more and more is able to be handled by artificial intelligence, dyslexic thinking is vital to the survival of any organisation or body. Within the church that goes from parish level to diocesan, and even global.
We have the gifts and strengths to see the bigger picture and to be able to envision the path that leads us forward.
The organisation Made by Dyslexia have put forward this 21st-century definition of dyslexia:
Dyslexia influences as many as 1 in 5 people and is a genetic difference in an individual’s ability to learn and process information. As a result, dyslexic individuals have differing abilities, with strengths in creative, problem-solving and communication skills and challenges with spelling, reading and memorising facts.
Generally, a dyslexic cognitive profile will be uneven when compared to a neurotypical cognitive profile. This means that dyslexic individuals really do think differently. Traditional benchmarking disadvantages dyslexics, measuring them against the very things they find challenging.
A place of mutual support
Starting from a small group of clergy colleagues in Buckinghamshire gathering to talk in 2018, we now meet as the Clergy Dyslexia Forum. Our aims are to support and advocate for dyslexic clergy across the Diocese of Oxford
If you would like to join the Forum, or to know more about how we can support you in understanding and exploring in more depth the different aspects of living with dyslexia, please contact Gill Lovell.
Dyslexic in the Pulpit: a Facebook group for people involved in Church leadership who are dyslexic.