Thank you, Nick Welsh, for a fine interview with Paul Orfalea. Truly we have been blessed in this community with his great vision and generosity. I always point to his entrepreneurial successes and many donations to our schools whenever I visit school children in their classrooms to raise their awareness about dyslexia.
However, that we are not “a little liberal” in identifying dyslexia, as the article suggests. Far from it. Although dyslexia affects one in five, it is often misunderstood and misinterpreted as a lack of motivation, interest, or ability. And too often a “wait-and-see” approach is used until students fall far behind their peers and never catch up — leading to an unnecessary loss of potential and self-esteem. Many individuals don’t learn about their own dyslexia until they’re adults trying to help their own struggling child.
Interestingly, dyslexia is characterized not only by difficulties in reading, writing, and spelling, but also by strengths in creative problem-solving, people skills, and entrepreneurialism. Studies have shown that although individuals with dyslexia comprise 20 percent of the population, they also make up some 35 percent of entrepreneurs.
Orfalea’s wonderful book, Copy This! Lessons from a Hyperactive Dyslexic Who Turned a Bright Idea into One of America’s Best Companies, provides outstanding insights into the strengths of the dyslexic mind and how they foster successful entrepreneurialism. I have no doubt that Orfalea’s involvement in the development of this exciting Impact Hub will bring many of our community’s most creative and innovative minds together — many of them dyslexic.
Cheri Rae directs the Dyslexia Project, dyslexiaproject.com.