Adult Dyslexia and How It Affects Multiple Parts of Your Life-Both at Home and Work

“I failed in some subjects in exam, but my friend passed in all.  Now he is an engineer for Microsoft and I am the owner of Microsoft.”
~ Bill Gates


Being an adult with dyslexia is different than when you were a child in school with dyslexia.

Because the neuro condition is noticed and diagnosed typically when people are in school and their symptoms are reading and writing issues, often people think that as their reading improves, that the neuro differences are gone.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is you have trained a whole other part of your brain to fill in for the neuro pathways that you lacked. That it is great that you can read better and that it is very helpful in a million ways to the rest of your life, it does not mean that you are no longer dyslexic or that you no longer have a neuro different brain. 

The sooner you study your brain and how you interact with the world, the more options you will have for adapting, adjusting or doing nothing.  It is all about choices.  Do you want lots of choices in life?  Do you want to be able to reduce your anxiety?  Would it be nice to have a lot of less stress?  Knowing your brain and your limits frees you to thrive.  Your mental health is the key.

When I have searched the internet in the past, I have come across lots of things that say what the typical signs are of a dyslexic person.  Those are usually the signs in children.  It is important to know what it looks like in adults.

Signs and Hints of Dyslexia in Adults: A person might have some or all of these hints

  • Name searching – difficulty remembering names
  • Mispronouncing words when speaking
  • Evading reading whenever possible
  • Lost easily while using directions, written directions being the worst
  • Choosing to read short articles or essays over long novels
  • Misspelling words when typing or writing
  • Visually similar words get confused like “can” and “cab” or “receipt” and “recipe”
  • Difficulty recalling previous conversations with people; can be accused of “not listening”
  • Word swapping – will rewrite a sentence because they can’t spell a word and spell check can’t find it either
  • Struggling to pronounce unknown words when reading out loud
  • Avoid written correspondence and delegating the task to spouse, children, or family members
  • Self-conscious when speaking to a group; will use filler words or starting and stopping sentences repeatedly.  This only gets worse as the pressure mounts and anxiety builds.
  • Struggles with being on time for meetings, picking up the kids or gatherings
  • Will mix up left and right when giving directions
  •  Have poor self-esteem, lack confidence, and work far under all other abilities

Click here for more hints 

Everyone’s experience of dyslexia will be individually their own. Like snowflakes, no two people have identical neuro differences. We are all unique.

I had a client “Sue”, who had a friend that recommended me to her for business coaching.  Sue wanted to start a business.  She hated her job, she felt like a failure and what she really wanted to do was take her embroidery machine and start an embroidery business.  She was doing a few things on the side for her company and friends with her one machine, what more could she make happen? Within one meeting I knew that she was an adult with dyslexia. 35%+ of entrepreneurs are dyslexic, so I often have a coach session about business growth. The whole next meeting I educated her about what might really be driving her to want a new job.  She was shocked, not one other person had mentioned this might be a thing for her.  We shifted our coaching, and she became an explorer of her own neurology.  Twelve months later, she loved her job, was doing embroidery for friends only and said her marriage was the happiest it had ever been.  Her perspective on her life had totally shifted, she understood her neuro processing and could communicate her limits better than most people.  The bonus out of this process was that she got both of her son’s tested and they each had neuro differences of their own and she was able to change their lives and help them access more support in their weaker areas.

One thing that neurologists have proven to be common amongst most humans is the desire to survive. How we do that is by assessing everything as something to fear or something that isn’t going to eat us.  In that process of analyzing, we notice patterns, “have we seen this before?”.  When we don’t understand something, and it doesn’t seem “normal” we question it and are not sure if it is safe or should be feared.  We do this with ourselves and when we don’t have the right terms and knowledge to comprehend why something is different or why “we” are different we label something as “bad”, “no good”, “broken”, “stupid” … This is why there is value in and importance in knowing your neurology.  Once you have new information, you can make new choices, you can shift your perspective, and you can stop applying the labels on yourself that cause you harm to your self-esteem and limit your natural abilities to flourish.  Don’t fear the labels, fear not asking the questions and being curious. 

I have had great counselors over the years that have helped me through some big life transitions, and they all had one thing in common. They were explorers. Every time we met, we were on a mission to understand something better and to know that it was normal and healthy to have the feelings I was having. I see my style of coaching the same way. I am a co-explorer and guide. I get to ask really good questions and then listen as people add facts to their goals and build new dreams and outcomes.

Dyslexia does not go away.  The neurology is always there and understanding it and working with it is the key to unlocking a whole new world for someone.

Please share this with others or reach out for more answers to your questions.  Become an explorer.

Thanks for reading and make sure to check out my other stories.

You don’t have to do this alone.

JoyGenea Schumer
Business Owner, International Neurodiversity Coach and Speaker

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