“A gift, with a kind countenance, is a double present.” Thomas Fuller
I have to say that I find it funny and interesting to research this topic. The term is only starting to be used in the neurodiverse research community and so most information about it is very clinical and sterile.
Example: “Functional Neuroanatomical Evidence for the Double-Deficit Hypothesis of Developmental Dyslexia…”
I would like to put some real people in real world situations to do that research.
WHAT IS DOUBLE-DEFICIT DYSLEXIA?
Double-Deficit Dyslexia, in simple terms, is being gifted with not just one type of dyslexia but being gifted with two and maybe even more varieties of dyslexia. When that happens, it amplifies the reading issues and other struggles.
The two types of dyslexia most often include naming speed (rapid naming) and identifying (phonological) the sounds in words.
PERSON WITH THREE TYPES OF DYSLEXIA PLUS MORE
In their mid-twenties now, my client has an almost full-time job, a BS from a fine college, and is looking for full-time employment. They were lucky to have been tested and diagnosed early with most of their many isms. But, having them labeled for an IEP and understanding how that plays out in their real life, are two different things. The amount of stress and anxiety that come with the constant amount of compensating and adjusting they are doing, makes it a challenge to accomplish day to day tasks, like cleaning, cooking, and grocery shopping. It isn’t that they can’t do these things, it is that they are so exhausted from just fitting into the environment they are in, that there isn’t anything left in the battery. This is a very common scenario I see in adults. It is beyond important to be working within your strengths and not trying to be a chameleon and be something you are not. As I mentioned in the title about more than one type of dyslexia and having a high IQ. It makes it possible to attempt to do and be things that you are not, BUT only for a short amount of time, then the energy of so much compensating catches up to a person.
In this case, we have spent the past years, understanding what is in their strengths and what is an energy drain. For them, working retail and being around people all day, every day is a total drain. It is too much instability and changing of personality to connect with each customer, by the end of the day, they don’t have any energy to do much of anything but go home and go to bed. What that looks like is that bills don’t get paid, poor eating habits, impulse shopping, no physical exercise outside of work and little or no time for connection with friends or family. They are currently applying for fulltime employment in a field with some customer service and more time for focused projects, research and connection to co-workers.
PERSON WITH TWO TYPES OF DYSLEXIA AND ADHD PLUS
Nearing forty, this person runs a small company in the tech industry and has two employees. They are married and have two children and they feel like they are barely hanging on for dear life. One of their parents just had a heart attack and that was when I met them. The number one goal they stated in our first conversation was, “I just need to stop feeling so overwhelmed all the time, I can’t breathe.” They knew they were neurodiverse but had only been diagnosed with the ADHD. I have them read up on all the types of ADHD and Dyslexia and they were easily able to identity five key areas that they struggled in. Armed with that information we went to work on strengths and in their case delegation. There was a strong build-up of anxiety and some real depression coming on. They also had their partner meet with us in a couple of meetings to talk through what they were learning about their brain and to answer the partners many questions. For the second meeting the partner had taken it on themselves to reach a bunch of things and shared what they were learning with us. It was so kind and loving, just having that support really shifted the person off of extreme overload.
We are now in the process of breaking down large tasks into small daily tasks, thereby defusing and interfering with the neurology of trying to do it all at once and trying to hide that maybe you can’t do it. An example of that is trying to assist their mom with paying bills, running the household and driving the father to doctor appointments. We paused, stepped back and listed out all of the individual items that we knew needed to be addressed, then we called senior linkage and asked for a consultation with one of their people. That person helped us to add support services and people to the process. Then, this is my favorite part, the administrative assistant at their company was hired as a project manager to oversee all of the people and services. Simple little thing that takes them less than five hours a week and saves my person hours of time and huge amounts of sanity.
If you have every studied physics, you know about the compound effect. The compound effect is when two or more things are present in a situation, they compound each other and create a greater outcome. I think of it like multiplying something. The compound effect in this situation is mostly an increase to the challenges or as I like to say, “additional adventures through.” A person is not just overcoming a reading difference of one type, where they might know the best way to teach them to read, write, and spell. It is that they are having to create a new reading program with a combination of the tools they have as specialists. It is a compound prescription and takes a gifted specialist to implement it.
This same compounding happens in adult life, it just shows up in more than one way and place. Once identified and unraveled it can be rewoven into a productive, happy, and healthy life.
I have more than double deficit dyslexia. It effects my life daily and it gets all over the people around me in good and bad ways. I am continuing to learn to communicate with people when something way outside my abilities or gifts. I am also learning to step-up quickly when there is something I am gifted at and could be helpful for them. I am grateful everyday for the people that fought with me to learn to read as a child. I am lucky enough to be able to continue to learn, grow, and share with people. I meet people often, who did not have such luck and they have not learned to read or write at a level of enjoying either.
Never forget that this neurodivergence of adjusting things into a different perspective is changing the world in so many ways.
Without the double dyslexia and compounded differences, we would be solving major global issues. It takes a new perspective to solve what the neuro normal have created at times. This is a gift and a curse and that all depends on how much you know about yourself and how the current systems work.
My best advice, continue to learn and apply what you’re learning to improve your way of life and have less stress.
Business Owner, International Neurodiversity Coach, and Speaker
If you would like to hear from another person about being DD check this out.