After a fabulous response to the THE Disability on Campus: ‘I have decided to go public as the Dyslexic Professor‘ article and a house move, I am now back to blogging on being the Dyslexic Professor or in the words of REO Speedwagon (3:10) …
Reflecting on the numerous responses from the THE article, I am conscious of a number of themes – some “I am also dyslexic” or more “I have a friend/child” who is dyslexic and, interestingly, I am now getting a few “I had no idea” and “thank you!”
From these, I conclude that academics know people with dyslexia or have children with dyslexia, that dyslexia can be hidden (I would argue that technology has helped considerably with this) and either there aren’t many academics with dyslexia or, if there are, they are not comfortable disclosing it – even to the Dyslexic Professor!
Regarding the latter or ‘Invisible Dyslexic’, I wonder if the exception that proves the rule is: a colleague who having had a public and painful reminder of their dyslexia when being required to read out in public, contacted me for support. They felt unsupported at the time and criticised. At no point in their career had they disclosed their ‘disablility’.
I’m really not sure where we go next. Technology is undoubtedly helping dyslexic academics enter the profession. However, this keeps their dyslexia hidden and leaves them anxious of exposure at any point. Having been in this position until the start of these The Dyslexic Professor blogs, I can fully understand this anxiety.
Of course, one answer is to disclose dyslexia. However, this may not be plain sailing – “I’ve finally admitted that I’m a dyslexic academic – and I’m terrified” (19 February 2016) from the Guardian’s Higher Education Network Academics Anonymous series.
At least for me, this brings it back to the real shift that is required …
Dyslexia is not a disability, or even a difference but rather an advantage or, in my words, a superpower!