INTERVIEW. “We have long seen dyslexics as people in difficulty”

What do Leonardo da Vinci, Steven Spielberg and Franck Gastambide have in common? All three have dyslexia. This language disorder, known to affect spelling and reading, is making its way into the world of work. Dyslexics, however, have long been considered people in difficulty. So how did dyslexia come to the fore? Meeting with Guillemette Faure, author of the book “Dys and famous, How dyslexia can make you strong”, published by Casterman.

Can you succeed in your professional life despite dyslexia? This language disorder belonging to the DYS family, together with dysorthography and dysgraphia, is characterized by confusion and inversions of sounds, letters or by numerous spelling errors.

The mother of a dyslexic daughter herself, journalist Guillemette Faure publishes “Dys and Famous, How Dyslexia Can Make You Stronger”, edited by Casterman. An album with 24 portraits of personalities who suffer from language disorders. Comedians, politicians and Nobel laureates in chemistry face each other there. meeting.

What Weaknesses Cause Dyslexia?

The word dyslexia is used to refer to problems related to reading or writing. This disorder should not be reduced to an inversion of letters, reading and spelling problems. It’s more complicated. There are nuances. For example, actor Stéphane De Groodt cannot explain a cooking recipe. He has trouble understanding the rules of a card game.

Some have memory problems, for others it is a strength. For example, Erin Brockovich, who inspired the movie of the same name, can remember the numbers written on a sheet after just one read. For a long time, dyslexics were seen as people in difficulty. At school you should be able to read and write. Recognizing visual cues, being creative or intuitive, is not quantified.

What qualities do dyslexics develop in the professional world?

Their strengths come from overcoming a difficulty. They know their strengths and weaknesses and they know how to surround themselves with competent people. This is the case of Richard Branson, Virgin boss and entrepreneur. There is a fashionable speech, the English call it “the gift of dyslexia”, “the gift of dyslexia”.

According to an American survey, 35% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic. Don’t fantasize too much about this figure. Having a dyslexic child doesn’t mean he’s going to be an entrepreneur, Nobel laureate, or the next Leonardo Da Vinci.

This figure is not found among CEOs. The qualities required are not the same among entrepreneurs. The CEO profile reassures the company. These are people who have had the right degrees, gone through the right schools, etc. While dyslexics are people who have taken risks and are used to failing and then getting up again. As Thomas Legrand says in the book’s preface, there are difficult and painful stages.

How does a dyslexic succeed professionally?

In the 24 portraits of my book, there is an alignment of lucky stars, or parents who were present. They encouraged him in what he can do instead of obsessing over what he can’t.

We also note that the meeting with a referent adult plays a key role. I am thinking, for example, of Jacques Dubochet, Nobel laureate in chemistry. One of his teachers helped him build a telescope. For him, his dyslexia allows him to see things differently and thereby discover different things.

Is there an evolution in the perception of dyslexia among the teaching staff?

Young people see a speech therapist earlier than their elderly. It was more difficult for the oldest. For example, actor Stéphane de Groodt repeated his fifth, his fourth and his third.

Actor Franck Gastambide says his parents were embarrassed to go to meetings with his teachers. His activity as a dog and animal trainer has shown him that he knows how to do things, but what’s more, he does them better than others.

The written word plays an important role in the school system. It was not uncommon to see some points deducted for spelling, regardless of the subject. In the Anglo-Saxon system, there is more oral. The ability to debate and organize thoughts is more developed.

Is the taboo around language disorders rising?

Whoever talks about it, talks about it a lot, like Franck Gastambide. Those I interacted with were happy to talk. I think of the American Erin Brockovich. Since the film “Erin Brockovich, Alone Against All”, in which Julia Roberts plays her, she has refused many interviews. And there she was happy to talk about it because she has little opportunity to do so.

“Dys and Famous, How Dyslexia Can Make You Stronger” by Guillaumette Faure, edited by Casterman

(ETX Daily Up)

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