African Dyslexia Dialogue 2022: Otudeko, others speak on importance of early diagnosis for those living with Dyslexia

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At the second edition of the Africa Dyslexia Dialogue held recently, Tomi Otudeko, Head, Corporate Services, Honeywell Group spoke extensively on the learning difficulty – dyslexia; early diagnosis, working and delivering excellent results with the condition, as well as leading high performing teams.

Other panelists include Olayide Odediran, Executive Director, Dyslexia Nigeria; Wana Udobong, writer, filmmaker, and journalist; Natalie Brooks, Founder of Dyslexia in Adults; Oluranti Oyesiji, Founder of Closerlook Caregiver Foundation; Phyllis Munyi, Managing Director, Dyslexia Kenya; Joy Thomas, MD Dyslexia Ghana, who explored the topic of dyslexia in children and the workplace, citing personal experiences and their work in the field.

Speaking on the need for awareness across homes, schools, the workplace, and society, Tomi Otudeko said, “Awareness is crucial. I was privileged to be diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age. It helped me understand and appreciate my uniqueness and accept that I didn’t have a disease or disability; I just had a different learning style. People with dyslexia need to be able to identify and accept their process. That’s why forums and conversations like Dyslexia Nigeria have organized are important to raise awareness and sensitise Nigerians.”

She also spoke of the importance of sharing one’s diagnosis with colleagues and employees to enable a stronger team structure, “It’s also crucial to share your dyslexia diagnosis, whether with subordinates or supervisors, so you can get support.” People with dyslexia have many advantageous qualities including the ability to think critically, come up with fresh, out-of-the-box ideas and solve problems. These qualities are essential for a productive workplace.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Sally Shaywitiz, Co-founder and Co-director of Yale Centre for Dyslexia, spoke on the importance of early detection of dyslexia. She said, “One in five children struggle with dyslexia, and until we identify them, we cannot help them. It’s important to remember that once you have dyslexia, you always have dyslexia. That’s why self-awareness is an important part of being dyslexic. There is nothing to be embarrassed about dyslexia. Dyslexics are able to see the big picture and have a lot of strengths and capabilities like critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

Regarding functioning with dyslexia as adults, Natalie Brooks, Founder of Dyslexia in Adults, highlighted the correlation between disclosure and support in the workplace, “How you disclose your dyslexia diagnosis affects how you are treated in the workplace. When you are at peace with yourself, confident and unapologetic, you can get the support you need.” She advised the need for full disclosure in life and the workplace.

Dyslexia Nigeria is a registered non-profit organization that supports children and adults with dyslexia who struggle in school, vocation, or white-collar professions with limited coping mechanisms and support.

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