Think about all the memories of past events in your life. Those memories help you deal with your problems in the present.

Project these memories into the future, with neurons firing in fuzzy patterns, and you have imagination. Imagination is rearranging knowledge and memories of the past to create new ideas.

Merriam-Webster Definition of Imagination

  • the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality
  • a : creative ability
  • b : ability to confront and deal with a problem : resourcefulness — use your imagination and get us out of here
  • c : the thinking or active mind : interest — stories that fired the imagination
  • a : a creation of the mind; especially : an idealized or poetic creation
  • b : fanciful or empty assumption

Because I was weak in recall, sequencing and reading, my imagination became a very strong muscle. When I was 12, stuffed animals still held some joy because I could project personalities onto them. There were real to me.”

Stephen J. Cannell, Emmy award-winning screen-writer.


Dyslexics may see many more creative possibilities in the same information available to anyone.

When people say “think outside the box,” they are really saying “think like a dyslexic.”

Jack Horner, Paleontologist


When Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA Furniture, was just starting out in business, he overheard a designer complaining about how expensive it was to ship bulky furniture. Kamprad’s solution was to sell the furniture in a flat box, and let the buyer put it together. This technique had been tried for years, with limited success. What made it work for IKEA was that the pieces were designed to go together easily, and the simple instructions showed excactly how to put the furniture together, without using any words!

Creativity is the key for any child with dyslexia — or for anyone, for that matter. Then you can think outside of the box. Teach them anything is attainable. Let them run with what you see is whatever they need to run with.

Orlando Bloom, star of Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean and Blackhawk Down
Relativity by M.C. Escher

We don’t know if M.C. Escher was dyslexic. But he had a dyslexic trait — he was able to rotate and twist images in his mind to create fantastic scenes. He is now one of the most recognizable artists in the world.


Of course, seeing new connections may cost you speed and accuracy. That can be a problem. For example, to do well on standardized tests, you need to be fast and accurate with facts (left brain stuff), not spinning off new insights between ideas (right brain stuff), no matter how brilliant the ideas are.

But you are being tested on how well you memorize facts or plug in numbers, not where your knowledge can take you. Sure, you need to know lots of the stuff you are being tested on. But brilliant new ideas don’t come out of standardized tests. They come out of creativity.

“I see connections other people don’t. I can see around corners…”

— Carol Moseley Braun, first African American woman elected to the US Senate, business entrepreneur.


Dyslexics are often very creative people. That’s the payoff for your alternative brain wiring. You see how things go together in different ways. You rotate ideas into unique concepts. You put unconnected facts, theories and ideas together to invent something new and awesome.

For a Dyslexic, anything is possible.


Attebery, Liz. “Jack Horner, Paleontologist.” The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. 2016.

Eide, Brock, and Fernette Eide. The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain. New York: Hudson Street Press, 2011.

Neal, Meghan. 2010. “Dyslexia’s Special Club: Actor Orlando Bloom Speaks Out.” The Huffington Post. June 9, 2010.

People.Com. 1995. “Picks and Pans Review: Talking With… Stephen J. Cannell,” June 5, 1995.,,20100782,00.html.

Shaywitz, Sally E. Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 2003. (This book has recently been released as an updated second edition.)

Stringer, Chris. 2012. Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth. 1st U.S. ed. New York: Times Books/Henry Holt and Co.

The Power Of Dyslexia. n.d. “IKEA Founder Ingvar Kamprad Struggles With Dyslexia.” Accessed August 25, 2016.

Wallace, Jane. n.d. “Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun.” The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. Accessed November 9, 2017a.

Wolf, Maryanne. 2007. Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. 1st ed. New York, N.Y.: Harper.

Published by Amy Law

Amy Law is a science geek. She feels about science the way some people feel about music, or art, or sports – a total and complete emotional connection. She thinks in science. For Amy, there’s nothing better than helping people see the beauty of science as she does. She loves to untangle a complicated subject into its parts, explaining it so that anybody can understand what’s happening. Let her show you her world...


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