Dyslexic advantage in medical students + general question

Exploring the talents and abilities that accompany dyslexia
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Dyslexic advantage in medical students + general question

Post by Arecircte » Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:52 am

Hi all, I'm doing a bit of research for a college essay (part of the IB course called the 'extended essay'.

We can pick pretty much any topic we like so I've chosen 'To what extent is Dyslexia a benefit to medical students and practicing medical professionals?' as I would like to become a surgeon and last summer I was diagnosed with Dyslexia (at the age of 18).

I was wondering whether anyone has any anecdotes about this topic or have come across any research papers?
I've found a lot of negative articles based on myth... :oops: :x

Also I have a more general question: I have never had a problem reading or writing (I enjoy both and I find that they come easily to me, the only problem being slight but rather minor spelling errors) however al the definitions of dyslexia that I have seen state that Dyslexia is ALWAYS accompanied by difficulty in these areas. I know that there can be other problems that I definitely have (memory is a big one for me) but everything I've seen states that reading and writing troubles will be present in every dyslexic?...

Many thanks :D


Re: Dyslexic advantage in medical students + general question

Post by Dana70 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:05 pm

First, dyslexia is not a gift nor is it a talent. It is a sad condition that erodes many areas in your life, from professional to personal. Hate to admit it, but there is bias and there is indirect discrimination attached. The excuse of "we found someone else more suited" or "we have decided to pursue other candidates" always persists after applying for jobs. On a personal note, relationships among dyslexics or any age appropriate rights/needs have the decreased opportunity to be fulfilled. This is due to the stigma of being somehow "child like", developmentally disabled, or "different." Migrating to another topic, there is researched facts that 30% adults with epilepsy do not have the opportunity to get married and 35% have the experience of being fired from their job after having their epilepsy come to light.

As in the professional realm, I do not pass medication and I do not do anything around numbers. Understandably, the risk for errors is magnified and will compromise patient care and safety. Typing of documents and notes is allowed, but is met with frequent corrections and typos that need to be revised (lots of proof reading!). The frustration is chronic, but it is what it is. Anything else in the medical field is not restricted that does not compromise patient care. There are many, many roles and jobs in the medical industry, thus decreasing the right to put the resident/medical student in only one area in practice. Many people go on to practice family medicine, research, clinic work, teaching/instructing, and even surgical. Dyslexia does not (or should not) limit one's life to the point of being optionless and/or having decreased choices, thus adversely affecting their self esteem and quality of life.

Once the bias and stigma attached with being dyslexic is removed or eliminated, there will be more equality and dignity that will be provided, thus making more opportunities for this aggregate to participate with equal rights in areas of demographical, social, political, and economical realms.

P.S. I am one of the few that did not get dyslexia in my childhood years, thus not attaching my condition to a indirect"child" disorder. Mine started in my late 30's and I am now 47 living with it actively.

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Re: Dyslexic advantage in medical students + general question

Post by AbigailM » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:51 pm

Dana, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I am sorry that you do not see or understand the inherent mental strengths that come with dyslexia, but perhaps that is because of confusion over terminology. Dyslexia is not a disease or condition that one "gets" -- rather it is an inborn, genetically influenced tendency that leads to a different patter of learning and brain development. Many adults do not realize that they are dyslexic until their own children are diagnosed -- the film director Steven Spielberg would be a good example - but those adults generally also can remember experiencing difficulties as schoolchildren. Sometimes, particularly in very bright individuals, the dyslexia is not diagnosed because the child is able to compensate well, but symptoms become more apparent as workload and expectations become more demanding.

However, if you have dyslexia which "started" only in your late 30's --it is very likely that there is another cause. That history would indicate "acquired dyslexia" which can be the result of a stroke or head injury --something that caused damage to previously formed neural connections in your brain. I hope that you sought evaluation and treatment from a neurologist when the symptoms first manifested.

I'd note that it is certainly possible that symptoms would occur for other reasons, and I certainly would not think that I or anyone else can diagnose a neurological injury or disease online. It is just that a sudden adult onset of any mental or cognitive difficulty would always be cause for seeking medical evaluation.

If you have been formally diagnosed with acquired dyslexia, then I think it is important to keep in mind that is something very difficult than developmental dyslexia, and that the term "dyslexia" is generally used to refer to the developmental form.

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