There has been more of a focus on the academic deficiencies and negative social implications associated with individuals who experience dyslexia and less emphasis placed on the positive characteristics shown by resilient (i.e., resiliency = the ability to quickly bounce back or recover from stressors, frustrations, and failures due to a personal resolve to persevere in spite of academic/social obstacles) and successful individuals with dyslexia. Typically, individuals with dyslexia who show strong resilient personalities, "sing at their work," "do it better," and "persevere longer." They often have good temperaments and positive self-concepts and self-esteems.
Why Identify Resiliency?
The present authors have identified "resiliency" as the third "R" in the "Reading, 'Riting, Resiliency" intervention program equation, believing it to be the critical link to successful academic and social adjustments for individuals with dyslexia. Individuals with dyslexia are continuously confronted with academic difficulties and often with social challenges.
Dyslexics do experience reading and writing difficulties, and literacy programs naturally focus on developing proficiency in these areas. It is a given that children and adults who experience dyslexia vary in quantity and quality of manifest academic and social characteristics and require to some extent individualized literacy programs; there is no "magic cure-all" for dyslexia. Although dyslexia is considered a reading disability, repeated academic failures and apparent reading/language deficits can diminish feelings of positive self-worth and self-esteem (Grosser & Spafford, 2000).
Persistent academic and social difficulties that emanate from learning problems experienced by dyslexics necessitate the development of strong resilient personalities for all to achieve optimal academic, social, and career successes.
In studying the lives of some highly visible individuals with dyslexia- to name a few, Barbara and George H. W. Bush's son Neil, Baruj Benacerraf (Nobel Prize winner), Cher, Winston Churchill, Ennis Cosby (son of Dr. Bill and Camille Cosby), Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Greg Louganis, Ann Bancroft (Antarctic explorer-scientist), Edgar Allen Poe, Nelson Rockefeller, August Rodin, and Steven Spielberg (Koenig & Spafford, 2001), all shared the tenacity or perseverance to succeed despite academic and life obstacles- strong resilient personalities. The development of resilient personalities requires an understanding of the different factors or variables that contribute to its development.
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