In March 2022, LinkedIn added ‘dyslexic thinking’ as a skill on their skills portfolio. However, long before that there has been a movement from dyslexic people to be more open and honest about their own experiences or gain knowledge from experts who may not be dyslexic themselves but have expertise in the area of neurodiversity. Now there are thousands of professionals posting information about dyslexia. But who are the best people to follow? Over the next two articles I’ll be featuring just some of the top people to follow on the platform and providing some of their background and why you should follow them. The first 15 people (in alphabetical order with surnames A-M ) are:
As CEO of the Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI), Rosie regularly posts information about what the association is doing in terms of advocating for dyslexic people in Ireland. This could be about DAI’s advocacy work seeking policy changes through consultation with the Irish government and relevant state agencies, or informative posts raising dyslexia awareness or sharing details about the associations events and activities, such as parent webinars, training courses for teachers or workplaces, sharing videos and podcasts, or updates on European projects the association is working on. Rosie is also the current President of the European Dyslexia (EDA) and also shares news on EDA activities.
Possibly the most famous and well known Dyslexic in the world, Richard Branson attributes his success to his dyslexia. He previously stated in this blog post “My dyslexia has shaped Virgin right from the very beginning and imagination has been the key to many of our successes” In a more recent blog post the billionaire said “My dyslexia has shaped Virgin right from the very beginning and imagination has been the key to many of our successes. It helped me think big, but keep our messages simple. The business world often gets caught up in facts and figures; and while the details and data are important, the ability to dream, conceptualise and innovate is what sets the successful and the unsuccessful apart”
Based in Wales, Guy is a self described ‘Dyslexia Coach’. Guy spent 20 years as a teacher, Guy started doing some job coaching for Golexia before going on to specifically concentrate on being a dyslexia coach. Through his coaching of both the individual with dyslexia and the company hiring the dyslexic person Guy makes the employer aware of what exactly dyslexia is, as well as decreasing some of the apprehension the dyslexic person may feel about finding work, for example assisting them with the cover letter, CV, interview skills etc.
Since the pandemic Guy has been able to work from home as well as onsite visits and now has a huge amount of helpful resources and his own YouTube and other social media pages. You can find his videos here
Melanie Brethour is the founder of Decoding Dyslexia Quebec, CERI Structured Classroom Teacher, associated with OGA and elementary resource teacher from Montreal, Quebec. Melanie wears two hats, she is a special education teacher and a mother to a 12 year old dyslexic. Melanie has changed everything from a balanced literacy approach to a structured literacy approach because of her son’s diagnosis. She continues to spread awareness about dyslexia and the science of reading so all children have the right to read and receive evidence based instruction. You can see her sharing resources and information on the following social media platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and her Facebook page Decoding Dyslexia Quebec. She often does presentations for parents and teachers.
Marcia Brissett-Bailey AKA The Black Dyslexic is a speaker and author. She feels privileged as a Black girl from East London who grew up on a council estate to be featured in Forbes. She is passionate advocate and champion Dyslexia and Neurodiversity, as spoken at the All Parliamentary Group (APPG) – Dyslexia & SpLD. She has been named one of the Top Influential Women of 2022 and was winner of the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) Adult Award 2022 sponsored by Texthelp.
Marcia has also been nominated twice as Stereotype Buster of the Year category at the Celebrating Neurodiversity Awards. She is a co-founder of the BDA Cultural Perspective Committee and has been guest editor of BDA Contact Magazine and is a board member of several organisations focused on Neurodiversity.
Marcia describes herself as authentically unique, she talks from lived experience as a Black Dyslexic Women and intersectionality such as race, education, environment, class and gender, which she knows has had an impact on reaching her potential alongside systematic structures of society.
Marcia is has worked for over 30 years within the education sector. She has a BSc (Hons) in Information Science, Post-graduate degree in career guidance and a Masters in Special Educational Needs and disabilities. She has a book coming in 2023 with Jessica Kingsley Publishers – featuring 25 Black Dyslexic. Marcia’s aim is emphasis on diversity in neuroDiversity.
Having qualified from Nottingham University with a degree in Politics and International Relations, Natalie began her career in sales, working mostly in London. Having worked for the likes of Trainline, Finimize and Amazon, in 2019 Natalie then became self employed and launched Dyslexia In Adults.
The website features easy to understand information about dyslexia, together with toolkits for diagnosis, self empowerment, reimaging your perception of dyslexia and other resources such as information about disclosure in the workplace and 1:1 support in terms of counselling for people who have been negatively affective about their dyslexia throughout their lives. In addition to one of the main benefits of joining the membership area, a community of fellow dyslexic adults.
On her social media presence Natalie is one of the most vocal dyslexia advocate on TikTok with over 60,000 followers and 2,300 LinkedIn Natalie posts facts about dyslexia, the ways her organisation is helping to change the perception of dyslexia, her own and others personal experience (good and bad) with the condition and how dyslexia can overlap with other conditions on the neurodiverse spectrum such as ADHD.
Una Buckley is the founder of Blossom4life, which provides ongoing support to
people with learning differences, mainly dyslexia, offering a range of support
from online courses to individual assessments to diversity and inclusion
programmes for universities and corporations.
While she has been running her business for the past number of years, she
has also completed her qualifications in child psychology, fashion and design
with previously receiving a BComm. and MSc from UCC in Ireland where she
received Scholar of the Year award. She is now also guests’ lecturers in MTU
University in Ireland.
Una is dyslexic which is why she is so passionate about helping others who
struggled just like her.
Jack Churchill is proud to be the Co-Founder & CEO of Scanning Pens & Succeed With Dyslexia. He holds a BSc in Information Systems & Publishing from Oxford Brookes University.
He established the assistive technology company Scanning Pens 20 years ago because he’s passionate about technology being a great enabler. Being dyslexic himself, Jack is determined to help young people and adults with reading difficulties reach their potential. For many years Scanning Pens technology has been used in education both in classrooms and exams, but is now being used in the workplace and even in correctional facilities. In recent years Scanning Pens has been fortunate enough to win a number of prominent awards including BETT Company of the Year 2020, the Tech & Learning Awards 2020 & the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2021 for International Trade.
Jack is proud to be a board member of the British Assistive Technology Association (BATA) and the US Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) and be a DIT Export Champ. He lives near Bath in Wiltshire with his wife Charlotte and three children.
According to the British Dyslexia Association of which Darren is an Ambassador they state on their website “Unable to complete his formal schooling due to undiagnosed dyslexia and ADHD, Darren first built a career in retail, rising through the ranks of Sainsbury’s and Tesco until he reached managerial level in Safeway. In 2011, with his business partner Kelly Holbrook, Darren set up Spotless Cleaning, which became one of the biggest cleaning companies in the South West. They then set up several successful businesses to create the Spotless Group.
Darren and Kelly went on to create a group of companies under the banner Global Dyslexia Group, which included a digital marketing agency for the dyslexia sector, motivational speaking, and support for schools and parents in understanding dyslexia. They also provided corporate training for large companies focusing on how to support staff with dyslexia and other Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs).
In only a couple of years, he knew that many children today have the same unhappy experiences in school because of undiagnosed dyslexia and he asked his old school if he could go in and speak at an assembly. Since that first talk, Darren’s success as an inspirational speaker has generated invitations to speak at hundreds of venues all over the UK and across the globe.
In 2019, Darren was recognised as SWA Male Entrepreneur of the Year for his string of successful businesses. His activism for dyslexia was also recognised that year, when he was invited to become a global partner for the International Dyslexia Association, an Ambassador for the British Dyslexia Association, and a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group advising the UK government on issues associated with SpLDs.
Dr Nancy Doyle is an Occupational Psychologist and Management Science researcher who founded the non-profit organization Genius Within. Nancy is neurodivergent and dropped out of school herself at 14 years old, only to come back and finish her education on her own terms as an adult. Her research has been pivotal in understanding the effectiveness of workplace adjustments. Her social media presence is a combination of lived experience, research summaries and signposting to services. You can find out more about her research here: https://www.bbk.ac.uk/research/centres/neurodiversity-at-work and more about her company, which is majority ND owned, led and staffed, here: https://geniuswithin.org/10-year-impact-report-2021/
CEO, social entrepreneur, author and speaker Kate is one of the leading voices on changing the narrative around the perception of dyslexic for nearly two decades. Kate began her first company Xtraordinary People in 2005 Xtraordinary People and began a campaign to get teachers trained to recognise dyslexia and provide effective support, as well as highlight the many talents and abilities that dyslexics have. This campaign went on to win the “SMK Social Inclusion Award’ and was presented in Downing Street by Gordon Brown. Having stood for election in 2005 Kate’s campaign for dyslexic people to be recognised won global recognition and a TedX talk.
In 2016, Kate launched Made By Dyslexia. An information hub with resources for teachers, parents, kids or the workplace. All the resources are designed to show the strengths or “superpowers” of Dyslexic people. In an easy to understand format and language. The toolkits provided has resources such as posters, factsheets and the videos provided are some of the most famous dyslexic people in the world such as Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver and Orlando Bloom and Princess Biatrix
Kate has several videos, books and her award winning talks can be seen here
Originally from Cork, Aidan qualified from college with a Degree in Arts and Applied Phycology from UCC and a Masters in leadership from The Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. Aidan began his career in student welfare, first as The Students Union Welfare Officer in UCC and then spent more than three years in UL first as a Peer Mentoring Project Leader and then as a Development Coordinator having returned to UCC as a Student Welfare Officer for 5 years then became the Co-Founder of UnPlug, a start-up that “offer a range of programmes for focus and high performance in the age of distraction”.
However Aidan is probably best known for his work as part of Lexxic having started as a Project Manager, then Chief Operating Officer, before becoming CEO and currently in his position as chairman. According to Lexxic’s website “We empower individuals, teams and organisations. We partner with organisations to make a positive difference; creating Neurodiversity Smart® workplace cultures and delivering psychological support services to neurodivergent talent”.
Aidan uses his LinkedIn to be the campaign director for Neurodiversity Awareness Week, updates about some of the online and offline events Lexxic is running and sharing some of the information that others on this list post
John Hicks is a dyslexia consultant, therapeutic counsellor and parent coach. Since the dyslexia diagnosis of his daughter, ten years ago, John has helped the supporters of dyslexic learners with his online content that includes articles on The Studying With Dyslexia Blog as well as supporting an online community of parents known as Parenting Dyslexia With John Hicks. In 2019 John worked with the British Dyslexia Association to lobby MP’s in the UK to make changes to the education system that provided more support for dyslexic learners sharing data from his survey of 1300 parents about the emotional cost of dyslexia.
John is based in Cambridge, UK and has added an online therapy service for anyone who is neurodiverse who is struggling with poor self-esteem, anxiety or depression.To find out more about John’s work go to https://johnhicks.co/about_john
Lisa Hodge – Talks about #dyslexia, #dyslexiasupport, #dyslexiaawareness, #dyslexiaeducation, and #procurementprofessionals
I am a founding member and co-chair of the Defence Dyslexia Network within the MOD. I was only diagnosed with dyslexia 2 years ago at the beginning of 2021, which really provided that light bulb moment for me, the feeling that I am not stupid and that there was a reason why I struggled with certain things. I am also a mum to a dyslexic child and a wife of a dyslexic husband, so dyslexia is very prominent in our family, it is only my daughter who does seem to be showing signs. I co-founded the network because I wanted to make a difference in the workforce, I wanted other dyslexics to know that they were not alone and that they were supported, also I wanted spread awareness across the organisation, without understanding and support then feeling like you are succeeding and that you belong is difficult. The network won an award for empowerment in a hybrid world within the D&I space, which we are really proud of. I post everything and anything related to dyslexia, the good, the bad the funny and anything in between, because it gives me a platform to spread that awareness further. To change how dyslexics feel in society we need understanding from everyone and that only happens if information is shared, and people have the ability to ask questions. I am very open and honest about dyslexia and mental health as I do believe there is a link there, I also think it is important to share our stories, my mantra is my story now could be someone’s lifeline in a few years time. We can succeed we just need the right tools and support to do so.
Amanda is the founder and CEO of Do-IT Solutions, a tech for good company that provides tools, training and consultancy in the area of neurodiversity and wellbeing
Amanda is an emeritus professor at the University of South Wales and an honorary professor at Cardiff University. She has clinical and research experience and founded and ran a transdisciplinary clinical and research team for 20 years relating to neurodiversity. She is a qualified GP and has a Ph.D. relating to emerging adulthood and neurodiversity.
Amanda has been on government advisory boards (e.g., Hidden Impairment National Group) as well as advising UK and international charities in the field of neurodiversity. This includes being a patron of the Dyspraxia Association in New Zealand, and Chair of Movement Matters UK. She is also the current chair of the ADHD Foundation and works closely with many other charities working in this area
She has written 9 books and more than 100 research papers in the field and her latest book published in 2021:’Neurodiversity at Work, Drive Innovation, Performance and Productivity with a Neurodiverse Workforce’ has won the Business Book Awards 2022 for EDI.
Amanda has a new book on Neurodiversity in Education coming out in first quarter of 2023.
Raising standards are important to Amanda and Do-IT Solutions were the first company in Wales to gain Disability Confident Leader status. She has delivered more than 23 webinars with DWP to raise awareness of neurodiversity, disability and Disability Confident campaign,
Amanda has lived experience of neurodiversity first hand, as she sees herself as neurodivergent as well as being a parent of neurodivergent children, and grandchildren. Amanda’s passion to make changes in society and increase the chances of showcasing talents for neurodivergent children and adults especially in work settings remains as strong as it was 30 years ago.