The Klaasroom: A word with our CEOSeptember 16, 2022
Blog Homepage/ The Klaasroom: How to Turn Dyslexia Into a Superpower!
The Klaasroom: How to Turn Dyslexia Into a Superpower!
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month! Dyslexia is a neurological condition caused by a different wiring of the brain. There is no cure for dyslexia and individuals with this condition must learn coping strategies.
As we celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Month, our CEO, Klaas Lameijer, discusses his personal struggles with dyslexia and how he hasn't let it slow him down.
How do you feel about having dyslexia?
Klaas: Every disability comes with the development of an ability. Blind people hear better, deaf people have a better sense of their surroundings and with being dyslexic you combine faster and better. You are trained to correct a misreading by making a combination of the possibilities of the options of what could be written and what makes sense. Reading a children's book to my kids was hard since they know exactly what was written after reading it a thousand times. But as soon as I found out that making up stories was more fun, they were just happily enjoying the attention Dad gave them.
What was it like when you found out you had dyslexia? How old were you?
Klaas: In my young days there was no knowledge about dyslexia so teachers were just telling me to practice more and thought I was lazy. I worked around it by just memorizing a complete article for a reading test. It was a humoristic article and the classroom had to laugh about it because they could see I wasn't even looking at the paper.
During my Economics study at University Groningen I only opted for verbal tests. I can express myself pretty well. Symbaloo was attractive to me from the first time I saw it. The visual user interface with colors and icons work very well for me.
What are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning?
Klaas: I think the weaknesses are clear: you have reading difficulties and that can lead to misinterpretations and misunderstandings. The strengths are consequences of trying to compensate for your dislexia. I am a pretty good presenter because reading a paper to an audience was no option.
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What helps you cope with learning and studying?
Klaas: Reading things several times to have the right understanding and meaning helped me get closer to a photographic memory. I was twice as slow at reading but many times more solid in memorizing and understanding.
What are some challenges you have overcome while coping with dyslexia?
Klaas: Not being aware that I was dyslexic and just finding a way to cover it up was the hardest part. If you know it, things are easier because there are many ways to help you.
What advice would you give to younger students with dyslexia?
Klaas: I believe that everybody has a grade of dyslexia; some people only stumble over one word. Don't be ashamed of your dyslexia or potential dyslexia. You are in great company. Richard Branson: Entrepreneur, Investor, Founder of Virgin Group once said, “It is not a disadvantage; it is merely a different way of thinking.” George Washington: First U.S. President and Pablo Picasso: Painter, Artist. People that created a different way of thinking. Myself: Klaas Lameijer, I mastered in always thinking the opposite because I was misreading things. That training brought me a fortune not in money but in independent thinking.
Klaas Lameijer - CEO @ Symbaloo
I am Klaas, CEO of Symbaloo. When we launched Symbaloo in the USA, I was a newbie in the Education space. Now, being ten years in, I can call myself a veteran.
During that ten years, Symbaloo has helped thousands of teachers and millions of students in the USA by creating visual online lesson plans and online classrooms.