Garnish IT team with dyslexics

They may find reading difficult, but people with dyslexia have much to offer the IT department as they are streets ahead when it...

They may find reading difficult, but people with dyslexia have much to offer the IT department as they are streets ahead when it comes to lateral thinking.

That is a finding of world authority on dyslexia John Stein, professor at Magdalen College. Oxford.

Although dyslexics have poor short-term memory that causes them to get linear strings of letters and words out of sequence, they can make strong long-range connections and are good at seeing unusual associations.

This is particularly useful for some aspects of computing. For example, a key ingredient of clever programming is mastering the power of recursion - functions that can call themselves ad infinitum. Dyslexics are particularly good at perceiving a complete pattern of interaction in a program.

Stein says dyslexia affects 20% of men and 5% of women. Although it stems from a mildly impaired development of certain nerves, he believes the condition enables the clever, long-range connections that we admire in good entrepreneurs, artists and high level computer people.

To ensure successful projects and a balanced IT department it would appear that every IT director should take steps to employ a sprinkle of dyslexics.

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