Wednesday, 28 January 2015

GCHQ employs more than 100 dyslexic and dyspraxic spies

GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham. Photo: ALAMY

GCHQ employs more than 100 dyslexic and dyspraxic spies
The British intelligence agency uses dyslexics' ability to analyse complex information
in a 'dispassionate, logical and analytical' in the fight against terror

By Alice Philipson
GCHQ employs more than 100 dyslexic and dyspraxic 'neuro-diverse' spies
to harness their analytical skills in the fight against terror.
The British intelligence agency uses their ability to analyse complex information
in a "dispassionate, logical and analytical" way to combat threats such as foreign espionage.
While many people with dyslexia struggle with reading or writing,
they are often extremely skilled at deciphering facts from patterns or events.
IT specialist Matt, 35, chairman of the dyslexic and dyspraxic support community at GCHQ,
told The Sunday Times: "What people don't realise is that people with neuro diversity
usually have a 'spikyskills' profile, which means that certain skill areas
will be below par and others may be well above," he said.
"My reading might be slower than some individuals and maybe my spelling is appalling,
and my handwriting definitely is ... but if you look at the positive side,
my 3D spacial-perception awareness and creativity is in the top 1% of my peer group."
(Being slightly dyslexic I simply had to highlight that line, we've probably experienced being run down for years.)

Some 120 "neuro-diverse" staff employed by the intelligence agency.
Children are diagnosed with dyslexia for a range of reasons including those whose difficulty
in reading is unexpected, those who show a discrepancy between reading and listening comprehension or pupils who do not make meaningful progress in reading
even when provided with high-quality support.
The NHS estimates that 4-8 per cent of all schoolchildren in England have some sort of dyslexia.
Dyspraxia, which affects sufferers' co-ordination, is diagnosed in around one in 20 children.
A GCHQ official said: "Neuro-diverse individuals can bring additional value to the full spectrum
of roles and jobs across the department."

p.s. When my hair is short people insist on telling me how much I resemble M aka Judy Dench
       so maybe I've missed my calling - I should have been a spy.

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