When I started this feature, I wasn’t sure how much content I’d have to share. But I’m happy to report happy stories abound!
This week’s “hit of happy”: a super hero, a super gardener, and a super inclusive music business:
1. Spider-man is dyslexic
Have you seen this summer’s hit film, Spider-man – Far From Home? The July issue of Dyslexic Advantage says that Tom Holland, the British actor who has played Spider-man more often than any actor, was identified as dyslexic in grade 7. Makes sense: dyslexic kids are superheroes on screen and in real life!
2. Horticulturalist Francis Tophill for making gardening cool again!
I was reading my favourite magazine on holiday, and came across a wonderful interview with Frances Tophill who is a horticulturalist and television host (currently Gardener’ World on BBC2 in the UK) . In the May 2019 issue of Country Living magazine she explains that dyslexia and gardening runs in her family:
“My grandad was dyslexic – a trait passed to me and my sisters – but he was an excellent gardener. It’s satisfying to do something well when you have to work hard academically.” ~Francis Tophill
She explains that gardening has a positive mental health impact:
“Gardening can be empowering when you’re struggling with other elements of life.” ~Francis Tophill
3. Universal Music CEO David Joseph explains why atypical minds, from pop stars to activists, are key to the future
Joseph says that there’s a high incidence of neurodiversity in the music business:
“I’ve dealt with quite a few artists who’ve written things that have changed people’s lives, but you get a text from them and realise they’re dyslexic. When we started talking about this there was a general openness from those with dyspraxia and dyslexia. There are lots of them.”
He describes the “quiet revolution” that is taking place at Universal Music.
“We want artists to flourish and that means introducing new styles of working where people can discuss difference.” ~David Joseph
What he’s talking about is inclusion, ensuring that difference is respected and supported in the workplace.
“This has meant introducing a whole range of new styles of working, starting with making sure people can talk about their differences (and that bosses listen). There’s also discussion around flexible working hours — important in an industry where artists sometimes work through the night, or may struggle on a crowded Tube, or start at the crack of dawn. They already have summer hours (finishing at 1pm on Fridays) “as a reward for the extra time people spend on email and phone at home”.
Love this quote:
“And if you start embracing creativity, by definition you are embracing neurodiversity, because it’s all interconnected.”
(He says the inspiration for his thinking came from the book Quiet by Susan Cain about introverts who have changed history.)