I read Kevin O’Leary’s Cold Hold Truth over the holidays. As to business, money and life, his perspective reminded me of the axiom, “Facts are our friends.” I most enjoyed the early chapters that explored his family of origin and early influences. O’Leary faces the challenge of dyslexia and was blessed to have early intervention through the active concern of his mother who accessed care at Montreal’s Children Hospital. Dr. Sam Rabinovitch and Dr. Margie Golick gave O’Leary both skills and perspectives on dyslexia that helped him harness his strengths and get ahead of his weaknesses. I believe this early intervention is a huge contributor as to why we know his name and recognize him in Canada today.
It’s no exaggeration to say that enrolling in special education changed my life completely. To be told that my dyslexia had an upside shifted my perspective on myself and the world around me, and it left me with five very important principles that carried me through the rest of my education, all the way to my MBA and into my business life.
1. Stick it out through difficulties. You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to finish.
2. Stand up for yourself.
3. Explain what you need, clearly.
4. Ask questions.
5. If you don’t understand the answer, ask for a better, clearer explanation.
Margie gave me this list, reminding me again and again that no one else would do these things for me. I had to do them for myself. Cold Hard Truth p. 22
Until a child has the means to advocate for themselves parents, teachers and others must do it for them. Early intervention with dyslexia has proven helpful over and over. Its important to intervene before the spirit of a child is crushed and they become infected with a resentment that spoils most of their life. O’Leary goes on to say, “There is a lot of shame when children are told over and over they can’t do something. These children rarely grow up to be success stories. Margie Golick removed that shame at the exact right time in my life, before it took root and hampered me, and for that I’ll be forever grateful. I hope everyone finds his or her Margie.”