Belfast Telegraph

Octavia Spencer: 'Dyslexia gave me an edge'

The Help star will forever be grateful to the teachers who refused to accept her learning issues were a problem.

Octavia Spencer was a gifted child because her dyslexia gave her an edge over her schoolmates.

Teachers in Montgomery, Alabama noticed something special about the future Oscar-winning actress and rather than make her learning issues a negative, they pushed her to make the most of her puzzle-solving skills.

"I was a dyslexic child and am a dyslexic adult; that doesn't really mean that you're not intelligent - it just means that your brain functions differently," Octavia tells WENN. "I was actually tested for the gifted programme in my school because I was more auditorially (sic) inclined than visually.

"I just remember thinking differently. I could solve puzzles quicker than the average child. I would start with the mazes at the end and go to the front and be done in, like, 30 seconds. My deductive reasoning was very important."

Spencer will forever be grateful to the teachers who worked with her and allowed her to be a bright kid.

"You have to allow kids to be kids," she adds. "You also need to nurture their thirst for knowledge. I don't know that allowing them to skip grades is good because then they end up in a grade with people who are much more mature than they are.

"I had great teachers and I think teachers should be paid as much as athletes. When you think about it they spend the majority of the day with your kids so they should be compensated.

"They're also teaching them and shaping their views about themselves. I feel very fortunate that in the public school system in Montgomery, Alabama, I had some wonderful teachers."

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