Octavia Spencer says having dyslexia actually gave her an edge when it came to solving puzzles

By Jodi Guglielmi
March 29, 2017 12:38 PM

Octavia Spencer doesn’t let her battle with dyslexia hold her back.

The actress, 46, opened up about growing up with dyslexia, revealing how her teachers taught her how to overcome her learning disability in school.

“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,” Spencer told WENN. “I was actually tested for the gifted program in my school because I was more auditorially inclined than visually.”

Spencer — who stars in the new drama Gifted, out April 7 — said having dyslexia actually gave her an edge when it came to solving puzzles.

“I just remember thinking differently. I could solve puzzles quicker than the average child,” she said. “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.”

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She credits her teachers for giving her the motivation to overcome her learning disability and pinpoint her other strengths.

“You have to allow kids to be kids,” she said. “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.”

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