Dyspraxia Combats Terrorism

5 min readMay 10, 2021

If you thought that you’d misread the title to this article or I had written down the wrong thing, then let me assure you that this is not the case. So therefore how can Dyspraxia Combat Terrorism? I mean Dyspraxia isn’t exactly a weapon that can be used to combat terrorists...or can it!

GCHQ Are Hiring Those With Dyspraxia To Combat Terrorism (And Other Related Problems)

It is no secret that the world is facing many threats today: from rogue nations to terrorists initiating some attack on the country. As such the 'Government Communications Headquarters' or GCHQ works to help foil and halt these attempts. This is done by gathering intelligence and information and passing it on to the relevant authorities, such as MI5, MI6, the government, etc.

Based in Cheltenham in a building known as the donut (due to its shape), the work that has taken place in this building has probably saved the lives of millions over the years. In fact the GCHQ itself goes back to when it was founded on 1st November 1919.

So what has this got to do with Dyspraxia? Well in the last few years, it has been revealed that GCHQ are looking to recruit people with Dyspraxia as well as other conditions (mainly Dyslexia). And the reason for this comes down to some unique quirks in the thinking patterns that many of us possess compared to the rest of the population.

As GCHQ IT specialist Matt, 35, chairman of the dyslexic and dyspraxic support community at GCHQ, which supports the 120 members of staff, puts it: “What people don’t realise is that people with the neuro-diversity usually have a ‘spiky skills’ profile which means that certain skill areas will be below par and others may be well above.

“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 spatial-perception awareness and creativity is in the top 1% of my peer group.”

So it seems that the head of the GCHQ has become aware that those of us with Dyspraxia (as well as other disabilities like Dyslexia) have advantages that can be used to help the secret services with preventing attacks against our country. These strengths include the ability to notice pattern recognition as well as the ability to think strategically and find novel ways to solve problems and achieve desired outcomes. For more information on the benefits of Dyspraxia, I’d recommend having a read at a former article I wrote which you may not be aware of called ‘Advantages Of Dyspraxia; Just What Are They?

Anyhow, Jeremy Fleming, the director of the wing of the intelligence service responsible for signals and digital intelligence, has also said how neurodiverse employees were integral to the workings of the nation’s security services — adding that the agency has three times the national average of dyslexic people in its apprenticeship programmes.

Speaking at a conference put on by charity Made By Dyslexia, which also featured comments from Sir Richard Branson and health secretary Matt Hancock, Mr Fleming said: “With the right mix of minds anything is possible, and dyslexics are definitely part of that mix.

He added that the dyslexic workforce currently employed by GCHQ were in particular useful in “joining the dots, simplification, seeing the bigger picture but also… team working — an organisation of 10,000 people is a big business and nothing happens in my business unless we work properly as a team”.

Pattern Recognition

Whilst not all Dyspraxics, Dyslexics, etc have this ability to detect patterns (information) out of randomness (data) many do have this ability: as well as other abilities. As such they are able to be of service to the secret service in that they are able to spot things which many others wouldn’t even detect.

In many ways this ability to spot relevant patterns out of the randomness of data can be seen as big picture thinking: a positive trait associated with many who have Dyspraxia. Personally I am not a big picture thinker but know some friends who have Dyspraxia who are just that. In fact one friend comes to mind who has Dyslexia is also a big picture thinker as well.

It is worth pointing out that Alan Turing, one of the earlier members of the GCHQ, would later be diagnosed as having Aspergers syndrome. If you are unsure as to who he is, Turing was a mathematician who’d during World War 2, was able to break the German Enigma code.

During the war, the German fleet were all communicating with each over via code, using a specific coding machine to pass information to each other regarding their movements, plans of attack, etc. Thanks to some help from the Polish resistance, the allies were able to get hold of one of the machines which enabled one to hear the code. Unfortunately nobody in the allies at the time was able to crack the code.

That is until Alan Turing, working alongside a team of other scientists in Bletchley Park, was able to crack the code: enabling the allies to know what the Germans were all saying to one another. Turing even went on to build an early computer which could help translate the codes even more quickly. (For more information on this, I would recommend you watch the movie Imitation Game).

Anyway through his efforts, Turing was seen as one of the influential figures to help turn the tide of the Second World War. And it was due in part to his code breaking abilities (one could say in part due to him having Aspergers Syndrome) that history turned out the way that it did.

Anyhow from what the members of GCHQ have figured out, some of us with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, etc may have the perfect traits for pattern recognition and generally being a good spy. Hence it is for this reason that there has been a drive to recruit more of us into the GCHQ.

So in a roundabout way, the title of this article Dyspraxia Combats Terrorism, is actually quite adept!

Anyhow if you like to know more about Dyspraxia, including the strengths of having Dyspraxia, I recommend you read my book ‘Dyspraxia: How To Thrive As An Adult’ by Alex Gadd. You can find that by clicking here.

Else if you would like to be in a group of fellow Dyspraxics and find more information on this disability, then why not join the Dyspraxia Support Group on Facebook.




I am a Dyspraxic who likes to help others with Dyspraxia with improving their lives and learning more about Dyspraxia.