Octavia Spencer’s journey from the Alabama public school system to the silver screen is an inspiring one. The Academy Award-winning actress recently opened up about how her dyslexia has helped shape the woman she is today.
“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,” the Hidden Figures leading lady explains.
While promoting her new film Gifted, Spencer spoke on the discoveries she came across through her dyslexia. “I just remember thinking differently,” she begins. “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 gives a lot of credit to her teachers in forming her perspective on dyslexia, making the point that it’s important to “nurture their [kids’] thirst for knowledge,” from whatever perspective that may be. “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.”
One thing she does believe in is a wage increase for educators. The Help actress said, “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.”
School was a guiding force, though in an interview with People magazine, Spencer gave her late mother all the credit for her determination and faith in her daughter’s abilities. “I had a really strong mom who made me and my sisters understand there’s no limitations placed on our lives—except for what we place on ourselves.”
Gifted is set to hit theaters Wednesday, April 12.