GCHQ harnessing analytical skills of 120 dyslexic and dyspraxic spies

Intelligence agency says it can analyse complex information in a "dispassionate, logical and analytical" way

GCHQ (the Government Communications Headquarters) has revealed that it employs over 100 dyslexic and dyspraxic 'neuro-diverse' spies as they possess many of the analytical skills needed to help fight terrorism.

The Cheltenham-based British intelligence agency said it was drawing on their ability to analyse complex information in a "dispassionate, logical and analytical" way.

People with dyslexia and dyspraxi don't always excel when it comes to reading and writing but are often often extremely skilled at deciphering facts from patterns or events.

The chairman of the dyslexic and dyspraxic support community at GCHQ, simply referred to as "Matt" for anonymity reasons, told The Sunday Times: "What people don't realise is that people with neuro diversity usually have a 'spikyskills' 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 spacial-perception awareness and creativity is in the top one percent of my peer group."

GCHQ, which has a workforce of approximately 5,300, said it employs some 120 "neuro-diverse" staff to fight terrorism and root out hackers.

A GCHQ official said: "Neuro-diverse individuals can bring additional value to the full spectrum of roles and jobs across the department."

In order to address the UK skills shortage, the organisation is actively trying to get more people interested in cybersecurity through competitions run such as the Cyber Security Challenge UK.

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