On New Year's Eve, a dear and trusted friend told me about Malcolm Gladwell's new book,David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.
Specifically, she was telling me about the chapter on dyslexia. Something like 30% of all successful entrepreneurs are dyslexic. The chapter is named David Boies: You wouldn't wish dyslexia on your child, or would you?
I read that chapter, and it was nice little summary/intro to the much more scientifically researched book that I am entrenched in called The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain by Brock and Fernette Eide.
Though I am reading it very slowly, sometimes mumbling phrases out loud over and over again before my fiction-soaked brain can absorb the meaning, I am quite astonished at the number and variety of highly successful people who have dyslexia including the inventor of the cd player, Einstein, and Leonardo da Vinci.
For example, one featured individual, Jack, states, "I still can't spell and I still don't know my multiplication tables, and I've never read a book cover to cover without books on tape, but hey-it's okay! I'm doing just fine."
The authors continue, "Just fine for Jack includes a bachelor's degree in conservation and resource studies from the University of California-Berkeley, a master's in wildlife biology from the University of Montana, and a degree in scientific illustration from the University of California-Santa Cruz."
The Dyslexia Advantage is giving me great insight into the way Edmund's mind works. Some chapters and talents don't really seem to apply to my son. For example, unlike many dyslexics, Edmund does not really care for Legos and never has.
But these statements lay out some of his struggles with conventional schooling perfectly:
A classic example is the multiple-choice exam. Cynics might be forgiven for suspecting that multiple-choice exams-with their terse, dense, noncontextual sentences-were designed specifically to trip up individuals with dyslexia who excel in detecting secondary meanings or distant word relationships. These examinees will often pore over a multiple-choice exam like a lawyer vetting a contract, finding loopholes, ambiguities, and potential exceptions where none are intended. While their classmates evaluate questions with a "reasonable doubt" standard, they search for "proof beyond a shadow of a doubt." As a result, even a hint of uncertainty leads them to reject answers that most students would identify as correct. If their reading is also somewhat dodgy, the multiple-choice exam usually becomes a nightmare. But even dyslexic students who read longer passages or whole books with excellent comprehension may struggle with multiple-choice exams.Even at St. Jude's School for Kids Who Want to Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too, Edmund struggles with his online audio Faith and Life religion tests, precisely because they are multiple-choice. Patrick and I have gone over his wrong answers, and the reasons he gives for not choosing the correct answer often involve that it was not correct enough, or that the answer he chose was correct and more open-ended.
So, that's the tome I'm wrestling with these days. Let's hear what you've been reading: