Early this summer I was driving a car full of 13-14 year old boys from Point A to Point B. One of the guys was visiting from out of town, and I was asking him a few getting-to-know-you questions. Somehow he ended up saying that he'd been diagnosed with dyslexia and has trouble reading. He then laughed and said, "I guess I'm just kind of stupid." So I asked if he knew who Albert Einstein was, and of course he said yes. So I said, "Well, did you know that Albert Einstein had trouble learning to read? In fact, I think he was about 12 before he really learned to read." There was complete silence in my car for about 30 seconds. Then, from the back seat, I heard this small "Wow." There's a new book out, written by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide. It's called The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain.
This book is so new I've only been able to look at it online. But the flap was enough for me, and I wanted to put it out here as soon as possible, at the start of a new school year, for all the kids (and their parents and teachers) who have struggled with reading and think they might be kind of stupid. The premise of the book is this: your brain is different, and different is good.
Here's the blurb from the flap:
If you ask contractors, engineers, rocket scientists, or even famous mystery novelists if they had trouble with reading in school, an astonishing number will answer: "Yes, how did you know?"
Authors Brock and Fernette Eide know why people in these professions tend to have had difficulties with reading and writing. The cause is simple: their brains are different. Individuals who have dyslexia, whether it is mild or severe, think uniquely about what they see and learn in their everyday lives, whether it's in a classroom, at a job, or in their own home.
In this revolutionary book, the Eides use new brain science and their expertise in neurology and learning disorders to explain how individuals with dyslexia not only perceive the written word differently, but also conceive space more intuitively, see connections between unrelated objects, and are able to make great leaps creatively that others simply miss.
Presenting a variety of case studies and true stories to support the science, The Dyslexic Advantage demonstrates that each individual with dyslexia is unique, and faces specific challenges while, at the same time, experiences remarkable talent and ability. Carefully explaining how four areas dyslexics excel in appear in the activities of children and adults, the Eides provide useful advice on how to maximize an individual's potential in: material reasoning (used by architects and engineers); interconnected reasoning (scientists and designers), narrative reasoning (novelists and lawyers); and dynamic reasoning (economists and entrepreneurs.)
Putting emphasis on the advantages of the dyslexic brain rather than the well-trod challenges with reading and writing, the Eides blend advice from successful individuals who learned to excel at "being dyslexic" with findings from their research that parents, educators, and individuals with dyslexia can use to help maximize their dyslexic advantage.
Providing the first complete portrait of dyslexia, the Eides show that it is not a condition people have, but rather a part of who someone is―which can be cultivated as a great strength.