Late Discovery

Robert Ballard feels his most important discovering underwater hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean. But he is best known for finding the wreck of the Titanic. He was only recently diagnosed with dyslexia. Looking back, Ballard credits his neuro-diversity with allowing him to build the mental map to find the wreck in the wreck 12,000 feet down in the pitch black deep ocean.

Take a listen: https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2021/05/19/robert-ballard-dyslexia-titanic-vpx.cnn

READY TO LAUNCH

Dreams don’t show up on government surveys or school league tables, but they are the fuel that makes us want to get up and get on. For young people to feel that the low road is the only one available to them is nonsense. We won’t climb out of recession, or meet the challenges of climate change, by thinking small.

Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Space Scientist, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)

We’ve gone over a lot of information. Here is the gist of what we’ve talked about:

What We’re Going to Talk About gave us an overview of dyslexia.

What Dyslexia Isn’t and What It Is cleared up some misunderstandings about dyslexia. We learned that dyslexia is a different wiring of the brain.

Why Me? Cultures all over the world have people who are dyslexic. But because English has so many words that don’t follow the spelling rules, we have a harder time learning to read. Both boys and girls can be dyslexic, and dyslexia tends to run in families.

What You Need to Read Fluently dove into the inner workings of the brain. We learned that reading takes spoken language and turns it into something that makes sense using your eyes. Crossing these wires can cause the problems of dyslexia. People with dyslexia have trouble with poor word recall and sounding words out.

How We Learn talked about how we learn scripts that help us take shortcuts in life. To learn a script, we start on the right side of our brains. As we learn the script, it is store on the left side of the brain. Dyslexics don’t easily move the scripts needed to read into the left side. Instead, you read in your right brains. We explore the nuts and bolts in How We Learn – Details. And finally, we see How We Learn to Read. All this explains why Reading is Hard Work For Dyslexics.

Learning Differently explored the positives of a strong right brain hemisphere — by not taking shortcuts, you have a lot more interesting ideas, and see things others might miss.

Creativity is the payoff for dyslexia. Creativity is made up of things like seeing the gist of a topic, pattern recognition, insight and imagination — all right brain activities. Because dyslexics are more active on the right side of your brains, you might be more creative.

Fall Down Six Times, Stand Up Seven. You can do this. And it’s going to be a lot more interesting than going in a straight line. Find your passion in life, and follow it.

Never let anyone tell you you’re stupid. Take this obstacle and make it the reason to have a big life, because if you can overcome that obstacle, your gonna be that much further ahead than anyone else …

Orlando Bloom, star of Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Blackhawk Down.

Words to Live By

Speak up for what you need. Play to your strengths and do something you are passionate about. Trust yourself when you spot opportunities or relationships that others have missed.

There are as many ways to thrive with dyslexia as there are dyslexics. How are you going to succeed?

References

Aderin-Pocock, Maggie. “Let’s Inspire the next Generation of Scientists.” Telegraph. March 13, 2009, sec. Technology.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/4985076/Lets-inspire-the-next-generation-of-scientists.html.

Bloom, Orlando. Orlando Bloom and Dyslexia – His Experience, Thoughts & Advice, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLTSPmoH2eE.

Duckworth, Angela. 2016. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. 1st ed. New York: Scribner.

Eide, Brock, and Fernette Eide. 2011. The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain. New York: Hudson Street Press.

Shaywitz, Sally E. 2003. Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level. 1st ed. New York: Knopf.

DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE

As children, many successful dyslexics often found a subject they were passionate about. They read everything they could find on their topic. They saw the words about their favorite subject used over and over. Repetition stored these words as scripts in their brains, and they became sight words. With time and hard work, the kids became fluent readers in their areas of interest.

“Because science was an interest and a passion, I started reading about the subject. I was reading about it in school and I was reading about it at home. Suddenly my marks kept going up and up and up and I was at the top of the class.”

— Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Space Scientist, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)

When you explore what you love, you become a better reader. That makes you more successful elsewhere. Best of all, when you find a passion, you aren’t learning about it because you have to, you are learning about it because you love it! There is no deadline, and no test at the end. It’s no big deal if you make mistakes while you’re learning. Your interest carries you through mastering your subject.

“Since I was the stupidest kid in my class, it never occurred to me to try and be perfect, so I’ve always been happy as a writer to just entertain myself. That’s an easier place to start.”

— Stephen J. Cannell, Actor and Emmy Award-winning TV producer, writer and novelist.

“But,” you say, “I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. I don’t know what interests me.”

Don’t worry if it takes a little while to find your passion. Most people are only just beginning to figure out what they like or dislike by the time they hit 7th Grade. So you’ve got time to explore, well, everything.

You can start by simply noticing what you like to think about when your mind wanders. If you could do anything in the world, what would you do? What do you care about?

Do you remember the story Green Eggs and Ham? The poor guy in the book refuses to try Green Eggs and Ham, because he just knows he won’t like them. Sam-I-Am pesters him until he gives in, and finally tries Green Eggs and Ham. Guess what? He likes them!

You can only like something you’ve tried, so try everything! Be patient — you often have to try something a couple of times in several different ways to discover what you really love.

After trying different activities for a while, your lifelong passion may creep up on you. You might be dabbling in something and suddenly realize how it all fits together. A lot of people can remember the moment they saw how cool a subject was.

“I fell in love with drama at school, where I struggled with other lessons because of my dyslexia.”

— Orlando Bloom, star of Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Blackhawk Down

What Dyslexics are Often Good At

Dyslexics use big picture theories and ideas as a framework. Your 3-D skills are often better than most people’s. You rotate images and information in your brain.

Those skills allow you to put ideas together in ways never seen before. You thrive at seeing patterns and connections between things and ideas that others often miss, leading to brilliant insights. All this allows you to find new ways of doing things. These traits make dyslexics very successful in fields like:

  • Art, architecture and inventing — seeing the world differently is creativity
  • Acting and comedy – getting the gist of a character and showing them in ways that relate to other people. Or “thinking outside the box” to see new relationships between everyday ideas, some of which are absurdly funny
  • Business entrepreneurship, high finance, or money management — forecasting trends and seeing patterns in large amounts of data, or having insights on new areas of business growth
  • Engineering, building, electronics, and computer technology — analysis, pattern recognition, and seeing the big picture
  • Science — inferences, pattern detection and analysis. Science is all about asking good questions, then figuring out how the data fits together. The most exciting science is when the data fits together in unexpected ways.

    And if you like something not on this list, great! Don’t let this list limit you.

    “During [medical] residency, I recognized that I had dyslexia. And then I realized I had this gift for imaging… Radiology is where I belonged. I live in a world of patterns and images and I see things that no one else sees. Anomalies jump out at me like a neon sign.”

    — Beryl Benacerraf, M.D.

    REFERENCES

    Armstrong, Thomas. 2010. Neurodiversity: Discovering the Extraordinary Gifts of Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, and Other Brain Differences. 1st Da Capo Press ed. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Lifelong.

    Aderin-Pocock, Maggie. “Let’s Inspire the next Generation of Scientists.” Telegraph. March 13, 2009, sec. Technology. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/4985076/Lets-inspire-the-next-generation-of-scientists.html.

    Christen, Carol, and Richard Nelson Bolles. What Color Is Your Parachute? For Teens: Discover Yourself, Design Your Future, and Plan for Your Dream Job. Third edition. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2015.

    Duckworth, Angela. 2016. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. 1st ed. New York: Scribner.

    Eide, Brock, and Fernette Eide. 2011. The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain. New York: Hudson Street Press.

    Logan, Julie. 2009. “Dyslexic Entrepreneurs: The Incidence; Their Coping Strategies and Their Business Skills.” Wiley InterScience. https://doi.org/10.1002/dys.388.

    People.com. “Picks and Pans Review: Talking With… Stephen J. Cannell,” June 5, 1995. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20100782,00.html.

    Slipper, Dan. 2014. “BBC – Ouch! (Disability) – Features – The Dyslexia Factor.” Ouch! It’s a Disability Thing. 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/features/high_achieving_dyslexics.shtml.

    Shaywitz, Sally E.2003. Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level. 1st ed. New York: Knopf.

    Wolf, Maryanne. 2007. Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. 1st ed. New York, N.Y.: Harper.

    FALL DOWN SIX TIMES, STAND UP SEVEN — Japanese Proverb

    School is often hard for dyslexics. But high school grades and standardized tests aren’t actually very good at predicting how successful someone is later in life.

    What is a good predictor? How hard a person is willing to work for a goal.

    Failures

    There are a couple of different ways to look at failure. Some successful people look at failure as something to overcome. Others embrace failure, and see where it takes them. Neither approach is wrong. You’ll probably use both approaches at different times in your life.

    What these two approaches to failure have in common is that neither of them let failure win.

    COMEBACK FROM FAILURES

    If you listen to athletes who’ve come from behind to win a game, they usually say something like “We made some mistakes early, but we just focused on what we do best, and we were able to win the game.”

    Athletes who worry about what’s going wrong during the game are the ones who choke. They don’t do as well as they could if they just let the mistake go.

    Don’t worry about making mistakes. Be like a championship athlete: Focus on what you are good at, and try it again.

    “The looks, the stares, the giggles … I wanted to show everybody that I could do better and also that I could read.

    Earvin “Magic” Johnson— one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Basketball players of all time, now a successful businessman and co-owner of the LA Dodgers and the LA Sparks

    SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA FAIL BEFORE YOU CAN LEARN SOMETHING NEW

    But sometimes it’s more about what you learn along the way rather than the end result.

    Paper sticky notes started as a glue that wasn’t sticky enough — it barely held two pieces of paper together. When an inventor at 3M needed a bookmark, though, he realized that he needed a glue just strong enough to hold his bookmark in place.

    Microwave ovens were invented during World War II, when an engineer standing next to a radar set found a melted candy bar in his pocket. He realized that the microwaves produced by the radar set could be used to cook food.

    In 1928, some scientists were looking for a mold that could kill bacteria. Dust blown in through an open window contaminated the lab experiment. But as the scientists threw the samples out, they noticed that the bacteria on the contaminated plate had died. Penicillin mold blown in through the window had killed it. That mistake led to the development of penicillin-based antibiotics, and has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

    “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”

    Ms. Frizzle, in the Magic School Bus series, by Johanna Cole

    Although the people who discovered these ideas may not have been dyslexic, they used a trick dyslexics are good at: they looked at the mistakes differently than the rest of us, and saw greatness.

    Remember that everybody makes mistakes. You can recover from them, and they may lead you to interesting new places.

    “Failing isn’t a problem — interesting things happen along the way, as any entrepreneur will tell you. After all, I haven’t actually become an astronaut, but I still hope. And in the meantime, I do get to space with the instruments and technology I help create…”

    — Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Space Scientist, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)

    References

    “About Us.” n.d. 3M. Post-It®. Accessed November 13, 2017. https://www.post-it.com/3M/en_US/post-it/contact-us/about-us/.

    Aderin-Pocock, Maggie. “Let’s Inspire the next Generation of Scientists.” Telegraph. March 13, 2009, sec. Technology.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/4985076/Lets-inspire-the-next-generation-of-scientists.html.

    Beilock, Sian. 2010. Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal about Getting It Right When You Have To. 1st Free Press hardcover ed. New York: Free Press.

    Cyran, Pamela. 2012. “The 20 Most Fascinating Accidental Inventions.” Christian Science Monitor, October 5, 2012. https://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2012/1005/The-20-most-fascinating-accidental-inventions/Microwave-oven.

    Duckworth, Angela. 2016. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. 1st ed. New York: Scribner.

    Eide, Brock, and Fernette Eide. 2011. The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain. New York: Hudson Street Press.

    Logan, Julie. 2009. “Dyslexic Entrepreneurs: The Incidence; Their Coping Strategies and Their Business Skills.” Wiley InterScience. https://doi.org/10.1002/dys.388.

    Regents of the University of Michigan. n.d. “Success Story: Magic Johnson.” Dyslexia Help. Accessed September 6, 2016. http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/success-stories/magic-johnson.

    Rosenberg, Jennifer. 2017. “How Was Penicillin Discovered?” ThoughtCo. March 3, 2017. https://www.thoughtco.com/alexander-fleming-discovers-penicillin-1779782.

    Shaywitz. 2003. Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level. 1st ed. New York: Knopf.

    IMAGINATION — ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

    Think about all the memories of past events in your life. Those memories help you deal with your problems in the present.

    Project these memories into the future, with neurons firing in fuzzy patterns, and you have imagination. Imagination is rearranging knowledge and memories of the past to create new ideas.

    Merriam-Webster Definition of Imagination

    • the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality
    • a : creative ability
    • b : ability to confront and deal with a problem : resourcefulness — use your imagination and get us out of here
    • c : the thinking or active mind : interest — stories that fired the imagination
    • a : a creation of the mind; especially : an idealized or poetic creation
    • b : fanciful or empty assumption

    Because I was weak in recall, sequencing and reading, my imagination became a very strong muscle. When I was 12, stuffed animals still held some joy because I could project personalities onto them. There were real to me.”

    Stephen J. Cannell, Emmy award-winning screen-writer.

    THINK LIKE A DYSLEXIC

    Dyslexics may see many more creative possibilities in the same information available to anyone.

    When people say “think outside the box,” they are really saying “think like a dyslexic.”

    Jack Horner, Paleontologist

    THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX TO PUT SOMETHING INSIDE THE BOX

    When Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA Furniture, was just starting out in business, he overheard a designer complaining about how expensive it was to ship bulky furniture. Kamprad’s solution was to sell the furniture in a flat box, and let the buyer put it together. This technique had been tried for years, with limited success. What made it work for IKEA was that the pieces were designed to go together easily, and the simple instructions showed excactly how to put the furniture together, without using any words!

    Creativity is the key for any child with dyslexia — or for anyone, for that matter. Then you can think outside of the box. Teach them anything is attainable. Let them run with what you see is whatever they need to run with.

    Orlando Bloom, star of Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean and Blackhawk Down
    Relativity by M.C. Escher

    We don’t know if M.C. Escher was dyslexic. But he had a dyslexic trait — he was able to rotate and twist images in his mind to create fantastic scenes. He is now one of the most recognizable artists in the world.

    STANDARDIZED TESTS DON’T TEST FOR CREATIVITY

    Of course, seeing new connections may cost you speed and accuracy. That can be a problem. For example, to do well on standardized tests, you need to be fast and accurate with facts (left brain stuff), not spinning off new insights between ideas (right brain stuff), no matter how brilliant the ideas are.

    But you are being tested on how well you memorize facts or plug in numbers, not where your knowledge can take you. Sure, you need to know lots of the stuff you are being tested on. But brilliant new ideas don’t come out of standardized tests. They come out of creativity.

    “I see connections other people don’t. I can see around corners…”

    — Carol Moseley Braun, first African American woman elected to the US Senate, business entrepreneur.

    THE PAYOFF

    Dyslexics are often very creative people. That’s the payoff for your alternative brain wiring. You see how things go together in different ways. You rotate ideas into unique concepts. You put unconnected facts, theories and ideas together to invent something new and awesome.

    For a Dyslexic, anything is possible.

    REFERENCES

    Attebery, Liz. “Jack Horner, Paleontologist.” The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. 2016. http://dyslexia.yale.edu/horner.html.

    Eide, Brock, and Fernette Eide. The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain. New York: Hudson Street Press, 2011.

    Neal, Meghan. 2010. “Dyslexia’s Special Club: Actor Orlando Bloom Speaks Out.” The Huffington Post. June 9, 2010. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/09/dyslexias-special-club-ac_n_602380.html.

    People.Com. 1995. “Picks and Pans Review: Talking With… Stephen J. Cannell,” June 5, 1995. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20100782,00.html.

    Shaywitz, Sally E. Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 2003. (This book has recently been released as an updated second edition.)

    Stringer, Chris. 2012. Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth. 1st U.S. ed. New York: Times Books/Henry Holt and Co.

    The Power Of Dyslexia. n.d. “IKEA Founder Ingvar Kamprad Struggles With Dyslexia.” Accessed August 25, 2016. http://thepowerofdyslexia.com/ikea-founder-ingvar-kamprad/.

    Wallace, Jane. n.d. “Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun.” The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. Accessed November 9, 2017a. http://ycdc.yale.edu/braun.html?1.

    Wolf, Maryanne. 2007. Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. 1st ed. New York, N.Y.: Harper.

    CREATIVITY: INSIGHTS

    INSIGHT— THE AHA! PROCESS

    Insights are “Aha!” moments, when you suddenly see the answer to a problem.

    The insight process takes all the small bits of information your brain has gathered, looks at them without ruling anything out, and connects them together in a unique way to solve a problem. Insight is how you generate brilliant new ideas.

    Insight is an understanding of relationships that sheds light on or helps solve a problem.

    Dictionary.com

    WHO HAS INSIGHTS?

    Anybody can have insights.

    But because they happen in the big-picture right side of the brain — in an area dyslexics use more than fluent readers — you may be especially good at them.

    Why?

    The orange area in the right hemisphere is where we have flashes of insight. The insight is that bats hang upside down easier than girls do because they have less blood to flow to their heads.

    Everybody uses an area in the big-picture right hemisphere to have insights.

    Fluent readers use areas on the left side of the brain to store the meaning of a word. This means we don’t use the right sides of our brains as much.

    Fluent readers store words on the left hemisphere.

    Dyslexic readers use the right side of your brain more.

    Dyslexic reader realizing that bats can hang upside down longer than girls because they have less blood rushing to their heads. Dyslexics may have more insights because they use the right side more.

    Because your brains are used to working on the right side as well as the left, those paths work well. Plus, when one area is stimulated, other areas around it are stimulated, too!

    JOKES BASED ON INSIGHTS

    One place you see insights a lot are in jokes.

    How do you get a square root?
    Put a tree in a square pot. – Jay Leno

    “Where do you want this big roll of bubble wrap?” I asked my boss.
    “Just pop it in the corner,” he said.
    It took me three hours.

    If at first you don’t succeed, don’t try skydiving. – Jay Leno

    If can be clergymen defrocked, doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

    INSIGHT PROCESS

    Insights leap over a lot of in-between stuff instead of going step by step. Because of that, it’s hard to explain exactly how the insight thought process works.

    But lately, researchers have begun to recognize the steps in the insight process:

    Left BrainRight Brain
    1. You focus your mind on the problem, studying it and gathering facts, trying to put the pieces together logically





    2.You put the problem down, and stop trying to solve it. Your mind relaxes, stills, and begins to wander.
    3. Your mind begins to put ideas together in a new and creative way. It rotates the problem and compares it to other information that you’ve absorbed from all sources.
    When an interesting connection is made,cells all over the brain light up. “Eureka!”

    The insight process takes all the information you’ve learned from family, friends, school, TV, books – wherever – and sees what might work. It doesn’t rule out any combination of ideas as wrong or too strange. Anything is possible.

    Flashes of insight happen when your mind is still or bored — you’re in the shower, waking up or drifting off to sleep, riding in the car, walking the dog. It’s not so good if your mind wanders when you’re supposed to be paying attention in class, but it happens. The point is that relaxation is important – you can’t hurry or force insight. In fact, concentrating hard slows mental creativity and uses up brain energy.

    But insights are where great discoveries come from!

    Archimedes had his “Eureka!” moment figuring out that the same volume of water as his body moved out of the way when he sat in his bath; Isaac Newton when he realized that there was something pulling down on everything, all the time, everywhere, while sitting under a tree watching fruit fall; yours might have been when you realized that if you tip the couch on its end, it will fit through the door. We all have these brilliant moments when the world shifts, and we see a new way forward. But dyselxics may have more of them.

    DAYDREAMING OR NEW IDEAS? YOU BE THE JUDGE.

    Because it happens when the brain is relatively still, the insight process looks like daydreaming. But it produces awesome new ideas.

    INSIGHTS ON INSIGHTS

    Still, there are some problems with insights.

    ● It takes time to build up enough knowledge to have insights. This is why you go to school — to gain knowledge to draw on.
    ● Working out all these relationships between bits of knowledge to produce insights starts as a slow and fuzzy process.
    ● You can’t control when the insights will come.
    ● Insights might never come at all.
    ● Insights could be brilliant, but still be wrong.
    But once the insight process gets going, insights gallop along instead of walking. Insights often come faster than others can keep up.

    REFERENCES

    Beilock, Sian. Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal about Getting It Right When You Have To. 1st Free Press hardcover ed. New York: Free Press, 2010.

    Eide, Brock, and Fernette Eide. The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain. New York: Hudson Street Press, 2011.

    Kounios, John, and Mark Beeman. “The Aha! Moment: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Insight.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 18, no. 4 (August 1, 2009): 210–16. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2009.01638.x.

    ———. The Eureka Factor: Aha Moments, Creative Insight, and the Brain. First edition. New York: Random House, 2015.

    Taylor, Jill Bolte. My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey. First edition. New York: Penguin Books, 2016.

    Wolf, Maryanne. Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. 1st ed. New York, N.Y: Harper, 2007.

    Zimmer, Carl. “You’re a Dim Bulb (And I Mean That in the Best Possible Way).” The Loom. DISCOVER Magazine, March 23, 2006.

    CREATIVITY: PATTERN RECOGNITION — SEEING WHAT OTHERS DON’T

               Because dyslexics use your creative right brains more, that side gets very strong. This strength may let you soak up patterns of things that you see, and processes that you imagine.  Dyslexics link ideas together in different ways — instead of following a “logical” step-by-step sequence, you might see a pattern or similarities and likenesses.

                Learning foreign languages is usually hard for dyslexics. But Richard Engel picked up four different dialects of Arabic, as well as Spanish and Italian, as he worked as an international television journalist. He did it by finding patterns in the languages.

    “If you can stand to listen to the chaos long enough you can start picking out the notes and soon you have a symphony.”

    Richard Engel, Author and Television Journalist

    Pattern recognition

    What do these words have in common: Madam, civic, eye, level?
    To find the answer, read each one backwards.

    When my dyslexic husband was getting a new phone number for us, the phone company offered him three different numbers to choose from. My husband immediately said “We want 418-0936”. When I asked him why, he said “Because it’ll be easy to remember. With the exception of the first number, all the pairs of numbers add up to 9.” Maybe easy for him to remember — I had to just memorize it.

    (Note: I’ve changed the actual phone number. You’ll have to go through all the possible combinations of 9 to call me.)

    Patterns show up in numbers, too: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13… What comes next in this pattern of numbers?

    Answer: 21.

    The pattern is made by adding the first two numbers together to get the next: 0+1=1, 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 3+ 2=5…

    This sequence of numbers is very common in nature and architecture. It even has a name — the Fibonacci sequence.

    References

    “10 Riddles That Play on Words.” n.d. Kidspot. Accessed November 9, 2017. http://kidspot.com.au/things-to-do/activity-articles/10-riddles-that-play-on-words/news-story/38308fcc7c41a224ade5d3d99da64ac4.

    Eide, Brock, and Fernette Eide. 2011. The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain. New York: Hudson Street Press.

    Grandin, Temple, and Catherine Johnson. 2005. Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior. New York: Scribner.

    Wallace, Jane. “Richard Engel, Chief Foreign Correspondent for NBC News.” Yale Dyslexia. Accessed October 8, 2020. http://dyslexia.yale.edu/story/richard-engel/.

    Wolf, Maryanne. 2007. Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. 1st ed. New York, N.Y.: Harper.

    CREATIVITY: GIST — THE MAIN POINT

    The gist is the kernel of an idea. Dyslexics get the gist of the idea easier than many people — you see what’s important, then discard the rest,  leaving everybody else to wonder “Why didn’t I think of that?”  Linear thinkers and fluent readers may see the same information, but it is often locked into scripts or apps in their brains — they may not realize that they can use the knowledge in a new way. Or they get lost in the details, and have a hard time seeing what’s important.

    The gist of an idea is its main point or part.

    Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

    For example, what is the gist of this entire website? That dyslexics are different, not less than.

    If you are good at cutting to the heart of the matter, seeing the point, it will help you in school, and later in life.

    Rube Goldberg drew cartoons of everyday actions that became ridiculously complicated.

    Seeing the gist of something seems so obvious and easy that it is a little ambitious to call it a “skill”. But some people see the point much easier than others. Those who don’t flounder, mired in extraneous details and useless actions.

    Here’s an example:

    I used to have a boss who called me into his office and gave me long detailed instructions on how I was supposed to gather information for a report. The first time he did it, I sat there and listened to him going on and on about what data to look at and what I should avoid, where to find it, ignore the data in this column, here’s the latest picture of the kids, he likes to use the yellow highlighters, but I might find these numbers interesting, had I heard that this project was on hold? But he was going to go out and fix it, so don’t worry about it …

    A solid five minutes of … stuff. Somewhere in that avalanche of words was what I was supposed to do.

    I had just started the job, and was terrified of not doing well. But I was totally lost.

    I thought about some of the words that had washed by me, and what this boss would need to know from that data. I gathered up my courage and said “You want me to find the data on these projects. I’m to highlight these numbers, and put the pages in the gray binders on that desk. If I have any questions, I’ll ask.”

    My boss looked at me like I was dense. “That’s what I just said.”

    But what took him five minutes to say, I did in 30 seconds.

    Gist doesn’t seem like much at first, but people who see the world differently are often able to cut to the point of a topic and ignore all the extra “stuff”.

    And that can be a huge advantage.

    “Being dyslexic can actually help in the outside world. I see some things clearer than other people do because I have to simplify things to help me and that has helped others.”

    Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group of companies, knighted for “services to entrepeneurship”, one of the richest men in the world.

    CREATIVITY — THE PAYOFF

    Now we come to the fun stuff — the stuff that dyslexics excel at.

    While you’re in school, your teachers will help you learn to minimize the effects of your dyslexia when you are reading and spelling. When you get out of school, and get a job, you will have a calculator to quickly tell you what 4 X 15 is. You will have spell check for your documents. If you want to know when the first manned landing on the moon happened, you can look it up on the internet.

    Nobody has yet invented a machine that has insights or an imagination — a machine that can think in pictures, and is creative. That’s anything-is-possible right-brain stuff. Right-brain thinkers see the world differently. Your outside-the-box vision leads you to new ideas.

    There are a lot of characteristics that go into creativity. Creativity is a higher-level thinking skill that uses strengths such as:

    Gist — Seeing the point of the problem

    Pattern Recognition — Seeing what others don’t

    Thinking in Pictures

    Insight — Aha! moments when you suddenly understand the answer without going through logical steps to get there.

    • The region of the right hemisphere that dyslexics use to read is also where brilliant insights happen!
    • This means dyslexics might have more insights.

    Imagination — Anything is possible!

    Creativity is the payoff for different learning styles.

    To create: to make or bring into existence something new.

    Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

    LEARNING DIFFERENTLY

                You’ve gotten through the hard stuff. Now it is time to talk about what really sets dyslexics apart — your amazing ability to see the world differently. You don’t believe me? Read on.

    • Dyslexia is not the end of the world
    • Dyslexics think differently
      • Right brain thinking allows dyslexics to see the world in a new way
    • The other side of dyslexia is a set of awesome abilities.

                So now that you have an understanding of your dyslexia, it’s time to put your learning differences to work for you.

    DYSLEXIA IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD, IT IS THE BEGINNING OF THE ADVENTURE

                Dyslexic brains don’t want to shift from the big-picture right brain to the details-oriented left. Staying in the right hemisphere can cause problems for you when you read or do other jobs that need to be automatic.  

                But new research shows that the crossed-wires, fuzzy-processing, right-brain-use of dyslexics contributes to your thinking in unique, creative ways. That ability is very powerful,  and produces its own incredible talents.

    DYSLEXICS THINK DIFFERENTLY FROM OTHER PEOPLE…

    AND THAT’S A GOOD THING

                So what’s so great about how dyslexics think?

    RIGHT BRAIN THINKERS

                You, as a dyslexic, don’t shift to the left side of your brain for reading. Instead, you use your right hemisphere more than non-dyslexics. 

                That means the right side of your brain gets more exercise. The right hemisphere is the “go-to” portion when you think about things. This is why dyslexics are big picture thinkers — you do most of your thinking in the big picture right side of your brain.   

                In fact, one of the few differences in dyslexic brains compared to those of fluent readers’ is that the right side of a fluent reader’s brain is slightly smaller than a dyslexic’s. 

    “Studies show that individuals with dyslexia process information in a different area of the brain than do non-dyslexics.

    Many people who are dyslexic are of average to above average intelligence.”

    International Dyslexia Association http://www.interdys.org/FAQWhatIs.htm

    LEFT BRAIN THINKER: HOW I THINK VERSUS HOW MY KIDS THINK

                I am a very linear thinker — I go from A to B to C without ever wandering off course. My kids are dyslexic. We have different ways of seeing the same problem.

                Consider the sentence: “There were bats in the old house, but they flew away.”

    Two possible meanings of the word “bat” come up in my brain.

                When I read this sentence, I might pause to sort out if the writer meant a flying mammal or a stick for sports. But I’d go to my left hemisphere mental filing cabinet, where everything is stored logically, and based on context, I’d know pretty fast which meaning the author meant.

    Bats

                Mammals

    Live in abandoned buildings

    Fly      

    Wooden Sticks

    May be left in abandoned buildings

    Are swung and sometimes thrown

    And I’d make a decision on which definition worked better. I wouldn’t spend any more time on the thought because I’d want to get on with the story I was reading.

    The context of the sentence tells me which meaning of the word “bat” is appropriate.

    But this is what might pop into my kids minds:

    Everything that might possibly be associated with bats. And then associations with the associations.

                My way of reading lets me quickly understand the content and be fluent — I get sucked into whatever I’m reading. But my kids have a lot more interesting ideas flash through their heads.

                Neither way is better, just useful at different times. If you’re trying to read a story, getting sucked into a book makes it come alive. But if you’re trying to figure out why bats are getting a fatal disease, thinking of everything around the word “bat” may give you some great new connections.

    “…I am interested less in the [dinosaur] bones per se than in what they reveal about large-scale trends.”

    — Dr. John “Jack” Horner, paleontologist, MacArthur “genius” Fellowship recipient.

    TAKE A NEGATIVE AND TURN IT INTO A POSITIVE

                Being fluent in something means that you have learned the script for it. Dyslexics, on the other hand, have a hard time remembering a lot of scripts.

                But dyslexics can turn this seeming-negative into a positive. Because you often have a hard time turning lots of little steps into scripts, you have to think about what you are doing each time you do it. And each time you do a step, you can ask yourself “Isn’t there a better way to do this?”  You think about what you are doing. Sometimes you come up with a better answer.

    Doing it the hard way

    I was working on the computer one day, using drop-down menus to individually copy and paste a lot of files from one place to the other. It was taking forever. My son wandered over and asked me “Why don’t you use Control-A to select them all at once, then drag them over?”

    Past experience told me that I could get the job done by using my long series of scripts. I never stopped to ask myself if there wasn’t a better way to copy files — my scripts locked the knowledge up in only one way to do it. My dyslexic son saw many possibilities, including an easier one.

    References

    Armstrong, Thomas. 2003. “Coming to Grips with the Musculature of Words.” In The Multiple Intelligences of Reading and Writing: Making the Words Come Alive.
    Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/102280/chapters/Coming-to-Grips-with-the-Musculature-of-Words.aspx.

    Beilock, Sian. 2010. Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal about Getting It Right When You Have To. 1st Free Press hardcover ed. New York: Free Press.

    Eide, Brock, and Fernette Eide. 2011. The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain. New York: Hudson Street Press.

    Grandin, Temple, and Catherine Johnson. 2005. Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior. New York: Scribner.

    Horner, John R. “Jack,” and Celeste Horner. 2004. “Jack Horner: An Intellectual Autobiography.” The Montana Professor, Spring 2004. http://mtprof.msun.edu/Spr2004/horner.html.

    The International Dyslexia Association. “Promoting Literacy through Research, Education and Advocacy.” The International Dyslexia Association, November 12, 2001. http://www.interdys.org/FAQWhatIs.htm.

    Nicolson, Rod, and Angela Fawcett. 2008. Dyslexia, Learning, and the Brain. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

    Shaywitz, Sally E. 2003. Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level. 1st ed. New York: Knopf.

    Wolf, Maryanne. 2007. Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. 1st ed. New York, N.Y.: Harper.