Thursday, February 21, 2013

#7 The Dyslexic Advantage

The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic BrainThe Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain by Brock L. Eide
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I never suspected that I was dyslexic.

Never that is, until my wife started researching dyslexia a couple of years ago. She concluded that not only was my daughter dyslexic, but I probably was too. Even then I mostly brushed her off.

Fact is, I had no idea what dyslexia was. After letting the idea that I may be dyslexic buzz around in my brain for a year and a half or so, I decided to find out whether or not I was. The Eide's book looked like a good place to start.

I didn't have to get very far into the book before I was convinced that I am definitely dyslexic. I've said throughout my life (at least to myself) that my brain just doesn't work. Of course what I mean is that it doesn't work at doing a lot of things that other people do easily, such as organizational skills, and speech processing. Now I realize that what I've been saying is true. My brain doesn't work the way most other people's brains work.

The Eides' main thesis is that the dyslexic brain simply has a different wiring architecture than a "normal" brain. This dyslexic architecture comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Traditionally society has focused on the weaknesses of the dyslexic brain. Now, however, we know (so say the Eide's at least) what the strengths that come along with dyslexia are, and it's about time that we started focusing on those. (We cannot, of course, forget about the weaknesses. Dyslexics still need specialized help, especially during their early educations.)

The Eides outline four areas of dyslexic strengths (each of which comes along with weaknesses as trade-offs). They call them the MIND strengths. I'm not really qualified to judge the scientific grounding of the Eide's claims, but they certainly sounded believable and came off as being grounded in scientific research (if also in the Eides' anecdotes about their clients). The division into four seperate strengths seemed maybe a little ad hoc, especial the last two (N=Narrative Reasoning and D=Dynamic Reasoning).

I really enjoyed The Dyslexic Advantage. It helped me see what some of my talents are, and how those talents came to me through dyslexia. I wouldn't trade my dyslexic brain for a non dyslexic one if I had the choice. I'm also very excited that one of my children has dyslexia. I'm eager to see how she approaches the world as she grows.

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