Book Review: The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain
By Lynn Eastman Rider, M.S.W., M. Div.
For every parent, educator, or student grappling with dyslexia, a vital new book has been added to the toolbox. The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain is the work of Brock and Fernette Eide, both MDs and experts in neuroscience and learning disabilities who have worked with hundreds of individuals with dyslexia and their families. In the process they’ve seen patterns emerge across generations. People with dyslexia who struggle in school are often late bloomers who excel in distinctive fields later in life. The authors attribute this pattern to the dyslexic brain that is now understood by science as simply different, and not defective.
The Eides take that difference one step further and assert that dyslexia is rightfully understood as an advantage.
By detailing the strengths and benefits of this advantage, they hope to shift our attention from fixing problems to unleashing the potential of brains that they assert aren’t supposed to be like everyone else’s. They want to “show you what the dyslexic mind looks like when it opens its wings and begins to soar.”
This is heady stuff for anyone trying to build a bright future for someone with dyslexia. The very readable book contains chapters full of studies, anecdotes, and examples describing the four core strengths the Eides have observed. But most compelling are the excerpts from dyslexic individuals themselves explaining their minds at work. For example, geologist and mystery novelist Sarah Andrews once wrote,
“We are great sponges for observed patterns… Repeated patterns become ideas, and new patterns lead to new paradigms… We can, using the barest shreds, ‘see’ through solid rock, back through time, and into future events.”
In addition to the excitement of identifying specific strengths in your child (or yourself), there are helpful chapters on how to access, train, and put those strengths to use from elementary school through college and into the workplace.
In this book, the Eides have articulated the essence of a paradigm shift that’s taking root within the LD community. Research scientists, educators, diagnosticians, students, and parents are recognizing that people with dyslexia bring more than puzzling challenges to the table—they also bring an array of unique strengths that, when tapped, position them for success.
If you are wondering where to go once your dyslexia paradigm has shifted, look no further. The Dyslexic Advantage is a must-read brainstorming aid and source of concrete hope that you will refer to again and again.