Gaia Community

compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion

"Tired of all who come with words, words but not language, I went to the

snow-covered island. The Wild DOES NOT have WORDS. The unwritten

pages spread themselves out in all directions! I come across the mark's

of roe-deer's hooves in the snow. LANGUAGE but NO WORDS."

                                                                     Tomas Gösta Tranströmer

What links Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, Winston Churchill, Alan Sugar

Richard Branson, Jamie OliverDavid Bailey, Will Smith, Jack Laws and 

countless other high achievers in a huge range of fields?

In this paradigm-shifting book, neuro-learning experts Drs Brock and

Fernette Eide describe an exciting new brain science that reveals that

people with dyslexia have unique brain structure and organisation. While

the differences are responsible for certain challenges with literacy and

reading, the dyslexic brain also gives a predisposition to important skills

and special talents.

While dyslexics typically struggle to decode the written word, they often

also excel in such areas of reasoning as mechanical (required for architects

and surgeons), interconnected (artists and inventors); narrative (novelists

and lawyers), and dynamic (scientists and business pioneers). 

The Dyslexic Advantage provides the first complete portrait of the

dyslexic brain.

With much-needed prescriptive advice for parents, educators and

dyslexics, The Dyslexic Advantage provides the first complete portrait

of dyslexia. Supporting their claims with groundbreaking science and

interviews with successful dyslexics and innovative teachers, the authors

of this essential book show how the unique strengths of dyslexia can be

captured for success at home, at school and at work.

This book isn’t about dyslexia, but about the kinds of individuals who are

diagnosed with dyslexia. It’s about the kinds of minds they have, the ways

they process information, and the things they do especially well. It’s not a

book about something these individuals have. It’s about who they are.

Most books on dyslexia focus on problems with reading and spelling.

While these problems are extremely important, they’re not the only -

or even the most important- things that individuals with dyslexia find

critical for their growth, learning, and success. As experts in neuroscience

and learning disabilities, we’ve worked with hundreds of individuals with

dyslexia and their families. In the process we’ve found that individuals

with dyslexia often share a broad range of important cognitive features.

Trying to understand what dyslexia is all about while overlooking the

talents that mature individuals with dyslexia characteristically display 

is like trying to understand what it's like to be a caterpillar while 

ignoring the fact that caterpillars grow to be butterflies.


Views: 346

Comment by Michael Grove on September 6, 2013 at 7:15

We now know that the brain uses two contrasting strategies to handle information about the world. Each strategy is fundamentally different and therefore quite difficult to translate into the other-which is not at all surprising, given the brain's need to accommodate the requirements of such different modes of operation. It is apparent that both strategies are needed in the long run. For some time now, human culture has been almost entirely dominated by tools and technologies that support the sequential brain strategy-linked with words. However, quite suddenly, in historical terms, a new set of tools has been dumped into our laps. We should expect that moving from one strategy to the other will have powerful consequences.

"Thinking like Einstein" - Thomas G. West

Advantages accompanying dyslexic processing style:

  • Reflection of a different pattern of brain organisation and information processing that creates strengths as well as challenges.
  • Strengths and challenges are inextricably connected: dyslexic challenges are best understood as trade-offs made in pursuit of other, larger cognitive gains.
  • Often strengths in big picture, holistic, or top-down processing, though may struggle with fine detail processing.
  • Many show strengths in Material reasoning or the ability to mentally create and manipulate an interconnected series of three-dimensional spatial perspectives.
  • Many show strengths in Interconnected reasoning, or the ability to perceive more distance or unusual connections, to reason using interdisciplinary approaches, or to detect context and gist.
  • Many excel in Narrative reasoning, or the ability to perceive information as mental “scenes” that they construct from fragments of past personal experience (episodic memory).
  • Many shows strengths in Dynamic reasoning, or the ability to accurately reconstruct past events that they didn't witness or to predict future states, often using insights based reasoning and “episodic simulation”, particularly in conditions that are changing, ambiguous, or incompletely known, and where “qualitative” practical solutions are required. 

Acronym used for four areas of strength: MIND.


Comment by Michael Grove on September 6, 2013 at 7:17


Most individuals with dyslexia favour episodic over semantic memory. Students with a strong episodic memory often remember facts better when they catch them in story format, whether the stories are real or fanciful. Individuals with strong episodic memories also tend to remember using examples and illustrations rather than abstract concepts or definitions.

They take in information better when they think in terms of cases or examples, rather than abstract or non-contextual definitions. In contrast, students who favour semantic memory will do best when they can boil down specific examples into general principles or underlying themes.

Information taken from: Eide, B & Eide, F. (2011) The Dyslexic Advantage. London: Hay House UK Ltd.


Comment by Michael Grove on September 6, 2013 at 7:23

Material reasoning: A 3-D Advantage

M-strengths are abilities that help us reason about the physical or material world - that is, about the shape, size, motion, position, or orientation in space of physical objects and the ways those objects interact.

M-strengths consist primarily of abilities in areas that can be termed spatial reasoning. In particular, excelling in spatial reasoning involving the creation of a connected series of mental perspectives that are three-dimensional in nature-like a virtual 3-D environment in the mind. Basically, the strength enables people to see 3-D images in their mind and walk round them, take them apart and reconnect them. Many M-strength children with dyslexia display their creative potential quite clearly outside of the classroom with building, experiment, drawing or creating.


Letter reversals, answering apparently “simple” questions-especially writing (because the ideas that the students are attempting to express or often so complex), many M-strength people with dyslexia reason in largely non-verbal ways and often find it difficult to translate their thoughts into words (often discrepancy between conceptual understanding and ability to express or demonstrate understanding in words).

Key points about M-strengths

  • the ultimate purpose of M-strengths is to create a continuous, interconnected series of 3-D perspectives as a basis for reasoning about real-world, global, all big picture spatial features, rather than about fine detail or 2-D features.
  • The spatial imagery perceived by individuals with M-strengths may take many forms, from clear visual imagery to non-visual perceptions like force, shape, texture or movement.
  • The form spatial imagery takes is less important than the uses to which the person can put it.
  • M-strengths often bring trade-offs like symbol reversals and subtle language challenges.
  • Individuals with dyslexia in general, and those with prominent M-strength in particular, show a late blooming pattern of development and their developmental progress should be judged on its own terms, rather than bystanders created to judge people who do not have dyslexia.
  • Individuals with dyslexia who show prominent M-strengths often show signs of impressive creativity outside the classroom.
  • Dyslexic children with M-strengths have tremendous potential and often grow up to become remarkable and creative people.

Occupations and fields for this strength:

Engineer, mechanic, construction, mathematician, interior designer, industrial designer, Illustrator, graphic designer, architect, medicine, painter, sculptor, photographer, filmmaker, landscaper, aeroplane pilot, air traffic controller, dentistry.

Teaching methods - Reading

M-strengths usually benefit from methods that engage their strength in spatial imagery. These typically involved various forms of visual, positional or movement-based imagery. Finding a method that stresses the particular form of spatial imagery that an individual excels in (e.g. kinaesthetic, visual) can greatly increase the likelihood of success.


Information taken from: Eide, B & Eide, F. (2011) The Dyslexic Advantage. London: Hay House UK Ltd.


Comment by Michael Grove on September 6, 2013 at 7:23

Key points about I- strengths

  • The ability to spot important connections between various kinds of information is an important-and possibly even most important dyslexic advantage.
  • I-strengths include the abilities to see relationships of likeness and togetherness, connections between perspectives and fields of knowledge and big picture or global connections that create heightened abilities in detecting gist, context and relevance.
  • I-strengths appear to be enhanced individuals with dyslexia because their brain microcircuitry is biased toward the creation of highly interconnected, long distance circuits that favour top-down, global processing and the recognition of unusual relationships.
  • The structural and cognitive bias creates a trade-off between enhanced I-strengths and challenges with fast, efficient and accurate fine detail processing.
  • Dyslexic learners with prominent I-strengths can be greatly aided in learning by performing a few simple steps, including providing summaries or overviews of longer reading passages, pre-learning key vocabulary, providing information about the practical importance and usefulness of material being taught, tying in new information with things pre-existing knowledge, and beginning courses or units with an overview of the goals, the big picture and outlining the lesson plan that will be followed.

Occupations and fields

Computer or software designer, scientists, environmentalist, inventor, museum director, designer, choreographer, dancer, musician, actor, chef, historian, philosopher, comedian, nurse, therapist, trainer.

Information taken from: Eide, B & Eide, F. (2011) The Dyslexic Advantage. London: Hay House UK Ltd.



Comment by Michael Grove on September 6, 2013 at 7:25

Key points about N-strengths

  • Many individuals with dyslexia show profound difference between their powerful episodic (or personal) memories for events and experiences and then much weaker semantic (abstract or impersonal facts) and procedural memories.
  • Episodic memory has a highly narrative or 'scene based' format in which concepts and ideas are conceived or recalled as experiences, examples, all enactments rather than as abstract, non-contextual definitions.
  • The episodic construction system can use fragments stored experience not only to reconstruct and remember the past but also to imagine the future, solve problems, test the fitness of proposed inventions or plans, or create imaginary scenarios and stories.
  • Episodic construction and creativity can be closely linked.
  • Individuals who rely on episodic narrative concepts rather than abstract, non-contextual facts will typically reason, remember and learn better using examples and illustrations rather than abstract concepts or definitions.
  • Many individuals with dyslexia will learn and remember better by transforming abstract information into narrative or case based information through the use of memory strategies or stories.
  • Many individuals with dyslexia enjoy (and are skilled in) creative writing even though they may have difficulty with formal academic writing or reading; so teachers should look carefully for signs of narrative ability in students with dyslexia and they should help talented individuals with dyslexia further their abilities through the use of appropriate tutoring and accommodations.
  • Narrative approaches can be useful for all sorts of occupational and educational tasks not just creative writing.

Occupations and fields

Poet, songwriter, novelist, journalism, screenwriter, counselling, psychology, ministry, teaching, coaching, politician, game design, lawyer, sales, advertising, public relations

Information taken from: Eide, B & Eide, F. (2011) The Dyslexic Advantage. London: Hay House UK Ltd.


Comment by Michael Grove on September 6, 2013 at 7:26

Key points about D-strengths

  • Dynamic reasoning is the ability to "read" patterns in the real world that allow us to reconstruct past events we haven't witnessed, predict likely future events or simulate and preview plausible outcomes of inventions or various courses of action.
  • It is especially valuable in situations where all the relevant variables are incompletely known, changing or ambiguous.
  • Its particular power lies in the fact that it is based on matching patterns that are similar in form to the original observations, rather than on abstract generalisations.
  • Often employs insight-based processing, which is powerful but often slow, can appear passive, and may result in difficulty explaining intervening steps.
  • Individuals with dyslexia who possess prominent D-Strengths often thrive in precisely the kinds of rapidly changing and ambiguous settings that others find the most difficult and confusing.

Occupations and fields

Entrepreneur, Chief Executive, finance, small business owner, business consultants, logistics, accounting, economics, medicine, farmer.

What to include and leave out of writing

I, N, or D-strengths may include excessive or irrelevant details because they often see so many connections and levels of meaning between ideas. For students who have difficulty narrowing down their ideas, it often helps to decide in advance what the focus of their writing will be. One useful strategy for limiting focus is to use the " 5 W/H " approach, where the student decides which of the potential questions (i.e., who, what, when, where, why or how) to answer and which to ignore.

People with strong verbal imagery and or particular weaknesses in word retrieval or verbal output often include too few details. This can be either because they “see” so much detail in their heads that they forget how little they have communicated to the audience or because it takes so much effort for them to put their thoughts into words that they experience working memory overload before they can get everything down on paper. Students with problems of this kind often benefit from reading their work aloud or being asked to form a mental picture of their subject using only the words on the page.

Information taken from: Eide, B & Eide, F. (2011) The Dyslexic Advantage. London: Hay House UK Ltd.


Comment by Michael Grove on September 6, 2013 at 8:04

Ideas for Assessors:

In order to develop the findings from The Dyslexic Advantage a question could be added to

the diagnostic interview prompts which asks, 'What hobbies did you enjoy doing as a child?'

The answer to this could help the assessor to understand which of the four strengths the person

might fit into, they then could potentially develop or discard that theory during the assessment.

This could lead to specific strategies in the recommendations part of the report.

For example:

M-strength - children that create, build, make e.g. Lego

I-strength - children that develop a keen interest in a specialist field e.g. botany

N-strength - children who can create complex stories, who can ‘see’ and imagine vivid scenes e.g. writing stories, plays

D-strength - children who invent, recreate and develop ideas e.g. merge Lego, Meccano and their train track in order to create the desired result.

We would love to hear from anybody using strategies like these who would like to share findings.

Information taken from: Eide, B & Eide, F. (2011) The Dyslexic Advantage. London: Hay House UK Ltd.


Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Gaia Community to add comments!

Join Gaia Community

© 2024   Created by Michael Grove.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service