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The Gift of Dyslexia: Synopsis

Cover, The Gift of Dyslexia

The Gift of Dyslexia: Why Some of the Smartest People Can't Read and How They Can Learn.

By Ronald D. Davis with Eldon M.Braun.
(Perigee Books, Revised and Expanded Edition, 2010)

Summary | Preface | First Chapter

This breakthrough book changed the face of how dyslexia is viewed - and how it is remedied - worldwide. The new revised and expanded edition contains added information to help with the mental techniques for orientation and attention focus that are the hallmark of the Davis program.

Part One: What Dyslexia Really Is

Each case of dyslexia is unique because it results from a combination of an underlying talent, or predisposition, and from environmental influences and unsuccessful learning experiences. As a result, no two dyslexics will have exactly the same set of symptoms. Ron Davis describes dyslexia as "The Mother of Learning Disabilities." He explains why many other conditions have the same root cause as dyslexia. These include Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), Autism, Dyscalculia/Acalculia, Dysgraphia/Agraphia, and Hyperactivity.

Part Two: A Developmental Theory of Dyslexia

Ron Davis shows how the learning disability of dyslexia is caused by the successful use of visual thinking skills at an early age. This "gift" works well for recognizing real life objects, but not printed symbols such as alphabet letters and words. Disorientation is turned on by confusion, so the stress and invalidation typically encountered during the early school years compound the problem. Mental tricks are adopted to give the appearance of learning. Loss of self-esteem causes many dyslexics to adopt ingenious methods to hide their learning disability.

Part Three: The Gift

Ron Davis explains that multi-dimensional thinking (using all the senses) takes place much faster than verbal thinking. Dyslexics also tend to be more curious, creative, and intuitive than average. They tend to be highly aware of the environment, inventive, and good at real world tasks. Their special mode of thought also produces the gift of mastery: once they have learned something experientially, they understand it on such a deep level that they know how to do things intuitively without thinking about how.

Part Four: Doing Something About It

  • Davis Orientation Counseling: The first step of the Davis program is learning to turn off disorientation to focus the perceptions. The book details two alternative, easily learned mental exercises that allow dyslexics to overcome distorted perceptions and accurately recognize printed symbols method.
  • Davis Symbol Mastery: Davis offers a stress-free way for dyslexics to learn the basics of written language. Students model symbols and word concepts in clay--a multi-sensory process that enables them to exercise their creativity.
  • Davis Reading Exercises:Three simple reading exercise for daily practice that will improve reading fluency, and establish robust visual word recognition and passage comprehension skills.