Research Center Offers New Perspective On Dyslexia

Posted: April 13, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Kate Passin

George Mason’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study recently opened a new research center to study dyslexics and their families. Unlike other research organizations, the new Center for the Study of Dyslexia and Talent will focus its research on the special talents of dyslexics instead of on their deficits.

The center is developing a varied program to study the distinctive talents of dyslexics. For example, researchers will use new computer graphic and visualization tools to assess these talents, and will also investigate the kinds of talents seen over generations in families that show dyslexia mixed with high degrees of success in the arts and sciences. A special emphasis of the center is to look at the life experience of successful dyslexics to help other dyslexics better use their own distinctive strengths.

“It is time to learn from the distinctive strengths of dyslexics, rather than just focusing on their weaknesses and failures,” says Thomas West, director of the new center. “We want to understand the talents of successful dyslexics and study how these talents are important for education and work, especially in our world of radical economic and technological change.” West, who was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 41, is the author of the award-winning book In the Mind’s Eye, which examines the role of visual-spatial strengths and verbal weaknesses in the lives of 10 dyslexic historical persons, including Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and William Butler Yeats.

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