Albert Einstein Interviewed about Dyslexia

The following is an interview performed by Ofer Chermesh, the founder of Ghotit, the leading writing and reading assistive technology for dyslexics, and Mr. Albert Einstein that suffers from learning disability like many other famous people, the man synonymous with the word GENIUS and the world’s most famous dyslexic. All of Mr. Albert Einstein texts are exact quotes.

Ofer: Thank you, Mr. Albert Einstein, for joining this interview. And thank you also very much for being a dyslexic genius. One of the major misconceptions that people have is that people with dyslexia have a lower intelligence. That is ridiculous of course…

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe”.

Ofer: Your son Hans Einstein has be quoted as saying that your “ teachers reported that . . . you were mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in his foolish dreams”. How do you describe your experiences at school and with your teachers?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Most teachers waste their time by asking questions which are intended to discover what a pupil does not know. Whereas the true art of questioning has for its purpose to discover what the pupil knows or is capable of knowing”.

Ofer: Any insights for dyslexics who are struggling with their studies at school?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school”. “The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Ofer: You know, Ghotit, the company I have founded offers a unique spelling and grammar checker. It offers a solution that I as a heavy dyslexic have been dreaming about my whole life. What guidance can you provide for Ghotit?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Ofer: Developing an intelligent spell checker that offers word suggestions based on the context of the sentence has taken a longer time then expected?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity!”

Ofer: So what do you see in the future of Ghotit?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”

Ofer: Any business recommendations for Ghotit?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value.”

Ofer: Any final words?

Mr. Albert Einstein: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”.

* Nobody really knows if Einstein was indeed dyslexic.

Since we published this blog, we have learned about its popularity. I wonder why so many dyslexics look with admiration at Einstein?

I believe that the following solution would have been appealing to Mr. Albert  Einstein.

 

Understanding how dyslexics write

 

Dyslexic Summer Break

Finally, the summer vacation is here and if you are a parent to a child who suffers from dyslexia, you might have a break from your routine, day-to-day helping chores .
Can you expect to accomplish Paul McCartney’s Summer’s Day Song?

Someone’s sleeping
Through a bad dream
Tomorrow it will be over
For the world will soon be waking
To the summer’s day

I doubt it.

I really don’t know what’s the best way you, a parent to a dyslexic child, should choose for the Summer vacation. If you do know the answer, please share it with us. The only thing I do know is that you should opt for a balance, on the one hand, not to let hard work altogether, but, on the other hand, letting your child enjoy vacation. We all need some rest, but as is the case with dyslexic children, we can’t allow ourselves the leisure of a total vacation.

We all know that dyslexia is not like pimples where there is a chance that your child will start next year without them. Your child will suffer from dyslexia next year and helping him or her is, unfortunately, a multi-year cruise.

How to Overcome Dyslexia !!!

Many blogs offer ways “how to overcome dyslexia”.  As a dyslexic, I don’t really believe that overcoming dyslexia is possible, and therefore, I don’t think the question “how to overcome dyslexia”  is an effective way of phrasing this question.

 

Instead, I recommend approaching dyslexia in a more realistic way. Switching from the unrealistic target of the deficiency abolition, curing this learning disability, we should develop compensation tools to ease the implications of dyslexia, leading our way to make the most of the insights and virtues associated with dyslexia.

 

We live in an open, almost borderless age, technology is making huge steps to help us, the dyslexics, providing tools to overcome the problems of writing and reading. The post-modern phrasing tends to be become shorter than ever, twitting instead of expanding, letting us, the dyslectics find our equitable integration in human interaction.

 

Today’s world is friendlier than ever, widely accepting and integrating people with dyslexia.

 

This is my feeling, and what about your, what do you think?

Difficult Times for Dyslexic Kids and Teenagers.

The summer vacation is almost over, and millions of kids and teenagers are about to return to school. As a dyslexic child, I remember these days to be very difficult.

The end of the summer break was a time when, on the one hand I could still smell Summer’s activities when my dyslexia and dysgraphia did not affect me, and on the other hand the clock was ticking in my head with alarming sound, saying, so and so days to school, so and so days back to facing my writing and reading limitations, or even more so, facing a new class and unfamiliar teachers.

I hope this short blog will help parents of kids and teenagers with dyslexia understand why this is a hard time for their dyslectic kid.

Famous Adults with Learning Disabilities.

Nelson Rockefeller – at the age of 9 he did not know the letters of the alphabet.

He was thought of as dull and backward.  He entered Davidson College, but he had to withdraw because of illness.  Later he went to Princeton, but his grades were mediocre.

Thomas Edison – His head was large at birth.  His mother did not agree with those who felt that the child was abnormal. He was sent to school, but the teacher thought him to be mentally ill.

The mother withdrew the child from school and taught him herself.

As it turned out, he might have done well in vocational education.

Frank W. Woolworth – was labeled slow as a child.  He clerked in a village grocery store.

He suggested putting slow-merchandise on a counter and selling it at a reduced rate.  It turned out to be an excellent idea.

Greg Luganis – had extreme difficulty in reading; some people used to say that he was clumsy.

He has been high up in his field for many years.  Because of his background, he might be labeled both learning disabled and disadvantaged.

George Patton – When he was twelve years old, he could not read, and he remained deficient in reading all his life.  However, he could memorize entire lectures, which was how he got through school.  That never stopped him from marching ahead.

Walt Disney – as a child he was slow in school work.  About the only thing this apparently right-brained individual had gone for him was his vivid imagination, which used to bother his teachers, especially when he doodled.

Winston Churchill – failed grade eight, did terrible in math, and generally hated school.  Still, he was upset by people who were “inebriated by the exuberance of their own verbosity”.

Woodrow Wilson –  had great difficulty in reading; in fact, throughout his life, he was unable to read well.  Despite this, he was extremely successful in politics.

Albert Einstein – did not learn to read until he was nine.  His teachers considered him mentally slow, unsociable and a dreamer.  He failed the entrance examinations to college but finally passed them after an additional year of preparation.  He lost three teaching positions and then became a patent clerk.

Hans Christian Anderson – had difficulty in reading and writing, but for years people have cherished his wonderful stories, all of which had to be dictated to a scribe.

Tom Cruise – despite being a success in his chosen field, this entertainer can learn lines only by listening to a tape.  He is formally diagnosed dyslexic.

Agatha Christie – had a learning disability called dysgraphia, which prevented any understood or legible written work.  As a result, all material had to be dictated to a typist/transcriptionist.
 

Dyslexia Friendly Schools

“If a child does not learn in the way in which we teach then we must teach him in the way in which he learns. Let dyslexia be looked at from a different angle, not as a learning disability but a different learning ability.”  (Pollack, J.,Waller)

Dyslexia friendly schools are schools that recognize a specific learning difficulty as a learning difference. These schools make an effort to include and support dyslexic students. These schools recognize that a dyslexic student learns in a different manner, and places an effort in empowering the child to deal with his writing difficulties. In non-friendly dyslexia schools, dyslexic children are seen as having something “wrong” that requires special treatment.

A dyslexia friendly school invests in educating their staff regarding on how to identify a dyslexic child’s specific learning challenges, and how to empower such a child with a learning environment supportive of his learning capabilities. The staff is guided to demonstrate sensitivity to the emotional state and self-esteem of the dyslexic student. For example, if a dyslexic child demonstrates confidence in his oral capabilities, the teacher is guided to provide the dyslexic child opportunities to regularly demonstrate this strength. If a dyslexic child begins to fall behind, then the teacher is guided to recommend special tutoring to minimize the learning gap.

A dyslexia friendly school also invests in building a close channel of communication with the child’s parents, actively communicating to them the progress and difficulties encountered by the child. The staff guides the parents regarding how to receive additional support and help.

In a dyslexia friendly school, teachers are guided to adopt a set of practices that if observed on a regular basis will alleviate the day-to-day struggle of the dyslexia child. These include:

  • Always write things on the board early, as dyslexic are slower in copying assignments to their notebooks. This problem becomes more severe if the student is under stress.
  • Make sure the student was successful in copying all his assignments to his notebook.
  • Don’t force the student to read out loud, unless you are sure that he wants to.
  • Place the student near the front and next to a good sitting student “neighbor”, so that distractions are reduced to a minimum.
  • Allow and encourage dyslexic students to use computers, so that their can correct their writing with advanced writing assistive programs (such as Ghotit)
  • Make sure that the dyslexic student understands what his is reading. Constant discussion of the meaning of the text is important, and should be performed regularly.
  • If required give the dyslexic child additional exam time, as dyslexic children tend to read and write more slowly than their peers.
  • … And most importantly, never laugh at the mistakes of a dyslexic child, or allow other students to do so. On the contrary, make an effort to praise their efforts and successes.

Comments with additional recommendations for a dyslexic friendly school would be appreciated …

If dyslexia is not a ‘deficit’, what is it?

I recently read an interesting article called “Neurodiversity and Dyslexia: Compensatory strategies, or different approaches?”  The article argued that the current educational system classifies people with dyslexia as people with deficits. As such, the educational system is focused in “remediating” / “fixing” these deficits.

However, if schools would adopt a new approach of recognizing that people with dyslexia simply learn differently and create programs for students to excel at how they learn best, then people with dyslexia would graduate school with a higher quality education, and with a much improved level of self-confidence.

So can this be realistically implemented?

The first step is to formalize how people with dyslexia think and learn differently. If this is understood, then educational programs can be created geared for people with dyslexia. For example, these programs can focus less on demonstrating short-memory skills and visual processing for details (e.g. demonstrated in good spelling) and more in promoting a holistic learning approach when teaching a given subject.  Such programs will allow a person with dyslexia to excel and demonstrate his strengths. Potentially, as formal recognition is given to these special analytical strengths, the dyslexic person will strengthen his relative learning and cognitive advantages.

Making the change of seeing dyslexia not as a ‘deficit’ but rather as a valuable and unique skill set is a huge leap. Society is so ingrained with the concept that dyslexia is a deficit that most dyslexics themselves live under this assumption.  Dramatic and enlightened shifts from these misconceptions are required to produce a real and long-lasting effect on the quality of education for a dyslexic.

 

Ten Reasons Why It Is Difficult for a Person with Dyslexia to Spell Correctly

Spelling with dyslexia is not an easy play:

1)  It is difficult for a person with dyslexia to break words into phonemes/discrete sounds.

2)  The more phonemes/discrete sounds a word possesses, the bigger the challenge of deconstructing a word correctly to its phonemes.

3)  It is more difficult for a person with dyslexia to deconstruct the “middle” phonemes of a word, rather than the first and last phonemes.

4)  It is difficult for a person with dyslexia to associate sounds to letters that make up the sound.

5)  People with dyslexia tend to reverse letters in words (e.g. “on” instead of “no”).

6)  People with dyslexia tend to confuse letters that are visually similar (e.g. “bad” instead of “dad”).

7) People with dyslexia tend to confuse letters that sound similar. (e.g. “sity” instead of “city”).

8 ) People with dyslexia do not have strong visual memory for spelling. For example they will not be able to distinguish from memory the correct spelling of the word of “meet” versus the word “meat”.

9) People with dyslexia have difficulty to gain meaning from text.

10) Regular spell checkers are not “optimized” to understand and correct the spelling of a dyslexic.

For a solution, look at Ghotit Real Writer and Reader specifically designed for those with Dyslexia and Dysgraphia.

Can assistive technology for people with dyslexia be cheap?

Ghotit offers it’s Microsoft integrated Assistive Technology plug-in for just 9 cents a day…

According to Wikipedia “Assistive technology or adaptive technology (AT) is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting”.

From this definition it is clear that assistive technology is a technology which aims to help a targeted group of people (this technology might never be adopted by the general population).

The costs of Assistive Technologies, specifically those targeting people with dyslexia, can reach hundreds of dollars. If a guarantee can be given that an assistive technology solution would result in dramatic writing improvements– than even such a high price of several hundreds of dollars would be worth it. As a person with dyslexia, I know that dramatically improving ones’ writing is an invaluable benefit. But the truth of the matter is that not all assistive technologies are the same, and not all dyslexics are the same. Therefore not all writing assistive technology solutions can deliver on their promise to all dyslexics.

As a dyslexic who has spent in the past thousands of dollars trying to obtain the “right” solution that will improve my terrible writing and spelling, I am familiar with the disappointment when a writing assistive solution that costs close to a thousand dollars, simply does not deliver any real value.

Ghotit writing assistive technology was developed by dyslexics, for dyslexics. As one of the founders of Ghotit, I can confidently say that I have seen no other product in the market that delivers the writing improvements to dyslexics as does Ghotit. However, as stated above, not all dyslexics are the same. Ghotit understands that and is offering Microsoft integrated plug-in for extremely reasonable prices…

So can assistive technology for people with dyslexia be cheap? Yes, go to Ghotit and see how you can purchase Ghotit for only 9 cents a day…

When a Mother Realizes That Her Son Has Dyslexia

I was sitting at the hairdresser’s shop, reading an article in a women’s magazine. Suddenly I realized: This is my child! The article is talking about my child. Each sentence re-enforced this realization. They are talking about my son.

The article was about dyslexia, describing the characteristics of dyslexic children. I don’t remember the exact details of the article, as 25 years have passed since.  However, this was the first time I ever heard of dyslexia. This was the first time I learned that Reading and Writing, these learned skills, skills that almost everyone succeeds in mastering, may be very difficult to very intelligent people diagnosed with dyslexia.

Unbelievable. This piece of information was the most important piece of information I have ever received in my life. Now I understood, that my son was not lazy, my son needed help. Till then I tried to teach my son by forcing him to sit down and repeat again and again words and letters. That was not easy and in some way looked cruel. But what was the alternative? Can a person succeed in our world without the knowledge of reading and writing?

25 years ago my son, Kevin, was 10 years old. At that time, awareness about dyslexia was quite low. I remember talking to my son’s teachers and educational counselors and being amazed about their ignorance on this topic. How can it be that a women’s magazine publishes information about learning disabilities that professional educators are not familiar with. The best were those teachers, principals and psychologists who admitted their ignorance but were eager to learn more about dyslexia. The worse were those educators who pretended to know everything or were simply indifferent to the condition. Against these people you have to decide to fight.

I hate arguments and conflicts but sometimes you have no choice. After all, Kevin is my son, and my son must know that his parents fully support him and will fight for him.

My husband and I embarked on a battle to educate my son’s school about dyslexia. It was no easy tasks, and sometimes I wondered what happens to all those children whose parents do not know how to persistently argue a case until it is won…

After a long battle we were able to adjust the learning conditions of my son in his school. At certain points we realized that our son understood his parent’s defense incorrectly. He began to behave as if he was granted permission to do in school whatever he wanted, avoiding assignments and tasks that he did not wish to perform. I was informed that he was coming in late to school almost every morning. Coming late to school is not one of the privileges a dyslexic child is entitled to. It is important that you fight for privileges that are required to compensate for your child being dyslexic, but at the same time make sure that your child is not abusing these privileges to avoid his responsibilities.

My son’s son (my grandson) has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. When looking back, I feel that some conclusions may be drawn from my experience of raising a dyslexic child:

1.       Look at the truth straight in the face. If you suspect a problem, consult a good and reliable therapist. Consulting does not tag any child in a negative manner.

2.       Although your child may be treated by the best professionals, keep being involved with his progress.

3.       If your child experiences misunderstandings at school and you are expected to intervene, examine all facts and sides carefully, before forming an opinion.

4.       And last: although dyslexic children may reach high achievements, they usually cannot overcome all spelling errors from appearing in their writings. Here is where assistive technology (like Ghotit Writing Assistive Technology) offers its value.

Ghotit hosts from time to time guest blog posts about dyslexia.

The writers of these posts may be dyslexics, dyslexic family members, dyslexic tutors, teachers, assistive technology specialists or any other writer as long as the post provides quality information about dyslexia.

This is the second hosted post by Mary, a parent of a dyslexic.

Bookmark and Share