Eleven-year-old-Henry Samuelson has no trouble memorizing intricate pieces of music, but when it comes to multiplication tables, his brain goes blank.
"When he would come home from school he would say, you know kids say to me, you know, you're not very smart or why are you in the gifted program if you can't remember what 7x 9 is?” says Henry’s mom, Doris.
Henry has dyslexia, but that could work to his advantage.
"When we see kids that come to us with problems with reading and spelling, we found they also had some very interesting strengths,” said Brock Eide, MD - The Dyslexic Advantage
Doctors Brock and Fernette Eide have written a book called “The Dyslexic Advantage” which turns current thinking upside down.
"We feel like we're pioneers in some regards. It's just the beginning of recognizing the talent side of dyslexia,” says Fern Eide.
The Eides insist that famous people like entrepreneur Richard Branson, Seattle's own Craig McCaw, inventor Thomas Edison and Novelist Anne Rice have succeeded because of their dyslexia not in spite of it.
"The reason they have problems in the early grades is that there brain is setting up a very ambitious program,” said Brock Eide.
He likens the process to building an intricate subway system in Seattle. Once built, the system could be a great way to get around the city.
But in the meantime, the construction phase would cause all sorts of roadblocks and traffic problems.
“There is no shame in having a brain like this. As a matter of fact in some circles now, some art and design circles especially, it's becoming something to brag about,” said Brock.
In Henry's case, he's very good at three-dimensional thinking. In fact, those with dyslexia are disproportionately represented in highly creative fields.
But there are also, unfortunately, more dyslexic individuals in places like prison, the doctors say.
That's because students like Henry can easily get frustrated and fall through the cracks.
The Eides stress that early intervention can minimize the academic difficulties. In Henry's case, a calculator makes all the difference.
Of course, these highly desirable traits are not unique to those with dyslexia, but if they seem to run in your family, the Eides say chances are dyslexia does too. The Eides hope that their book will be just the start of recognizing the upside to dyslexia.