Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nobel Winner Overcomes Dyslexia

Yesterday's New York Times Science Times section contained an interview with Dr. Carol W. Greider, who won a Nobel Prize in Medicine for her work with telomeres. Dr. Greider, who is now at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, told of her experiences as a young student with dyslexia.

The article quotes her as saying, " I kid I had dyslexia. I had a lot of trouble in school and was put in remedial classes. I thought that I was stupid". She goes on to explain, "I kept thinking of ways to compensate. I learned to memorize things very well because I just couldn't spell words. So later when I got to take classes like chemistry and anatomy where I had to memorize things, it turned out I was very good at that."

Many of the students we see at the Yellin Center who have difficulty with parts of learning also struggle with issues of self esteem. They may question their abilities across the board, until they understand that they have areas of strength as well as weakness and that they can leverage their strengths -- as well as remediating their weaknesses -- to achieve success in school and in life.

Dr. Greider explained that when she began doing science experiments she "loved" it and "had fun with them". She had found the kind of work that fit her learning style and achieved the highest level of success.

While only a very few students grow up to win the Nobel Prize, we believe that young people who grow up understanding how they learn, appreciating their strengths and with strategies to improve their areas of weakness, and following their areas of interest and affinities will win another important prize -- appreciation of themselves and their work.

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