Today, I had a great conversation with Jennifer Plosz, a math teacher currently at the University of Calgary School of Education who is also a talented visualization expert and is dyslexic.
She had recently been in touch with Dr. Manuel Casanova, the neuropathologist who made the interesting discovery that the minicolumn organization in the brain seemed to exist on a continuum with autistics on one end, dyslexics on the other, and neurotypicals somewhere “in-between.” Jennifer generously donated this infographic to Dyslexic Advantage. It can be purchased HERE in our Dyslexic Advantage Store.
The different pattern of connections might explain why some highly accomplished partnerships in Silicon Valley combine dyslexic executives with those on the spectrum. Creative technology companies, it seems benefit by big picture visionaries and powerful detail-oriented IT professionals.
Jennifer told us that her Canadian school system didn’t recognize dyslexia, but instead labeled all these students as ‘learning-disabled.’ As a result of this deficit-only view, the educational psychologist who tested Jennifer in high school, some 20 years ago, focused her report only on her weaknesses, not even naming areas of giftedness. The only scores reported were in the ‘limiting’ or ‘disabling’ range. The report predicted Jennifer would struggle with “advanced reading and mathematics, related to critical thinking ability . . . and problem solving”, not recognizing that she was already excelling in advanced high school math courses (!).
We will be exploring more of Jennifer’s approaches to math problem solving in our next Premium issue, but here’s an example of how Jennifer illustrates subtraction on a numberline using a story plus two characters.