Actor Stephen Graham [Premium]

Actor Stephen Graham [Premium]

Actor Stephen Graham has been described as one of the most talented actors the United Kingdom has ever seen. Yet, he almost didn’t get a chance at his breakthrough role in Snatch when the director Guy Ritchie, asked whether he had come to read for the part. Stephen had just come along to support his friend who was trying to get the job, but when Guy found out that he was also an actor, he encouraged him to give it a try. Stephen told him that because he was dyslexic, he couldn’t do a cold read. I don’t know whether he knew that Guy Ritchie is also dyslexic – but fortunately for Stephen, Guy asked him to improvise the scene instead and he completely smashed […]

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Dyslexia and Farming: Matt Baker [Premium]

Dyslexia and Farming: Matt Baker [Premium]

  “If somebody asked me if I could live my life again without dyslexia, I would say no, because  you recognise things and you do things differently to the way everybody else does, and that gets you to the front of the queue. You see things which are very obvious to you. I’m very practical and visual – that’s what I’m drawn to. And you find ways around challenges and it gives you a different perspective on life.” — Matt Baker of Our Farm in the Dales   In the United Kingdom, research has suggested that one in ten people are dyslexic, but besides being over-represented in schools of engineering and art design, dyslexia is also found more commonly in agricultural students (one in five). […]

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Rogue Hero: Mastermind of the Special Air Service, David Stirling [Premium]

Rogue Hero: Mastermind of the Special Air Service, David Stirling [Premium]

“The boy Stirling is quite mad, quite, quite mad. However, in a war there is often a place for mad people.” — General Bernard Montgomery   A recent documentary on the founding of the British Special Air Service mentioned that the unconventional mastermind was, in fact, dyslexic. David Stirling has a very non-linear and unpredictable start to his adult life. He started at Cambridge, but was thrown out in his first year because of a variety of poor performances and vices including gambling. He tried to make his way as an architect, then artist, then became interested in the possibility of becoming a mountaineer and reservist in the Scots Guards. David was in America working as a cowboy when the World War II began. He […]

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The Voice Inside Your Head [Premium]

The Voice Inside Your Head [Premium]

“When I was eight years old, a school psychologist gave me a bit of advice about my brain. He said I may have a form of brain damage, and he wanted to send me to a special class. I was a classic dyslexic: I wasn’t born with a good memory, and I couldn’t concentrate; reading and writing were always a challenge for me. Throughout my school career, I learned by having my mother and friends read the syllabus to me; I forced myself to memorize it and what I didn’t get, which was most of it, I just didn’t get. I had no future because I just couldn’t grasp what was being taught to me. In twelve years of school, I couldn’t read a book […]

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From High School Drop-Out to VP of Engineering [Premium]

From High School Drop-Out to VP of Engineering [Premium]

There are some people who are so insightful into their cognitive processes that talking to them is pure gold. Gary MacGregor is one of those people – he’s a VP of an electronic device company and recent PhD recipient from the University of Texas at Austin. He has a remarkable story and has been very generous in sharing what he has learned. Gary: “I’m a high school dropout. My parents were high school dropouts. I’m the first male in the family to go to college.” When Gary dropped out of school, he took a job working an oil refinery – a lucrative career for a person without a high school diploma. While he was working 12 hour shifts 84 hours a week, he would exercise […]

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Marlon Brando, Dyslexia, and Method Acting [Premium]

Marlon Brando, Dyslexia, and Method Acting [Premium]

There’s a new book out this year on method acting, and it mentions Marlon Brando, his mercurial temperament, his dyslexia, and his method acting. Apparently he had ambivalent feelings about taking one of the leading roles in A Streetcar Named Desire, and he was told to show up at the playwright’s (Tennessee Williams’) house in order to clinch the deal. After hitchhiking to Provincetown, he found Williams and his friends in the dark, occasionally getting up to go to the bathroom in the woods. Apparently, a fuse had blown and a toilet was broken and neither Williams nor any of his artist friends knew how to fix either. Brando immediately made an impression, fixing both, then reading for the lead character, Stanley Kowalski. Needless to […]

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Higher Math for Scientists: Don’t Give Up [Premium]

Higher Math for Scientists: Don’t Give Up [Premium]

“…To be a successful scientist, you need to do what you like to do. If you don’t like mathematics, don’t give up. That doesn’t forestall you’re being a scientist at all.” — E.O. Wilson   One of the first science professors I had as a freshman at Harvard was E.O. Wilson, a pioneer of Evolutionary Biology, and scientific giant. I would only learn years later that he was also dyslexic, struggled with math, and was blind in one eye due to a childhood injury. He passed away in December at the age of 92, and left a legacy of insights on the natural sciences and the education of young scientists. One bit of advice that drew him into controversy was his strong insistence that “being […]

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