The Gift of Dyslexia

The Gift of Dyslexia

Why Some of the Smartest People Can't Read and How They Can Learn (Revised and Expanded)

By: Ronald D. Davis with Eldon M.Braun

First published in 1994, Ron Davis’ The Gift of Dyslexia became an immediate best-seller and changed the face of how dyslexia is viewed – and how it can be remedied – worldwide. The third revised and expanded edition published in 2010 contains added information to help with the mental techniques for orientation and attention focus that are the hallmark of the Davis program.

 

 

Publication Data

Perigee Books 2010
Book Finder: ISBN: 978-0399535666

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74 comments

  • Susan T

    Hi,
    I’m a special education elementary (Grades 2-5) reading instructor in the United States (Connecticut). I typically use the Orton Gillingham approach with programs like Wilson and SPIRE with my students who have reading disabilities/dyslexia with good success. However, I’m working with a student who has not benefitted from either of these programs nor the sight word based program EdMark. A parent of one of my students gave me “The Gift of Dyslexia” years ago and I’m planning on reading it again this summer. I would love to attend one of your trainings, but this is not financially possible for myself or the public school I work for. What other affordable resources can I find to learn how to apply the Davis Program with my students?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      As a start, make sure that the book you are re-reading is the 2010 version pictured on this page (blue cover). There were two previous editions and the newest version has quite a lot of practical information that was not contained in the previous versions. (For example, explanations of Davis tools such as alignment and dial-setting).

      From there, ask your school if they can fund the purchase of a single Davis Orientation & Symbol Mastery Kit – see https://shop.dyslexia.com/smkit for the kit description. You only need one, because you want the information that comes with the kit in the manual and instructional videos. You may need some extra materials if you later work with additional students — for example, more clay, and you might want extra items like alphabet strips. But these can be purchased separately as needed later on. The kit will come with an order form you can use if you need extras of any of the kit parts.

      For more help and guidance, check our website at https://www.symbolmastery.com/ — and if you are on Facebook, you can join our the Davis method support group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/davisdyslexia/

  • Vincent R

    I’m 65 years old I can remember how I was treated growing up. In school, home, and growing up was at times hell. I was padded at school whipped and punished at home. teased a lot. cuz some things I just didn’t understand. I would write backwards upside down. they even sent a psychiatrist over to the school to evaluate me that was in the 3rd grade. I was put back on the 4th grade. The worse filling, alot of kids Teased me. I wascall stupid some teachers were really nice. I started fighting alot and drinking at 8 years old. In high school was a little betterin some classes would get better grades but not enough to graduate. So still called stupid by my parents. And lots of people. A worker at my Job told me that I was dyslexic. because of order forms I filled out he told me that I was writing some of the numbers backwards and some of the letters 2. I never knew that what’s going on with my head. I to this day never knew thatadults had the same problem that I did I guess now they call it A DST. I might try to get a book are cd. When I get paid. Thanks for the information. It took 65 years to find this out.

    • Erin

      It breaks my heart that you were treated so unkindly because of your gift. We recently discovered my 8 year old son has dyslexia. He was bullied in Kindergarten and we decided to homeschool after that. My son struggles with thinking he is stupid but I try to remind him that he has super strengths that others don’t have and we just have to figure out the right tools and strategies that will help him thrive. He seemed comforted to know that other people face the same types of challenges and he is not alone. I hope that going forward, you will recognize how valuable your life and gifts are to the world.

      • Sean T

        Hi Erin,
        I have developed dyslexia after suffering a brain injury this summer. I was going to school for math and physics and was doing well, but now I feel like I can’t concentrate on reading tasks or understanding verbal auditory information, and I forget things a lot, including my personal belongings. I want your son to know that he is not alone. I am thinking of becoming a mountain guide or a worker for an amc hut or trail maintenance, which would provide me with physical work which I love food and a place to sleep out in nature.

  • Gina S

    Hi Everyone,
    I am a 64 year old Dyslexic female.
    During the 1960s while I was in grammar school, no one understood the problem. I was considered a very slow learner/ reader. I could not read fluently until approx. the 6th grade.
    I had little to no supervision which allowed me to develop other skills such as art, clowning and eventually incredible penmanship.
    My teachers mistreated me some years.
    In the 6th grade I had a special (male) teacher who recognized my ability to grasp geometry and spatial awareness. A light went off.

    By highschool I developed talents in art, drafting and mechanical drawing and creativity in many areas but I was permanently damaged by my early school experiences.

    I left school and home my junior year of high school, but easily made a living independently making jewelry.

    In my early 20s I went to work in landscaping and became a designer with a year.

    Whenever I tried to go back to school I would cry all the way home, but took enough classes to fill in some gaps.

    I now have a successful career of 40 years and am very technology savvy, easily competing with masters level landscape architects (in residential design).

    So my point is, give your dyslexic child enough freedom to follow their possible talents, and enough guidance to have a positive school experience. Protect them from ruthless teachers if needed.
    A diagnosis these days usually takes care of getting the support.
    There are so many intelligent, and successful people with dyslexia.

    G.

    • Glady

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m 66 years old, and my teacher in the sixth grade also helpEd me with this. She saw that I was good in math and I had good grades on math. When I went to college in my thirties, I took nine test with a doctor and he Also told me that I had a good memory and sustaining all the math Problems.
      While I was in college I use lots of color pens or color pencils. That helped me a lot with my other classes.
      I’m going to read book to see what I did right all my life.

      Thank you again.

  • Audra

    My son is 12 and school have just informed me by letter today he is showing signs of dyslexia.This has never been mentioned to me before eg.parents nights so why has it taken so long and just before he starts high school.He went to a speach therapist for 3 years from nearly 3 years old and dyspraxia was mentioned then…..is this linked?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Yes, the early problems with speech and dyspraxia could be tied to the signs of dyslexia your son is now exhibiting.

      Sometimes dyslexia first becomes apparent later when school demands and expectations are increased. So it may be that your son reads well enough to manage the material he was given in the lower grades — but is running into trouble because the reading assignments are more difficult and students are expected to produce more written work.

      • Gideon

        Good day sir/ma,
        My daughter has a similar problem like the ones said above. She lacks concentration, can not copy words from board, but strives when you puts down the letters one at a time, had to talk in class or joining others doing class work,can not speak fluently as at her age of 5years plus,please I need a help.

        • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

          Gideon, the book will give you information that may help you better understand your daughter’s needs and how to help her. The program that is described in the book is geared to older children (age 8 and over) — but you can introduce a younger child to all the technique if you take a more slow and gentle approach. When working with a younger child it is important to create a relaxed and playful environment to allow the child to experience success as part of the learning process.

    • Gretch

      My son is now 10 year old, he just learned to tie his shoe laces last year at 9 and sometimes just goes without tying the laces, he writes like a 6 y.o. and his attention span is short. He has trouble with letters, writes words like “theSe, cooKed, WaShing uP, eaSy, oF, aPPreciate, haS, ProVided, leaSt, Your, WardS”. Teachers writes in cursive at school and for him it all looked like hoops and refuses to write anymore. No matter how hard i try to teach and correct him, he just doesnt follow, he cant spell words well, copies letter by letter when he writes and he doesnt put space in between words. Its just frustrating coz we live in one of the small islands of the philippines and we cant support a treatment or special education for him, not to mention we dont have dyslexia center in iloilo. I once watched the movie “like stars on earth” and it got me into tears coz my son is in a pretty close case as the boy on the movie, i reviewed his hand writting and the symptoms online to know he is one. The classrooms in our province is made of 40 children per teacher, and theres no way 1 teacher can give him all the attention he needs. I talked to his teachers and they all similarly said my son wont write no matter how they try to convince him, dont answer tests and reads slowly, and always gets zero on exams. He gets teased for this and becomes aggressive at school, it doesnt help when my husband cant understand our sons “dumbness,laziness” at school, i know it breaks our son slowly and its heart breaking painful for me too. I just pity him so much and love him so much but cant afford a special school for him. What can i do to help on his situation. Please help.

      • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

        Gretch, I would encourage you to buy the book — it has very specific instructions on how to get started with the key Davis tools at home.
        We have additional support materials that you can buy as well, but because of high shipping costs, I think that it’s best when you are in a remote area to start with the book alone. That will give you a good sense of whether the Davis approach is right for you, and whether you feel comfortable with working with your own child.

  • Ifeka C

    Is their a David facilitator in Nigeria? What will i need to do to become a David Facilitator in Nigeria?

  • Melissa H

    Hello my son is 13 years old and he is intelligent but is finding himself falling to lower sets in class because he keeps doing bad on tests and assignments I’ve spoken to the school a few times about this and they just fob me off I think my son has mild dislexia. He tells me that he runs out of time in tests and usually leaves the back pages and that he has to read things over and over again to understand. At parents evening all his teachers separately tell me how clever he is if they ask him a question but getting him to put it on paper is a different story. I really want to get him help now before he fails his GCSEs over miss diagnosis please help

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Many very bright children struggle due to dyslexia, but do not qualify for a formal diagnosis or support in a school setting because they are not falling behind enough. The methods described in The Gift of Dyslexia are particularly helpful for kids like that, who often experience radical improvement when introduced to the Davis tools. With a very bright and motivated youngster, you may find that it is possible to work very successfully just following the detailed instructions in the final chapters of the book. However, you can also consult with a Davis Facilitator — a formal diagnosis is not required. If the child feels that he has a problem and wants help, then a Davis program probably will give him the tools needed to overcome that problem.

      Here is a link where you can find contact information for Davis facilitators in the UK: https://www.davismethod.org/loc/uk/

  • Chinyere

    My son is 8 years and find it difficult to write, read and pronounce words. At school the teachers does not pay attention to him, so I started teaching him by myself which I can see the improvement. But can I take him back to school to associate with other kids or should I continue with him at home? Again please how can I get the Davis learners kit or the book?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      The book is available from many sources — if you click the “Bookfinder” link it will lead you to a list that you can modify based on your location.

      Our kits can be purchased at https://shop.dyslexia.com/ I would recommend reading the book first as international shipping costs for the kit can be quite costly. You may decide that the book gives you enough information to get started, and that you can purchase support materials such as modeling clay for lower cost locally.

  • Sara A

    Its interesting we don’t call lefties disabled or diseased, but we do so with dyslexia. In my opinion the two are very similar and I think in the past when lefties were forced to use right handed implements they were driven to develop disabilities in a similar way. Both me and my daughter are dyslexic and we are both successful and have musical talents. I use very different parenting techniques and taught my daughter to read proficiently using very creative techniques. The parenting and the techniques are just not developed enough yet to reach other dyslexics thought I am glad progress is being made.

  • Lynda B

    I am so very grateful to know that Ronald Davis and Elden Braun published this book, suggesting that there are often very smart people who cannot learn the way most of us learn. I just learned that a good young adult man I know has dyslexia. I strongly believe that dyslexic people CAN learn if something is presented in a way they can learn.
    I taught high school chemistry and taught my students with many different modes. I used song, dance or physical movement to teach my students. In balancing equations, we used beans dyed with food color, so that students could “get” balancing equations. In solving the gas law equations, I had them physically move little cards with variable symbols on them, so they could solve PV=nRT easily by physically moving the cards diagonally across the equal sign. Without having read the Davis book yet, I am certain that there is a way to help dyslexic people. I am so happy to find this book. I want to help my friend, and I’m sure that using this book, I can.

  • Stefan

    I am 20 and I read like an 8/9 year old. My spelling is horrible. I have given up on actual reading and I listen to everything. Audio books and a USB flash drive with synthetic speech programs is how I go true life. A lot of people have given help to me, to get me to the level I am on today.

    I have never heard of this program and so have the people that I askt. This program sound like a fairytale and I know that the world does not word that way. Can someone convince me that this is not just a fairytale? that this not only works on ‘some’ people? And please, don’t be afraid to come up with facts and to refer to scientific research. I will understand !!

    I live in the south of the Nederland’s and Belgium is close by. Is there a local center whare I can ask my question.

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Stefan, there are many Davis Facilitators in Nederland — you can find a list of all of them here: https://www.davismethod.org/loc/netherlands/

      I would suggest that you use the map or navigation links to find a Facilitator near you. Ask the facilitator to provide references of other adult clients they have worked with. You will be able to tell from each listing how long that facilitator has been licensed. All facilitators are fully qualified to provide Davis programs because of the rigorous practical training requirements, but the more experienced facilitators will likely have more references to provide, simply because they will have worked with more clients over the years.

      Adults tend to do very well with the Davis program because of higher levels of motivation and maturity. It is important to follow through with the program, using the tools you are provided after your week with the facilitator.

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