Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Muse on The Big Picture

. . . [I]t's better for people to understand what I have
than . . . be left in the dark, and then be left
 to make up their own conclusion. . . .
~ Dylan Redford

Alexander Graham Bell. Albert Einstein. Thomas Edison. Leonardo da Vinci. Richard Branson. Cher. Charles Schwab. David Boies. Steven Spielberg. Mozart. Magic Johnson. George Patton. Hans Christian Anderson. Nelson Rockefeller. Andy Warhol. Whoopi Goldberg.* 

What do all of the above-named, all well-known people, have in common? Dsylexia, which the U.S. National Library of Medicine defines here as a  developmental reading difficulty "that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols."

It is estimated that one in 10 people (as many as 10 million children in the United States alone) experience dyslexia, which does not discriminate. As the list of just those few names above shows, anyone — inventor, scientist, business entrepreneur, artist, filmmaker, athlete, financier, politician, actor, legal professional, composer or musician, writer, military leader, anyone, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographic region, or level of intelligence — may experience this language-based learning problem and have difficulty recognizing and sounding letters, reading fluently, spelling accurately, or memorizing number facts.

Director James Redford has first-hand knowledge of the issue, and when given what he calls "the extraordinary opportunity" to make a film about the subject, he made "the movie I wish my family could have seen. . . ." His new film The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia is about his son Dylan's experience as a dyslexic; it is a story about understanding dyslexia. It shows not only how his son struggled daily but also how with proper diagnosis and intervention, learning loss can be overcome and self-esteem and confidence regained. As he points out in his Director's Statement, "[W]e are not alone in this; . . . [and] we hope that a broader and better understanding of dyslexia will help make the world a better place" for those affected.

A selection of the 2012 Sun Dance Film Festival and more than a half-dozen other film festivals across the country, the movie was shown on HBO in late October, during National Dyslexia Awareness Month. It's an important documentary that helps reframe perspectives on and discussions of dyslexia. If you're among those who want to further promote awareness, education, and understanding of dyslexia, take a look at these five action steps and let others know about the film.

Here's the trailer for The Big Picture. Go here for information to help find or host screenings.

The Big Picture on FaceBook


* This List of Famous People with Dyslexia contains some of the names provided.

50 Interesting Facts About Dyslexia

American Dyslexia Association

Davis Dyslexia Association International

Eye to Eye

International Dyslexia Association (The IDA's factsheets are here.)

Learning Ally

National Center for Learning Disabilities

Reading from Scratch

Yale Center for Dyslexia


Louise Gallagher said...

A friend of mine is on the board of the Association. Mary Davis is amazing -- and is the daughter of Thelma Box -- who founded Choices :) The world is a circle of connections. :)

Hannah Stephenson said...

Oh, wow. That list is pretty interesting!!