At 45th College Reunion, Law Prof Realizes Reading Struggle Was Dyslexia
New York Law School professor David Schoenbrod figured he couldn’t be dyslexic. After all, he had succeeded in a career that is dependent on skill with words.
But he did have trouble with reading all his life, he recalls in the Huffington Post. He excelled at math and science, but remembers he got the answers wrong when a sixth grade teacher wrote a math quiz on the blackboard that stated the quantities in words rather than numerals. He had trouble with his history readings in college, until he figured out the likely test questions and outlined the answers ahead of time.
In law school, he was a “laborious writer” until a professor had students write about the law copying the style of a magazine article and then had them read their papers aloud. “That way, we heard our clunkers, and might eventually acquire the skill of ‘hearing’ them even when reading silently to ourselves,” he writes. “This made writing an extension of talking rather than reading. What a relief.”
Schoenbrod finally accepted he had dyslexia when he attended a lecture at his 45th college reunion. He learned that dyslexics have an impediment translating letters on a page into sounds and then words, but some develop compensating mechanisms in other regions of the brain. That explains why dyslexics excel at seeing the big picture, problem solving and simplifying.
Schoenbrod says he plans to be more open about his dyslexia. And he will support giving dyslexics more exam time. “I count myself lucky,” he says. “Indeed, if I could erase dyslexia from my life, I wouldn’t. But I would erase ignorance of it.”