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David Boies

David Boies

David Boies is an attorney repeatedly chosen to try many of the nation’s landmark high-profile cases, representing such varied clients as Vice President Al Gore in litigation surrounding the controversial 2000 election, the U.S. Department of Justice in its successful antitrust suit against Microsoft, and gay and lesbian couples in overturning California’s ban on gay marriage.

Although unable to read until the third grade, and a slow reader to this day, Boies learned to compensate for his dyslexia by developing outstanding powers of concentration and a keen memory. According to Time Magazine, he has an “uncanny ability to recall a key fact, legal citation or piece of contradictory testimony at moments of the most intense pressure.” Boies is Chairman of the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner.

 

Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson

Arguably the most successful high school dropout in the history of business, Sir Richard Branson struggled in school due to dyslexia. At age 16 he informed the school’s Headmaster he was leaving. The Headmaster replied, “You will either end up in prison or a millionaire.”

The words proved prophetic. Branson’s entrepreneurial drive was unmatched, and he went on to launch Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America airlines, and hundreds of other Virgin branches. Sir Richard is also an avid explorer and adventurer, holds various land and air speed records, is part of a peacemaking group of legendary leaders that includes Nelson Mandela and President Jimmy Carter, and, oh yes, was knighted by the Queen of England.

 

Sheree Carter-Galvan

Sheree Carter-Galvan

Sheree is Sebastian’s mom and over the years she has learned the value of engaging Sebastian’s teachers along the way, with informative articles to help them understand his core issues. Sheree is general counsel at Yale University.

 

Toby Cosgrove, MD

Toby Cosgrove, MD

Dr. Toby Cosgrove, one of the country most innovative and distinguished cardiac and thoracic surgeons, didn’t know he was dyslexic until age 32. Rejected by 12 out of the 13 medical schools to which he applied because of poor test scores, his innate skills as a clinician and his inventive mind have pushed him to the top of his field.

Dr. Cosgrove completed more than 22,000 operations, performed the first minimally invasive mitral valve surgery, and patented 18 medical and clinical products used in surgical environments. He points out that in surgery, dyslexia is an advantage because it favors spatial relationships. Hungry for a different challenge, at the age of 64, Dr. Cosgrove became the president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic. Under his tutelage, the Clinic has flourished to a $4.6 billion healthcare system stretching from Cleveland to Florida, Toronto, and soon Abu Dhabi. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Cleveland Clinic as one of the top three hospitals in the U.S.

 

Sebastian Galvan

Sebastian Galvan

Sebastian is a highly creative student in 5th grade. He credits working extra hard and using things like flashcards for his success in school, and encourages all kids with dyslexia to share the facts with their friends. He is an avid ski racer and has competed on the national level in his age group.

 

Geralyn Lucas

Geralyn Lucas

Geralyn shares a home with two dyslexics: with daughter Skye and husband Tyler (who realized he was dyslexic after his daughter received her diagnosis). Geralyn encourages all parents to never give up on their child’s education. A writer and journalist, she is the author of Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy.

 

Skye Lucas

Skye Lucas

Skye is a 7th grader with dyslexia who remembers initially hating school and often pretending to be sick to avoid going to class. After attending The Windward School for Dyslexics, Skye is now attending a mainstream school and enjoying it, now that she has had the help she needed to understand her dyslexia.

 

Tyler Lucas, MD

Tyler Lucas, MD

Tyler Lucas is a highly successful orthopedic surgeon who remembers struggling with reading but was not aware of his disorder until he began to research dyslexia after his daughter, Skye, was diagnosed as dyslexic. Tyler emphasizes that dyslexia should not be referred to as a learning disability but rather a learning ability in that it encourages deeper thinking.

 

Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom is the current Lieutenant Governor of California and previously Mayor of San Francisco from 2003-2011. Diagnosed at age five, but unaware of his condition until 5th grade because his mother didn’t want him to use his disability as a crutch, Newsom labored to read, spell and work with numbers.

When asked to speak to students about his experiences, Newsom is gratified when parents tell him how inspiring it is to their dyslexic children to know he shares their disability and has achieved success, so they can too. The key, he tells students, is to “develop discipline, for when you can apply discipline to a problem in life, you can solve any problem. When you start to learn that, your self-esteem begins to change, and then your sense of self and possibility, every aspect of your life, small and large.”

 

Bonnie Patten

Bonnie Patten

Bonnie Patten is the Executive Director of Truth In Advertising, a non-profit watch dog group. As a litigation attorney, Patten successfully defended physicians in complex and unique medical claims. “A lawyer needs to read vast amounts of material, to understand and remember what the material says, and to pay attention to details. To catch nuances that others may have missed and then distill it all down to its essence so a jury can understand it.” And what makes Patten especially good at her job? Being dyslexic.

“Ironically, my dyslexia sometimes helps me pick up on details that turn out to be pivotal,” Patten says. “I can’t glance through case law and documents related to a specific lawsuit and immediately get the gist of what’s going on. I have to review everything, sometimes more than once. Reading in this methodical way takes more time – I am forced to pay attention to every single word – but it’s not such a bad thing. In a profession in which an “and” or an “or” can make all the difference, my reading style is a positive, not a negative. You would say it gives me a little bit of an edge.”

 

Karen Pritzker

Karen Pritzker

Karen Pritzker is the mother of Allison Schwartz. She is the co-founder of The My Hero Project, President of Seedling Foundation and a former magazine editor. Her freelance work has appeared in numerous publications including Success, Seventeen, Kirkus Reviews and Newsday. She is the mother of four children and lives with her husband and four dogs in Stony Creek, CT.

 

Dylan Redford

Dylan Redford

Dylan Redford is the son of Kyle and James Redford. Dylan struggled to such a degree growing up with dyslexia that even his mother (a teacher) started lowering her academic expectations for him. Dylan never gave up on himself. Indeed, he is the originator of “totally owning” one’s dyslexia. He is a freshman at Middlebury College.

 

Kyle Redford

Kyle Redford

Kyle Redford is the mother of Dylan and a 5th grade teacher at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera, CA. She writes articles about dyslexia and education and is currently writing an educational survival guide for dyslexics and their families.

 

Charles D. Schwab

Charles D. Schwab

Charles “Chuck” Schwab founded the first discount brokerage firm in America, helped solidify online investing as an everyday tool, and is a pioneer in helping millions of ordinary Americans take control of their savings and investments through the Charles Schwab Corporation.

He also had no idea he was dyslexic until age 40, after learning of his son’s diagnosis. Although he failed both French and English as a freshman at Stanford University, his strong conceptual capabilities helped him solve complicated business problems. After completing an Economics degree, he continued at Stanford to earn an MBA. “Even though I couldn’t read quickly, I could imagine things much faster than people who were stuck thinking sequentially. I could visualize how things would look at the end of the tunnel.” Schwab formed the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation to assist children with dyslexia.

 

Allison Schwartz

Allison Schwartz

Allison is the daughter of Karen Pritzker and was not diagnosed with dyslexia until age 23. Allison remembers overhearing a conversation when she was in 4th grade about how she would never be able to master geography or language (she went on to learn Farsi and Arabic and had a Bat Mitzvah in Hebrew.) Armed with determination and countless boxes of flash cards she made to memorize study materials, Allison excelled. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and received her master’s degree in American Studies from Columbia University in 2008. Allison has worked at the New Haven Advocate, The Cook Country Prosecutor’s office and as a fellow for the Correctional Association of New York.

 

Bennett Shaywitz, MD

Bennett Shaywitz, MD

Dr. Bennett Shaywitz, a pediatric neurologist, is the Charles and Helen Schwab Professor in Dyslexia and Learning Development, Chief of Pediatric Neurology and Co-Director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity at the Yale University School of Medicine. A member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, Dr. Shaywitz, the author of more than 300 scientific publications, uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify a neural signature for dyslexia, making a previously hidden disability visible, and demonstrating the brain basis for the accommodation of extra time needed by dyslexic readers on high-stakes standardized tests.

 

Sally Shaywitz, MD

Sally Shaywitz, MD

Dr. Sally Shaywitz, a developmental pediatrician, serves on the faculty of Yale University School of Medicine as the Audrey G. Ratner Professor in Learning Development and is the Co-Director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. Dr. Shaywitz is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, and is the author of over 200 scientific publications, including the top-selling book on the subject, Overcoming Dyslexia (Knopf, 2003; Vintage, 2005). Dr. Shaywitz conceptualized the “Sea of Strengths” model of dyslexia which emphasizes a sea of strengths of higher critical thinking and creativity surrounding the encapsulated weakness in spoken language found in children and adults who are dyslexic. She is currently writing a new book to help dyslexic children, their parents and teachers.