HBO Documentary Takes In-Depth Look at Dyslexia

“THE BIG PICTURE: RETHINKING DYSLEXIA,” a documentary directed by James Redford, will premiere on Monday, October 29, 2012 at 7 p.m. on HBO. The film focuses on a dyslexic high school student who pursues admission to a leading college – a challenge for a boy who didn’t learn to read until 4th grade. This student, Dylan, is Redford’s son. Additional accounts of the dyslexic experience from children, experts, and iconic leaders at the top of their fields, help us to understand that dyslexia, a persistent problem with learning to read, can be as great a gift as it sometimes is an obstacle.


“Colleagues at our fellow Orton-Gillingham accredited schools in Atlanta, who had the opportunity to preview the film, said the documentary is extremely well-done and offers an informative look at dyslexia,” says Sandi Clerici, interim head of school at Trident Academy. “The opportunity for the public to gain a better understanding of dyslexia, and the importance of individualized, multisensory education, like that provided at Trident Academy, is incredibly important.”


One of the students featured in the film, Skye, is a dyslexic sixth grader who used to dread school, but thrived after she enrolled in a school that specialized in treating dyslexia and taught her how to “crack the code” of reading.


Redford punctuates the personal stories with commentary by Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz of The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, who explain the most recent medical and scientific findings. There are also interviews with notable dyslexics, including investment pioneer Charles Schwab, business magnate Richard Branson, high-profile lawyer David Boies and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, that show how an individual’s unique strategies for coping can help lead to success in life.


“THE BIG PICTURE: RETHINKING DYSLEXIA” uses animation and figurative language to show what it’s like to have dyslexia, providing a new way to comprehend this unseen and often misunderstood disorder.


Though up to 20% of students are dyslexic, many pass through school unidentified, misunderstood and performing below their potential. Paradoxically, these disorders are often found in highly intelligent, creative minds, and can also be seen as a gift, because many people with dyslexia naturally think outside the box and see the big picture, finding alternative solutions to problems that others might not see.


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