October marks National Dyslexia Month, and a new documentary called "The Big Picture: Re-Thinking Dyslexia" shines a new light on the learning disability. NY1 Parenting Correspondent Shelly Goldberg filed the following report.
There's never been a better time to be dyslexic than now, and director James Redford just might be onto something.
Redford's new film, "The Big Picture: Re-thinking Dyslexia", explores the learning disability which affects up to 20 percent of students. It greatly impacts a person's reading abilities and other areas of learning but Redford says it may, in fact, be a gift.
"When you come up against a sort of neurological roadblock as you're learning language and how to read, it is within the human capacity to sort of find other branches to pursue, to get to the end result in different ways. And it's in that branching out and being multi-sensory and finding different ways to solve problems than the conventional ways that the dyslexics start to excel," says Redford.
Speaking of excel, the documentary points to the extraordinary lives of investment pioneer Charles Schwab and global entrepreneur Richard Branson, just two successes on a long list of notable dyslexics.
Another notable dyslexic in Redford's life? is his own son.
"He's always been an amazing artist, and he really had wonderful skills with drawing and yet his handwriting skills were almost illegible," says Redford. "And I think when families are looking for how to get their kids through school it's important to say, 'Well what else are you besides dyslexic? What other interests do you have?' The world isn't just about reading and writing and trying to overcome your struggle with that. You'll find areas where you'll actually thrive."
Redford also has some great advice for those who see their dyslexia as a liability.
"Instead of saying, 'I'm stupid', or, 'There's something wrong with me', they can say, 'Oh I have dyslexia, and it means I struggle with this, but I may just be good at that,'" says Redford.
The HBO documentary "The Big Picture: Re-thinking Dyslexia" debuts Monday, October 29 at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit hbo.com.