The phoneme, in reading, you might wonder how it works, what happens in dyslexic readers. In reading we begin with the intact printed word on the page. As I just indicated, the blocks representing the phonemes are all lined up correctly. The reader's job is to convert the letters to their sounds and to appreciate that the words are composed of smaller segments or phonemes. Dyslexic children and adults have difficulty in developing an awareness that spoken and written words are composed of these phonemes or building blocks. They fail to appreciate the internal sound structure of words. We now know the exact steps the child must take in order to learn to read. Overall, the child must come to know that the letters he sees on the page represents a map onto the sounds he hears when the same words spoken. The process of acquiring this knowledge is orderly and follows a logical sequence. First a child becomes aware that words he hears are not just whole envelopes of sound. The beginning reader starts to notice that words are made up of smaller segments. That words have parts. Next, the child becomes aware of the nature of these segments that they represent sounds. He realizes for example that in the word cat, there are three segments of sound ca ha ta. And then the child begins to link letters he sees on paper to what he hears in spoken language. He begins to realize that the letters are related to sounds he hears in words and that the printed word has the same number. And the same sequence of phone name sounds as a spoken word. Finally, he comes to understand that the printed word and the spoken word are related. He knows that the printed word has an underlying structure and that it is the same structure he hears in the spoken word. He understands that both spoken and written words can be pulled apart based on the same sounds, but in print letters represent the sounds. Once the child has mastered this linkage, he has mastered what is referred to as the alphabetic principle, he is ready to read. Reading is more typical than speaking. Why the effortless and seamless nature of spoken language has everything to do while reading is so hard for dyslexic children. Although speaking and reading both rely on the same particle, the phoneme, there is a fundamental difference. Speaking is natural and reading is not, here in lies the difficulty. Reading is an acquired act, an invention that must be learned at a conscious level. It is the very naturalness of speaking that makes reading so hard. The essential distinction between written and spoken language was best captured by linguist Leonard Bloomfield where he stated writing is not language. But merely a way of recording language by visible marks. So here's an important question. How does a child break the code in learning to read? The very first discovery a child makes on his way to reading is the realization that spoken words have parts. Suddenly the child appreciates that the word he hears comes apart into smaller pieces of sound. He has developed phonemic awareness. Once a child becomes aware of the segmental nature of spoken language. He has the basic elements, the particles of spoken language, phonemes and their sounds to which he can now attach the appropriate written letters decoded into phonemes. Words are processed automatically by the language system. The reading code is deciphered. So you may ask, what is the glitch hampering dyslexic children from learning to read? In dyslexic children, a glitch within the language system impairs the child's academic awareness. And therefore his ability to segment the spoken word into its underlying sounds. As a result of this deficit, children have difficulty breaking the reading code. The reading process consists of two major components decoding, which results in word identification and comprehension. In children who are dyslexic, which component of the reading process is problematic, decoding or comprehension. And what is the cause of the problem? Are there cognitive components that are intact and which ones are they? A phonological weakness at the lowest level of the language system impairs decoding. While the phonological component of the language system is impaired in dyslexia, the higher level components remain intact. Phonological abilities are not related to and in fact are quite independent of intelligence. Many children with superior intelligence developed dyslexia while other children with much lower levels of intelligence catch onto reading with relative ease. The phonological model crystallizes exactly what we mean by dyslexia. And now I want to introduce you to the sea of strengths model of dyslexia. As shown in this figure a circumscribed encapsulated weakness in decoding. You can see it right there at the center, it's often surrounded by a sea of strengths in reasoning, problem solving, understanding concepts, critical thinking, empathy and vocabulary. So at the center you have this weakness that's very obvious early on when Cchildren are learning to read. They can't decode so they can't identify the word. On the other hand, these higher level big picture strengths, reasoning, critical thinking, vocabulary, problem solving, empathy, general knowledge comprehension concept formation. And seeing the big picture are there and that's why so many dyslexics are big picture thinkers and incredibly intelligent. >> The only successful out of my life I realized is because I had the gift of dyslexia. The only reason I opened a few out of college, I took a complete risk. Crazy risk opening a small business, I grew into 20 plus businesses. Not because I went to, I didn't get an MBA at Yale is not because I read. It was taking those lessons that I learned struggling through. And just not giving up and the process of discovery of my own strength and weaknesses that led me to have the audacity to be creative enough. And being willing to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes and fail forward fast. That allowed me to open that first business and grow it to the second, third. It's the reason I got in politics. It's the reason why politics is a little different than anyone else because I'm a little different than a lot of other people. It's the gift that keeps on giving. It's still a struggle, but it's increasingly become my identity. And what we love to say what I feel is kind of my little superpower that I hide underneath my button down shirt. >> So, have your thoughts about dyslexia changed over time? >> Yeah, I'm more comfortable, I'm more not only more comfortable sharing my lived experience. I am discovering, yeah, it's funny some of the, it's really interesting. Some of the most empowered, empowering and powerful relationships I have, even if I don't know individuals personally. But I mean I really identify with them professionally and spiritually emotionally as examples and mentors even from a far, they all have dyslexia common. It's I'm attracted to it without even knowing they had dyslexia. And then I find out I'm like, no wonder and so there's a creative force, especially in the entrepreneurial space. There's an energy that is in the space. I mean, I grew up, Richard Branson was there's just this notion of I was my dream as a child. Yeah, I don't know adventure and you know Indiana Jones today, right? And then I start to meet and learn about this guy in real life. He's flying hot air balloons and is on boats and all this Richard Branson and and 15 years later I meet him. And I'm sitting there, I didn't even know he had dyslexia and I'm like, no wonder. And so, I just feel empowered by it. I'm not ashamed by it and I want to associate with other dyslexia. And I want to be connected to those that are a little wired, a little differently than everybody else.