Sunday, December 10, 2017

West LDA Conference Talk February 2018, "Seeing What Others Cannot See"

Some of you may be interested to know that I will be giving a talk on my new book at the LDA annual conference February 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. A summary is provided below.
LDA Talk, February 21-24, 2018, Atlanta, GA. 
Title: “Seeing What Others Cannot See -- LD and Visual Thinking.” 
Presenter: Thomas G. West
When traveling giving talks about my first book, In the Mind’s Eye, I would talk with scientists, physicians, designers, artists, inventors and others. They often made the remark that their colleagues with dyslexia or other learning disabilities sometimes had a different way of looking at things and “they could see things that others could not see”-- whether in reference to an indefinite x-ray image or the solution to an enduring scientific puzzle. 
At first, I came to believe that this capability was most often characteristic of dyslexics who were also strong visual thinkers. Later, I was surprised to hear the very same words used by an advocate talking to a group of high school students with Asperger syndrome. 
Over the years, I heard similar observations hundreds of times in hundreds of different places. Gradually, I came to see that I was dealing with a pattern of consequence, one that many had observed in a variety of different fields. The cumulative effect was that I was handed an intriguing topic -- and a book title -- that I could no longer ignore. 
It is apparent that visual thinkers seem to experience the world differently from non-visual individuals and other “neuro-typicals.” And this, I believe, is a good thing -- although not usually recognized as such, especially in the early years of education. I have learned that for some people the easy things in primary school can be quite hard -- while the hard things in graduate school and in advanced work situations can be quite easy.
A recent series of conferences and investigations has indicted that the talents of those with dyslexia and other learning disabilities can be closely associated with remarkable success in such fields as scientific discovery, technological development, industrial design, epidemic disease control, pediatric surgery, entrepreneurial business, data encryption, code breaking and venture capital formation. In recent years, Singapore has initialed a program to take advantage of the distinctive talents of dyslexics and other different thinkers to help this small but dynamic country maintain its competitive edge and to continue to be a leader in technological and economic development. 
Those with LD often feel that they are on the wrong side of the printing press and conventional academic requirements. However, many are now discovering that that they have considerable advantages when it comes to computer graphics and the larger digital revolution -- where visual thinking and information visualization are more and more recognized as valuable work skills in a rapidly changing global economy. 
Short description
As modern computer systems and scientific information visualization become more important, the visual skills and talents seen in many dyslexics and those with LD are becoming increasingly valuable in a rapidly changing global economy. 
Short bio for LDA talk
Thomas G. West is the author of In the Mind's Eye: Creative Visual Thinkers, Gifted Dyslexics and the Rise of Visual Technologies -- selected as one of the “best of the best” for the year by the American Library Association. It has been translated into Japanese, Chinese and Korean. West has provided presentations for scientific, medical, art, design, computer and business groups in the U.S. and 19 foreign countries. West’s second book is: Thinking Like Einstein: Returning to Our Visual Roots with the Emerging Revolution in Computer Information Visualization. His third book is Seeing What Others Cannot See: The Hidden Advantages of Visual Thinkers and Differently Wired Brains.


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