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Finding Words in Paint: How Artists See Dyslexia

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Six artists who have dyslexia find their words in art.

NPR

“I understand things visually, by finding them in paint. I don’t know if my dyslexia causes me to be this way, but I have a feeling it does.” — Rachel Deane, painter.

We know lots of facts about dyslexia: It’s the most common reading disorder. It changes the way millions of people read and process information.

But we know much less about how it feels to people who have it. How it shapes your self-image, your confidence and how people see and react to you.

And so I reached out to some really creative people — artists who have dyslexia — to talk about this.

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Education

How A Happy School Can Help Students Succeed

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Every day at Weiner Elementary School starts with a dance party, usually to Best Day of My Life by American Authors — and that’s before the 7:50 a.m. bell even rings.

Then comes the morning assembly, where all 121 students and the staff gather for 20 minutes in the cafeteria of the school in Weiner, Ark. They sing songs and learn about an artist, a musician and an international city of the week.

They celebrate birthdays. A lucky student is crowned Student of the Day. And Pam Hogue makes it her goal to be an educator instead of a principal.

That assembly — and the many other things this school does to create a sense of community and happiness — is part of what experts call school climate.

“It’s a feeling in a building,” Hogue explains. “When you walk in here, it just feels right. It looks like a place where learning is happening.”

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Education and Brown M&Ms

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You have heard the jokes about the “Red M&Ms” when referring to people with outrageous demands or acting like divas.  This story had been so convoluted, that many people (including myself) had thought that at some point, a rock band, had asked for only red M&Ms, but in fact, this story was wrong.  Listening to a podcast this morning, they had mentioned that the band Van Halen had actually requested in their contracts that all of the Brown M&Ms be removed from the bowl, but according to them, there was a hidden reason behind this (From entrepreneur.com):

Buried amongst dozens of points in Van Halen’s rider was an odd stipulation that there were to be no brown M&M’s candies in the backstage area. If any brown M&M’s were found backstage, the band could cancel the entire concert at the full expense of the promoter. That meant that because of a single candy, a promoter could lose millions…

To ensure the promoter had read every single word in the contract, the band created the “no brown M&M’s” clause. It was a canary in a coalmine to indicate that the promoter may have not paid attention to other more important parts of the rider, and that there could be other bigger problems at hand.

Whenever the band found brown M&M’s candies backstage, they immediately did a complete line check, inspecting every aspect of the sound, lighting and stage setup to make sure it was perfect. David Lee Roth would also trash the band’s dressing room to prove a point — reinforcing his reputation in the process.

Van Halen created a seemingly silly clause to make sure that every little detail was taken care of. It was important, both for the experience of the fans and the safety of the band, to make sure that no little problems created bigger issues.

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