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Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Inspiring Words About Scientists With Learning and Attention Issues

In the News blog post by Andrew M I Lee
May 06, 2015

Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking at the Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference

Lots of kids already looked up to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He’s hosted TV shows like Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and NOVA Science Now. He’s the director of the Hayden Planetarium at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History.

Now, a YouTube clip is making him an inspiration for young scientists with learning and attention issues.

Posted last week, the clip already has more than 11,000 views. It shows Tyson at a talk he gave at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies in Madison, Wisconsin, for Earth Day. Lois Buckingham, an 8-year-old with dyslexia, asked him if there are any people in his field who have dyslexia.

“The answer is yes,” said Tyson. “I have colleagues who have dyslexia.” He went on to say he also has colleagues with ADHD and dyscalculia. Some are on the autism spectrum, he added.

He explained to Lois how scientists learn to manage their issues and succeed. And he offered these words of encouragement about having an issue like dyslexia. “It’s a hurdle, but in the Olympics, what do you do when you come up to a hurdle? You jump over it.”

How did Lois react? “She was excited … to hear that this is a field that not only accepts her difference but that it is a home for lots of people with ‘issues,’” says her mom, Tanya Buckingham. “His words honored her dedication to work and to learning.”

And in one more note of encouragement, Tanya points out that Lois’ dyslexia has been a gift as well as a hurdle. “She is independently strong, determined, and resilient—and dyslexia has taught her this.”

Watch the video below to see the uplifting exchange between Tyson and Lois.

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About the Blogger

Portrait of Andrew Lee

Andrew M.I. Lee is an editor and former attorney who strives to help people understand complex legal, education and parenting issues.

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