LOL: Lots of Luck? Laughing out Loud? Or, learning Outside the Lines ...
An Interview about alternative learning with Jonathan Mooney
By Thom Gillespie, Maître d´ Igital

My wife is a reference librarian at a small midwestern public library. Usually the heavily requested books are fiction, Harry Potter, Stephen King, the usuals. Over dinner one night she mentioned that there was a book on learning diabilities which was gathering more reserves than any of the fiction books. She said it might be interesting so I went checking and discovered Learning Outside the Lines by Jonathan Mooney, and David Cole, two "academic failures" who graduated from Brown University at the top of their class. I read the book in one sitting. The book is basically divided into two sections: the stories of Jonathan and Dave's experiences with 'school' and techniques they have developed for dealing successfully with 'school.' I contacted Simon & Schuster and they put me in touch with Jonathan Mooney the primary author of the book. The following is an interview I did with Jonathan in mid October, 2000

Are you on a book tour now?

I am but describing it as a book tour would be ambitious. It is more of a grassroots thing, a lot parents and teachers bringing me to their schools and communities to speak. I was in 5 cities in the last two weeks and tomorrow I leave again. Recently I was in communities in Orlando, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Los Angeles.

Are these grade schools which are bringing you in?

It varies. The school in Orlando was a K-12 private school where I did talks with the student body and I did a formal presentation with their faculty and a talk which was open to the larger educational community in Orlando. These are really the three different models I present but I also do a lot of teacher in-services and keynote addresses at , for example, LDA, the Learning Disabilities Association of America, or the International Dyslexia Association.

What were you doing this time last year?

This time last year I was a student, I was finishing the book which was a frightening thing to think about. I graduated in May.

So, what did you graduate in?

I graduated with an AB from Brown in English Literature.

So, you are a dyslexic with an English literature degree?

The catch phrase is this. I didn't learn to read until I was 12. I spell at the 3rd grade level and read in the 12th percentile and I graduated with a 4.0 in English Literature from Brown, an Ivy League school.

So, how did you do that?

How did I do that? Two things. I worked my ass off and I connected with something I cared about . On top of that I immersed myself in an educational environment which was right for me. Brown was the right place for me to go to school and it really reinforced my belief in the importance of accommodations and the role that environments can play in being disabling. Put me in Columbia, one of the strictest school in the country and I graduate with a 2.0.


What did you say your reading level is?

12th percentile which is really just an indication of reading rate which is mostly speed. It would be a mistake to say that my reading comprehension was in the 12th percentile.

Are you a reader?

O God, I'm a ferocious reader. I can't imagine anything else I would rather do. I read all the time. I read about a book a week, primarily literature. I am in love with literature, with narrative and stories. Hey, I have a great story about reading.

I was in Orlando doing a presentation with kids and I went into flow. I normally start out doing a spelling bee with the kids. I usually lose in the first round which I do here. I'm talking to this little girl and she asks me this question: So, you have a hard time reading but you like to read? And she has this confused look on her face as I say, "No, I love reading as long I don't beat myself up about my reading and focus on what I love about reading which is characters and fiction." Later that afternoon she asked me about Harry Potter and I tell her I haven't read Harry yet so then I get a note from her with all the Harry Potter books listed. She said I inspired her to read more because I love to read in spite of the fact that I don't read well. That was pretty cool.

Have you always loved reading?

As a kid I always loved reading but it was one of those ironies in that reading was really difficult for me. When I was immersed in school it was really a painful subject. I learned to hate it a little bit because it was associated with reading in front of the class, out load and all that horrible stuff. In high school I was really a soccer athlete. I loved to read but again reading was really caught up in performing in an academic environment which I didn't do too well. It wasn't until I went away to college that I really re-engaged with my passion for reading. It had to do with the fact that I could integrate reading entirely into my curriculum as opposed to having reading as a subject area, 1 hour a day.

Let's say that somewhere down the line you are a teacher, how would you teach reading at the grade school level?

I would integrate all types of reading. I think too often in my educational experiences and what I have seen in schools that kids are handed books which they are not engaged by. I meet a lot of dyslexic kids who love Harry Potter and I think if we could find a way to bring Harry into our English studies you would really hook kids on reading. I would make sure there was room for many different types of literature in the curriculum based upon what kids want to read. I would have a hard core phonics component which was a balance between whole word and phonics based reading methods because neither by themselves is sufficient. Part of my struggles in school was that I was not given a phonics background. I would also make sure that reading was an intellectual task in the sense that reading was about ideas and not so much about getting the right idea or details. I think kids often shut down to reading when it is just about getting the right answer and being either right or wrong as opposed to reading being the practice of thinking.

Jonathan, you know there were two researchers named Daniel N. Fader and Morton H. Shaevitz who wrote a book called åHooked on books' in the mid 60s which said the same thing. They said that if you wanted kids to read you had to get them what they wanted to read but you can't quibble on what they want to read. If they want to read racing car books you get them racing car books. The key thing was to get kids the experience and practice of reading and allow them to grow as readers.

If you think about reading and kids you have to realize that there are companies which make a lot of money on the reading of first graders. There are companies which have contracts with school districts whose books are disseminated across the board and they make a lot of money. Why the hell would they want some teaching being able to say åNo, no, I'm not going to order your book today. I'm going to allow this kid to bring in Harry Potter because he or she loves Harry's books.'

What was fourth grade like for you?

The way that I think of my story is that 2nd grade is really where most of the damage was done. In 3rd grade I had an opportunity to see what could have been in an environment that was open to the idea of accommodation because I had a teacher who had empathy for my experiences. Fourth grade was essentially a step back toward what happened in 2nd grade. Fourth and fifth grade were horrific, really bad times for me. In 3rd grade I had a teacher who said that she wouldn't count spelling against me and I could use my computer to write. I get into 4th & 5th grade and that is out the door, I have to take spelling tests and I can't use my computer for writing. That is really where I start to morph into my identity as an athlete because school is not working at all for me. I was trying to find some articulation for whatever it is that kids have inside themselves which they want to express and be successful. In school I was definitely not a success and all this culminated in me leaving 6th grade for the majority of the year.

So where did you go?

I did nothing. I slept a lot. In retrospect I was clinically depressed by the idea of school. I did home school with BIG QUOTES on it, it wasn't home schooling.. It was just a last ditch effort to keep my head above water. I looked forward to going to a new school in 7th grade. 6th grade was sort of a do-over.

Were you ever left back in any of your grades?

No I was never kept back. I think in 3rd & 4th grade they really weren't grading me per se. I think a lot of public schools do practice the art of social promotion which is what carried me but it wouldn't have benefited me to go back do a grade over because the problem was the instructional environment, school itself. It wasn't the fact that I didn't have enough time or couldn't pick up the information. It was that a) the teachers were pumping me full of messages that I was stupid and crazy and b) their pedagogy, the way they were trying to teach wasn't reaching me. Especially in reading which had a lot to do with the lack of phonics.

... the teachers were pumping me full of messages that I was stupid and crazy ...


I get the impression from reading your book that your mom was very important in your story and your ultimate success in school?

Major. You will find ålife savers' in all successful LD students. The heroes differ. Often mom is the hero or a teacher or mentor but the principals of what that person does stay the same. For me my mom was tremendously important and she really pumped me full of messages that they, the teachers, are really wrong about me. They don't know what kind of mind you have and they are for lack of a better word åfull of shit.' The problem is with them not with you. But, of course a 3rd grader can't internalize this message because school is such a powerful institution. School really does construct a student's sense of worth at an early age. But my mom did lay that foundation of åcheck it out', they are wrong about what it means to be smart and good. If you are given the right environment and the right opportunity, you can do anything you want. That is what she did for me, she pumped me full of that message. That is what successful kids have at an early age. It isn't an IQ thing, it isn't a money thing, it is a kid understanding that they are ok and lets go fight the system which wants the kid to lay down and die.

When do you think you really understood that your mom was right, that you were ok?

Oh God! Probably not until college. I didn't start actively engaging and internalize that into my sense of self until the end of my freshman year in college. Honestly, even when I got to Brown and obtained this cultural marker of sense and intelligence and all that bullshit, even when I got there I was still struggling with my sense of self. Oh God, all these people are smart and I'm not. I think that ultimately when I was living from a sense of self worth it was when I was writing the book. Because that is really what the book is about: how can people exist within an institution which has constructs for intelligence and constructs for behavior and be successful trying to fix themselves as if they were broken .

that is really what the book is about: how can people exist within an institution which has constructs for intelligence and constructs for behavior and be successful trying to fix themselves as if they were broken.

Loyola & soccer

You spent two years in another institution before you went to Brown, where was this?

It was Loyola Marymount. I went there to play soccer <period>, they had a good team and that was all that was on my radar screen. I was an athlete.

Didn't you get injured playing soccer?

I did. I got injured my sophomore year which put me out for a year. But, when I think about the injury I realize it was important in the sense that it gave me an opportunity to not have to fight a two front war. I had been pushed my entire life to be a soccer player and the result was that my entire identity and social group was associated only with athletics. All my friends were soccer players. Come my sophomore year I could not have quit my life as an athlete. But my other identity, my identity as a student, someone interested in literature and writing was tenuous and just getting built up. What happened when I got injured was I didn't have to fight and I don't have to quit soccer. I kept all my friends, no one called me a quitter, I just had time off. With the time off I built up my other identity as a student and threw myself into literature and writing. My injury was honestly the best thing which could ever have happened to me.


You picked Loyola for soccer but why did you pick Brown?

Originally I was caught up into the idea of going to the best åranked' school that I could because I thought that would show people that I was smart. I was still caught in the paradigm of defining myself in terms of my academic success. At first I just went and looked at top 10 schools, nothing else. I ended up applying to Columbia, Northwestern, Brown, University of Pennsylvania, I didn't do Stanford because I wanted to go east. I went to an interview at Brown and I immediately felt that Brown was the right learning environment for me. Brown has a tremendous emphasis on personal passion, personal drive, individuality of their students. Brown has no core requirements which meant I could really explore academically and Brown places a strong emphasis on independent work. By the time I graduated from Brown and had taken 3/4s of all my work as independent study. I designed my classes, I picked the professor, I designed the reading list, I designed my evaluations. I worked in one-on-one discussion as much as possible. I supplemented my course of study with additional seminars. I did it this way because this is the right way for my mind to learn. The reality is that when I am doing an independent study the concept of me doing an independent study is out the window.. Am I an LD kid? Doesn't really matter because I do all my papers at home and get them corrected and I focus on my strengths which is learning by talking. I don't have to take tests and I never even had to tell my professors that I was LD. That is really why I went to Brown and why I was so successful.

When you were at Loyola Marymount were you allowed to do independent study?

No, I might have when I got higher up but I never got higher up. They were a more conservative, traditional learning environment. Loyola is a Jesuit school, it is progressive but Loyola has core requirements that include languages. Hey, put me in a foreign language class; can you waste my time anymore? I can not learn language like that. If I need to learn a language I am going to immerse myself; I am not going to study it in the classroom.

Does Brown have a particularly large LD population?

Not any more than any other university percentage wise. I think it is about 200 kids diagnosed with LD or ADHD which is attention deficit hyper-activity disorder. Brown also does not compromise their academic standards for LD kids which is appropriate and I totally agree with. If you get to Brown they will support you but you have to somehow measure up with the rest of the field.

Do you actively go out of your way to avoid a lecture class?

When I was a kid? No, I didn't know better. It was how the game was played.

No, I mean when you got to Brown and had the chance?

I actively avoided any introductory classes because they were usually large lecture environments which don't work for me. They are broad in their scope and I like to get into a theme. I don't think lecture is the best way for anyone to learn.

I avoid teaching these large lecture classes because I don't think anyone learns anything in these structures but universities persist in paying faculty based upon their stand-up comedy skills which usually aren't particularly good.

I never understood where that pedagogy grew from. I was nominated by Brown for a Rhodes scholarship so I've looked at the British way of higher education. It makes much more sense the way that Oxford does their education with one-on-one tutorials where you can supplement core work with going to presentation and seminars. The learning occurs between an instructor and a student. Tutorials have always been the most powerful way for me to learn. I think often students say that professors don't care but I think this is because the students are only judging them through to context of a lecture. Of course the professor is distant if there are 400 people sitting in the audience. Go to the office hours and talk to them.

It makes much more sense the way that Oxford does their education with one-on-one tutorials where you can supplement core work with going to presentation and seminars. The learning occurs between an instructor and a student.

How did you meet Dave Cole, your co-author?

We meet at transfer orientation at Brown and formed a partnership which was timely for both of us. We both recognized that we both felt that we didn't really belong at Brown. We were both trying to hide our difference and our experiences which were so different from the other students at Brown. I am LD and struggled through school and Dave is ADHD and actually completely dropped out of high school and came close to getting into some serious trouble. We had a lot in common. We were sitting around transfer orientation and we all had to introduce our selves and there were kids saying they transferred from Yale and were on the short list for the Nobel prize, that sort of stuff. If you were like us and on the short end of the educational stick and ådumb' most of your life you just want to run for the hills when you hear stuff like that. Luckily, we ran together for the same hills. We developed a partnership around the shared experience of being told we were dumb in school.

How would you describe your economic backgrounds?

My mom never graduated from college. She raised my brother and two sisters who are my half sisters on welfare in San Francisco. She meet my father who is highly educated, went to Holy Cross and Georgetown law. My father and my mom are both very åleft.' My mom currently runs a non-profit organization which makes no money. My father for the majority of my life was a struggling labor lawyer. I would say that we were supposed to be upper middle class but weren't. Does that make sense?

What is Dave's economic background?

His father is a lawyer, a very successful lawyer in New Hampshire. I went to public school all my life and he went to private schools. I was on loans at Brown but I don't believe that Dave was.

So your shared experience was that you didn't do well in traditional schools regardless of whether they were private or public?

I would go further than that. We both did horrifically poorly in school, I dropped out of 6th grade. Dave dropped out in high school. For both of us the experience of school was clinically traumatic. On top of that we were both had obvious high potential. In the middle of our lives we could not understand our situation but I think we came to an understanding through our relationship at Brown.

Who decided to do the book?

I really don't know. I think one of us just said: Let's write a book about our experiences, not having an idea what that meant?

So, what year were you in?

First semester at Brown, fall of 97. Knowing Dave and hearing his background was my first exposure to these issues outside of living them which was never a discourse I could examine. My parents weren't talking about it and the schools weren't talking about it. It wasn't till I meet Dave and heard him talk about his life that I was able to think about my life. Somehow we decided to write about our experiences and we turned it into a class the second semester as an independent study.

That summer, the summer of 98, I up and decided to move to New York for the summer. I decided to work an unpaid internship at Simon & Schuster and wait tables with the assumption that I would meet someone there. That was a big shift in my plans because before that I was hell bent on doing something prestigious like working for the vice president because someone I knew at Brown knew him or what ever. All a sudden I decided to forget that and move to New York and spent a lot of the summer reading Moesha books in the young adult section. Here I'm supposed to be networking to get this book published and I'm in the YA section of the public library reading Full House books. And, working 120 hours a week waiting tables to get by. It was the most useless experience imaginable . But it was a commitment to the book. At the end of the summer I wrote a proposal for the book. What I learned from the folks at Simon & Schuster how to sell a book. I networked to get in touch with Ed Hallwell who is a major player in the LD field. It was one of those 6th degrees of separation, my girl friends mom's best friend's grandmother used to know him and it hooked up. The rest is sort ofhistory. After that we had the daunting challenge of actually writing the book. If you think it is hard to sell it, the producing is even more difficult. We worked on this book for 4 years through the process of selling the book and sitting down and writing the book.

Project Eye-to-Eye

Don't you also have a not-for-profit organization which you are trying to develop?

I created Project Eye-to-Eye while at Brown. It came directly out of the experience of sitting in the transfer circle at Brown and thinking, "My God, there is no way I should be here." That is the message I had from growing up a kid with LD. The templates for understanding my life were pretty simple. I can be an athlete, I can be a mechanic or I can do drugs, I can be a deviant and fall all the way out. These are the images and templates that LD kids all receive today. It was pretty simple. But I'm there and it dawns on me that I'm here at Brown, I am a success and I want to take this message back to little kids who are just like me and lost. So, that is Project Eye-to-Eye in a nutshell. You take college LD students and match them with the little guys with LD so they learn that they can also succeed.

Are you matching college students who have mastered their LD with little kids or anyone with LD?

I'm matching only college kids with LD. You know, only 1.4 % of 15 million LD kids ever go to college? Compare that to other minority communities, it is bottom of the barrel. The idea is that if you make it to a 4 year university, even if you are struggling, you are a success. They might not have mastered their LD but they certainly have a handle on it. Of course, the college students are interviewed and if it is obvious that they are not fit to work with kids, they are screened out.

Ok, a college kid with LD or ADHD is matched with a little person so what do they do? They do two things. They obviously work on academic skills very loosely defined. No unreasonable expectation of anything such as teaching a kid to read. Mostly they do something as simple as making sure that home work assignments get home and homework gets back to the teacher. Or, the student helps them to organize or gives them some organizational strategies. The second piece is coming together to do an art project in a community setting. We often do this because many LD/ADHD kids are exceptionally talented spatial, kinesthetic thinkers. That gift often does not find actualization in traditional schools. We create an environment where they can be successful. We talk about the experience of being different in a positive way and we make art, allowing them to communicate themselves through a visual medium. They love it.

Are you limiting the experiences to visual art?

No, it is all over the place. We work with art, music, drama ... it is the idea of creative thinking.

So is this Howard Gardner?

Not exactly. Howard Gardner is often misunderstood by many who think you are going to teach reading through interpretive dance. We are trying to give kids an experience of success. We are trying to flip the paradigm of disability on its head . Rather than talking about what these kids can't do we want to focus on what they can do. We create positive art in the schools so the other kids say "Wow, Project Eye-to-Eye is kinda cool." When they are saying this what they are really saying is that the kids in Project Eye-to-Eye are kinda cool. Suddenly these kids get to go from the bottom of the school to the top. I think the big thing I got from Howard Gardner was the understanding that what we embrace in school is only a small part of the picture of the experience of a learner.

How long has Project Eye-to-Eye been in existence?

Almost 4 years at the moment. Here is the evolution. For the first 2 years at Brown I was developing a programming model: what do we do, what is our mission, how does it work, how do we put it into a structure? In my last year at Brown I switched gears to build an organization. My mission and the mission of Eye-to-Eye is to partner with other 2 & 4 year colleges and universities to implement the Eye-to-Eye programming we developed at Brown, the mentoring art program. Right now we have 6 different chapters around the country. Let's say for example I'm trying to develop Eye-to-Eye at Indiana University where you work. I might work with a faculty member, someone in disability support services, a student, whatever. Together we recruit college students from the local LD population which will be between 200 and 500 depending upon the size of the institution. Then we hire the students as site coordinators and we train the students to implement Eye-to-Eye . They are paid to further develop Eye-to-Eye and I supervise the development and attempt to meet needs as they arise. Then these students further expand the development of the Eye-to-Eye at their local level recruiting more mentors and managing their training.

The book itself

Why do you think your book is different than other study guides on the market?

It comes from the perspective that there is no one way to learn. That is the fundamental difference. It has no notion of an ideal student and an ideal way to learn and suggest that you have to learn this way by taking notes and reading a book all the way through. We say it is your education and it is your mind and here are a variety of different ways to approach a task. I think this is a fundamental difference from the way children are taught in school. That way doesn't work for most LD/ADHD kids and probably doesn't work for most kids in generale. It doesn't empower kids to approach school in an individualized way.

How is the sale of your book going? Do you get much community feedback?

It is about to go into a third printing which is great because I was told it would take a year for the first printing to sell.

I spend a lot of my time in the community building Project Eye-to-Eye sites. It really is amazing to hear how much suffering goes on in schools with kids who learn outside the lines. I hear story after story from people who feel stupid and crazy in school. This isn't just LD/ADHD kids but all sorts of kids in schools today. I start all my talks from a place of empathy so I ask everyone in the audience to find a time in their lives when they felt stupid or crazy because of the constructs of intelligence we have in our schools. I then ask them to go further and find someone in their lives, a parent, a sister, a brother or a friend whose life was fundamentally changed because one day someone decided to call them stupid for having bad handwriting, for bouncing their foot, for maybe not paying attention and then ask themselves how much different would that person's life have been if someone can in and said it is ok that you bounce your foot, there is a place for you here at school. Usually everyone in the room can raise a hand because it all rings true. That is really personal for me because my mom who is not diagnosed with a learning disability grew up in a school feeling stupid which fundamentally altered the course of her life. My sister who is much older than me was diagnosed retarded in the 60s because there was a standard deviation in her testing. Guess what a standard deviation is, it is a learning disability. If she had been diagnosed in the 80s she would have had a learning disability instead of being retarded. These labels make a difference in all our lives. They so damage the sense of self . The point is that there are so many people who resonate with the experience of being outside the line learners in all sorts of aspects of school. I hear from people who tell me they weren't good at sports and how dorky they felt in high school. I hear from people who were into computers who were labeled as geek and techno and all this stupid stuff. It all affects our sense of self and worth.

In the book you brought out an interesting point when you pointed out that the Columbine kids didn't want to kill individuals, their goal was to destroy the school.

They didn't go to a mall; they went to school because that was the institution they wanted to destroy. A lot of the violence with kids have occurred in schools. I don't think we understand what the focus on academic success sends to kids. It sends a message of 'if you can't do it our way then get out of school because you are dumb.' The Columbine kids learned this message very well. Society as a whole seems to be a little slow learning this message.


Do you think changes in technology have helped you as a learner?

For me, I would be incapable of expression myself in the written language if it wasn't for computers. What I am hearing now from this new generation of LD kids is that voice-activated software is unbelievable. It is amazing but one of the things about dyslexics is that they are diagnosed by taking six sub tests which come together to form an average IQ. What happens with LD kids is that they have a standard deviation between one or more sub tests so that means that one sub test is in the 3rd percentile and another sub test is in the 99th percentile. That is why you can get a kid like me who has an above average IQ but spells at the 3rd grade level. Often what is high for LD kids is verbal processing, these kids have exceptionally high vocabularies but you make them sit down and do a hand written spelling test they sound like 3rd graders. The voice activated software has been a godsend so LD kids can talk to the computer.

If you could improve software that would help LD kids what would you improve?

Do you honestly want to know what would make a big difference?


I'd put spell checkers on all web browsers. I can not use the web except by opening Microsoft Word, typing and checking everything and then cut and pasting, very slow. I can't handle posting areas such as chats and newsgroups, it is humiliating. Integrating spell checking completely into all aspects of our web browsers is a must. The second thing is integrating visual mapping and visual ways of engaging with the world into the writing process. Many LD kids understand things in 3 dimensions but completely lose it when they put it into writing, ABCD. Beyond spell checking I think voice activation to navigate the computer as a whole in terms of browsing, searching and typing. This would greatly help LD kids but I'd guess everyone else would also benefit

Do you use an outliner?

No, I don't. It is one of those things where the technological developments are so new that for me it would be an incredible learning curve to integrate these new technologies into my writing and thinking. I am really successful with what I have learned to do specifically around outlining but it is totally non-linear. I do not outline in any way which remotely resembles roman Numeral number I, II, III or IV. Different color pens for me are very important.

The Future

What do you imagine school will be like for your own kids in the future?

My ideal school of the future would embrace two educational ideas. First of all, we all learn by doing and we all learn by one-on-one direct personal instruction. I think all schools should be organized around these two facts. All instruction for reading, math and science should only occur in a one-on-one tutorial basis. That might only happen an hour a day but your teacher would also completely understand your cognitive strengths and weaknesses and direct all instruction to support your personal learning style. While that was going on there would be project oriented learning happening in different spaces to enhance and bridge to your tutorial learning. Math and Spanish might be in terms of a Spanish market where the learner gets outside the construct of the classroom and buys food in another language. This type of learning would change as children got older adding in service learning and internships.

So, what do you do next?

I hit the road to Florida, Boston and Los Angeles. I'll continue to meet people on a grassroots level about the book and Eye-to-Eye. I'm working on a second book of stories of people who think and learn differently. People like Robin Williams, Whoppi Goldberg, Tom Cruise, all alternative learners. The working title is 'What the Silent Say: stories of people who live and learn differently.'

You know, when you describe your ideal school you are describing the way Edison taught himself? All he did was project learning.

Today he would have been diagnosed as LD. At the end of the day there is an adage which says that good LD teaching is good teaching. I believe that. I believe that when we create organizations which treat children as individuals, when you are able to move beyond the classroom as the only learning environment and to really learn by doing ... that is how all people real learn, really learn well.

My last questions is, have you ever considered the irony that your are a success today because of your learning disability?

I know that, but I take it one step further when people ask me what I would change about myself in terms of learning. Would I like to get rid of my trouble with spelling or reading and I say 'God no.' The strength of my mind, the aspects which are unique and powerful about my mind go hand in hand with my weaknesses. The big problem in the field right now are educators and physicians who think we can eradicate the weaknesses and not impact the strengths. They think we can medicate it, we can biofeedback it, maybe gene therapy it when we get there. It just is not true. These kids think differently and live in a different way because of their weaknesses. Our weaknesses are our strenghts.

Contact information

Jonathan Mooney can be contacted by phone at 212-889-0830, by email at, or by postal mail 46 East 29th Street #2R NY, NY. He would love to hear the stories of other alternative learners and he'd love to hear from folks who are interested in helping him further develop the Project Eye-to-Eye.

By Jonathan Mooney, David Cole
Fireside, 2000, (288 pages, $13.00)
Trade Paperback, ISBN: 0-684-86598-X