Bright & Quirky Child Summit

Help bright kids thrive, even with learning, social and/or emotional challenges

Session 1: Dig This! From Failing 2e Student to World Famous Paleontologist

Jack Horner

Growing up experiencing failure after failure due to undiagnosed Dyslexia, Jack Horner persisted in following his joy - digging holes and learning whatever he could about dinosaurs. Fast forward to today: he is a leading world expert on dinosaurs, and the professor on which the Jurassic Park movie character was based. Listen to Jack Horner's journey and come away inspired and determined to hold out space and time for your child to grow through the challenges. Learn his maxims for life and the Dyslexic's special gift. You'll also be awed by seeing the firsts he brought to the world. This talk is great to watch with teens!

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Now we'd love to hear from you. What's bubbling up for you after hearing the talk? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  1. Juanita Durand on March 17, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    Thank you very much! Your talk reminded me of one of my father’s maxims. Nevermind how many times you fall, as long as you get up everytime. It also made me realize just how strong my autistic daughter is to have overcome so many obstacles even though on the surface you can get bogged down just looking at the remaining deficits. Thank you for sharing your courage and tenacity. We as parents need to practice it as well for the sake of our children.

  2. Mike Thomas on March 17, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    My name is Mike Thomas and I am Dyslexic. I am the author of ‘The Successful Dyslexic’. I enjoyed the interview with Mr. Horner very much because he describes his dyslexia the same way I describe mine. We are almost the same age and had the same experiences as kids. His method of compensating is almost the same as mine, although mine was in music. I would like to send Mr. Horner my book because I think he will find it very useful in helping dyslexics in his classes.
    Thank you for having him on.

  3. Jenny on March 13, 2020 at 8:29 am

    I’m a former teacher, a mom of a super smart (Sheldon-like with people skills!), a possible adorable dyslexic, and I also suffer from severe depression and anxiety. The advice about the hands-on learning is so true! From experience, I found this the best way to teach children in and out of the classroom. So many kids these days don’t persist and are so fearful at failure, but so are those struggling with mental health. The advice here is fantastic all around! Thank you!

    • Sheryl on March 17, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      So glad, Jenny. Thank you for sharing all of this with us! Projects that can engage us, in our mind, our body, our senses, are such powerful clearers of paths back to experiencing the joy of living. Jack’s talk reinforced that for me as well!
      – Sheryl with the BQ Team

  4. Pamela on March 13, 2020 at 8:25 am

    He is so inspirational! What struck me from this is actually a lesson for me and my parenting… he said when we read so much (and I do), we get other people’s ideas and not our own. He was not even talking about parenting but I related it to that. While I do believe there is value in reading in that you get a lot of ideas and try them, my takeaway is you still have to trust your own ideas.?

  5. Danielle Thompson on March 13, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Pretty sure my 7 year old has dyslexia, presently fighting school to be tested, but I cannot wait to show him the doctor from JP was based on Dr. Horner! What a wonderful message to know that yes you will fail, but even in doing so, look what you can achieve!

  6. Michele on March 13, 2020 at 7:32 am

    I just let my 15 year old son watch this video after I watched it yesterday and thought he could take away a lot from it. He certainly did. He was engaged throughout the entire presentation, which is atypical for him. We discussed it afterwards and I witnessed some smiles, also rare. Thank you so much to Jack and the bright and quirky crew for making this possible.

    • Sheryl on March 17, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Michele, this brings a welling in my throat and eyes. How wonderful. Thank you for sharing this with us!
      – Sheryl with the BQ Team

  7. Robyn on March 13, 2020 at 6:50 am

    Loved the part about finding your own eggs and cracking them open. Way to go around the establishment and make amazing discoveries. A great example of thinking outside the box. (I’m sure others would be dying to get inside those eggs, but “the box” is people thinking precious things should not be broken to closely examine them. A waste of learning potential!)

  8. Anna on March 13, 2020 at 3:27 am

    Just brilliant!

  9. Sue Luus on March 13, 2020 at 3:19 am

    I love the message that Jack gave that students with dyslexia have failed so many times that they are not afraid to fail. This speaks volumes about resilience. This together with persistence and curiosity seem to be critical to achievement and self actualisation.

  10. Paula Mrachek on March 13, 2020 at 12:05 am

    Lots to think about! My grand daughter will be helped by this information!!

  11. Joanne on March 12, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Jack’s talk made me think about so many of my students who struggle. I ended up googling spatial intelligence & that’s made me rethink how I am trying to teach my students who struggle to learn to read. Maybe more hands on, blocks, allow them to follow their passions. Scribe more for them. Etc etc

    • Sheryl on March 17, 2020 at 2:15 pm

      Wow, Joanne. What a powerful take away that will ripple in their lives – you as that one person in their life who saw the whole of who they are, and set them up with a tool and skill to use forever. Thank you!
      -Sheryl with the BQ Team

  12. Lisa James on March 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    great insight

  13. Gloria Gallardo-Walker on March 12, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Totally loved Jack! Took away the idea to teach others to persist versus memorize, to problem solve and keep working through disappointments in order to be better at life instead of just grades and to learn more about your passion to be the best in your passionate field.

  14. Sara on March 12, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    Love the part on life skills… how our kids know how to fail and bounce back and how our kids are good at learning as opposed to memorizing. Such a great way to look at it.

  15. Tami on March 12, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    Excellent, great advice to share with my 2e dyslexia students!

  16. Laurie-Ann on March 12, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Amazing conversation! Persistence and digging. Lol!

  17. Rachel Watt on March 12, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    Like Steph, I am wondering what you think maintained your self-esteem? Sometimes 2e people identify some adults in their upbringing who believed in them, did you have adults who boosted your self esteem as a child?

    • Jiming Sun Lindal on March 12, 2020 at 2:01 pm

      My dad has always believed in me.

  18. Darlene on March 12, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Thoughtful messages for dyslexics on failure and persistence and how they go hand in hand.

  19. Jiming Lindal on March 12, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    I was basically in tears while hearing this talk. It reminds me so much about my daughter’s struggle, how she persists, and how she has a deep passion for art. Thank you!

  20. Denise Leonard on March 12, 2020 at 11:37 am


  21. Liliana on March 12, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Awesome!loved it.
    Finding out that he is dyslexic helped to make sense. That part I think was gold.

    • Lauren on March 12, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      Glad you liked it, Liliana!
      -Lauren with the B&Q Team

  22. Abby on March 12, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Love this message lots of encouraging takeaways.

  23. Denise B. on March 12, 2020 at 9:58 am

    It’s interesting to hear Jack Horner explain his experience growing up with dyslexia and the challenges that came with that and how he overcame it. I’ve never heard this perspective before. Thank you!

  24. Jennifer on March 12, 2020 at 9:18 am

    I love what you said about neurotypical people being good at taking tests, figuring out the system, and memorizing – but being bad at learning. Dyslexics are GREAT at learning, but don’t ask them to take a timed test on anything based off of rote memorization. I actually paused the talk to send my brother a message. He’s ADHD and ASD, although he didn’t receive the ASD dx until 33. He went through school being told he was lazy and just needed to focus more. What a traumatic thing for someone to experience! Being told you’re making the wrong choice so often that you finally believe it’s all you’re capable of doing. Thank you for sharing your story and giving evidence to the fact that there’s more to credibility and intelligence than grades!

    • Lauren on March 12, 2020 at 1:02 pm

      This is so true, Jennifer! I’m so glad you can share these messages with people outside of the Summit. Your brother needs to hear the positive message that he’s not broken. LeDerrick Horne had a similar experience and shares the secret to his self-determination to rise about the expectations people had for him.
      -Lauren with the B&Q Team

    • Jiming Sun Lindal on March 12, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      My daughter, who has dyslexia, was tested below average on rote memorization. May I know what is rote memorization?

      Also, when she reads, she gets exhausted really fast and starts to see double. Is that normal for dyslexic kids?

      • A Sutler on March 18, 2020 at 1:41 pm

        Site words are hard for Dyslexics, she needs an eye evaluation for tracking/perceptual skills. Most likely needs vision therapy by an ODS. This is normal for Dyslexia.

  25. jen on March 12, 2020 at 9:15 am

    Love the intern idea ! In fact I just offered my creative, curious 2e son an intern position for my biz start up to do my video promos and although he was super excited his enthusiasm feign very quickly and daily needs a lot of prompting and reminding….lol

    How do i set him up for success coaching him along the while while holding him accountable ?

    • Debbie Steinberg-Kuntz on March 12, 2020 at 6:23 pm

      Jen, You will notice that Bright &Quirky’s intern, Simone, is not one of my own children. : ) Her passion is 2e and psychology and her project-based learning school is structured in a way that guides the internship. I think a similar structure with my own kids would be tough, unless they held similar interest in the subject matter.

  26. Tami Childs on March 12, 2020 at 8:49 am

    Very impressed with your intern!

    • Debbie Steinberg-Kuntz on March 12, 2020 at 6:26 pm

      Tami, I sing her praises often. She is simply amazing. I’m so glad she found her way to an alternative school. Every student in her high school does an internship on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She has had many wonderful working experiences within the program and will graduate high school with an impressive work resume! It’s based on the Big Picture education model.

      • Julia on March 13, 2020 at 3:47 am

        Simone, you asked such good, deep questions. I assumed you were a senior in college preparing to be staff at Bright and Quirky. I would have been happier if I could have thought that clearly in my late teens. I also would have been happier, Debbie, if I had more understanding internship supervisors in my “helping career” type of associates. (Go figure!) It seems that educating the inner and outer world about these things is a work in progress. Thanks for your inspiring contributions. Julia (age 26)

  27. Steph on March 12, 2020 at 8:28 am

    Any suggestions for kids who are not so dismissive of the failure and internalize all those many external messages, and it impacts the self-esteem?

    • Jiming Sun Lindal on March 12, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Nurture their talents and encourage them to seek their passion, and everything else will fall into places.

    • Lauren on March 12, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      Steph, we know our kids are constantly bombarded with these negative messages which can erode their self-esteem. The antidote to this is to put them on a pathway where they are engaging their strengths and experiencing small successes. Not all areas of school provide these opportunities, so being an ‘opportunity maker’ for our children to connect to interests and activities outside of school is often needed. They need many small wins and corrective emotional experiences to build that positve self concept. Don’t miss the talks this week by Michael Delman, Marc Brackett, and Scott Barry Kaufman as well.
      -Lauren with the B&Q Team

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