Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kate Middleton's brother with dyslexia wows with memorized reading

From the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia:

Cake entrepreneur James Middleton (pictured) - who is launching three new companies under the "Nice" label - delivered an unexpected stand-out moment in his sister's Westminster Abbey wedding last month.

But it has only just been revealed how big a triumph it was.

Mr Middleton, 23, suffers from dyslexia and chose to memorise his two-minute-40-second-long Romans 12 extract rather than read it from the Bible and risk jumbling the words, London's Telegraph reported.

James Middleton reads the text from memory during his sister's wedding to Prince William.

The result was a word-perfect recitation - the only reading to be included in the ceremony - delivered with ease, sincerity and confidence, while millions of people watched across the world.

People with dyslexia, which literally means "trouble with words", have difficulties with reading, language and words.

In Australia it affects about 10 per cent of the population, the Australian Dyslexia Association says.

Association president Jodi Clements said Mr Middleton's decision to memorise the extract was a common "positive coping strategy".

"Certainly a big occasion such as a wedding would be one of these moments when an individual with dyslexia will exercise that particular talent to the full extent," Ms Clements said.

Had Mr Middleton chosen to read the passage he was at real risk of mucking up the words.

"Reading aloud from a book is the most difficult task for anyone with dyslexia, reading in front of a crowd on your wedding day is a nightmare," she said.

"Many adults with dyslexia live with the 'scars' and past feelings of being called upon in class to read out aloud.

"This is one of the most stressful situations an individual with dyslexia can find themselves in."

The youngest Middleton joins a long line of successful adults who overcame dyslexia, including Kerry Packer, Dick Smith, Jessica Watson, Bill Gates, Jamie Oliver and Winston Churchill.

In 2007 he founded an upmarket baking business called The Cake Kit Company, which is part of his parents' party planning empire.

He came up with the concept after attempting a four-year environmental management degree at Edinburgh University, according to the company's profile on a business awards website.

"I believe baking may be the most alluring kitchen activity for children," he says on the company's website.

"I have great childhood memories of my mother baking and I was always a willing participant, especially if it meant I could re-varnish the kitchen floor with treacle!"

The company was a finalist in the Enterprising Young Brits awards and was named a winner of small business awards Smarta 100 last year.

Mr Middleton lives with his sister Pippa in a flat in London.

He is launching three more companies, Nice Cakes, Nice Wine and Nice Group London, the Daily Mail reported.

The reading James Middleton gave:

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour.

Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.