The Edison Trait
Saving the Spirit of Your Nonconforming Child
by Lucy Jo Palladino

Titled in Paperback:
Dreamers, Discoverers and Dynamos: How to Help the Child Who Is Bright, Bored, and Having Trouble in School

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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published by Times Books
Publication date: May 1997
Dimensions (in inches): 1.08 x 9.57 x 6.52
ISBN: 0812927370



Reader Comments


Interview with Lucy Jo Palladino

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Dreamers, Discoverers and Dynamos: How to Help the Child Who Is Bright, Bored, and Having Trouble in School
by Lucy Jo Palladino


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Paperback - (January 1999) 336 pages


Ballantine Books (Trd Pap); ISBN: 0345405730 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.68 x 8.11 x 5.46


Reader Comments

Table of Contents



Interview with Lucy Jo Palladino

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Reviews and Commentary for The Edison Trait (Dreamers, Discoverers and Dynamos)

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Parenting and Childbirth Editor's Recommended Book, 07/01/97:

Lucy Jo Palladino defines the Edison Trait (named after Thomas Edison) as divergent vs. convergent thinking. Edison Trait kids--one in five children--have the qualities that make innovative leaders, inventors, explorers, yet they often have a hard time in school where their personality traits may be seen as weak or negative. Palladino recasts these children in a positive light and gives specifics on understanding and becoming an ally for your Edison Trait child. The book is convincing, reassuring, and accessible. Perhaps it will help parents of nonconforming kids resist the pressure to make their kids "just fit in."


Psychologist Lucy Jo Palladino claims that 20 percent of children have what she calls the Edison trait: "dazzling intelligence, an active imagination, a free-spirited approach to life, and the ability to drive everyone around them crazy." She named the trait after Thomas Edison, who flunked out of school despite his obvious brilliance. Palladino says that Edison-trait children think divergently, while the routines and structure of schools are more geared toward convergent thinking, or focusing on one idea at a time. The incompatible school environment, she says, usually leads divergent-thinking children to act out, receive poor grades, and often be labeled as strong-willed and disruptive.

These symptoms may sound similar to those of ADD, but Palladino says that's an overused term often mistakenly applied to Edison-trait children. "In most cases," she says, "ADD behavior patterns are comparable to but more extreme than the typical patterns of an Edison-trait child who does not have ADD." A diagnosis of ADD does not take into consideration factors such as "intelligence, perceptiveness, sensitivity, creativity, and wit."

With many references to scientific studies, Palladino helps you decide whether your child is one of the three types of Edison-trait children: dreamer, discoverer, or dynamo. She also gives pointed, practical advice regarding such controversial topics as diet, neurofeedback treatment, and psychological testing. For frustrated parents and educators, Dreamers, Discoverers, and Dynamos will be a rich source of both help and hope.


The author, Lucy Jo Palladino , March 2, 1999
Dreamers, Discoverers, & Dynamos, formerly, The Edison Trait

Hi. I'm Lucy Jo Palladino, author of "Dreamers, Discoverers, & Dynamos." In hardcover, this book was called "The Edison Trait: Saving the Spirit of Your Nonconforming Child." Why the new name? It's a plain language title, so when parents of Edison-trait children see it, they can more readily say "Hey! That's my kid!"

Who are Edison-trait children? They are divergent thinkers -- children turned on by ideas, but turned off by classroom requirements. Their numbers are rising, as our culture now spawns divergent thinking. Many of them are negatively labeled and misunderstood.

"Dreamers, Discoverers, & Dynamos" (formerly titled "The Edison Trait") is about treating divergent thinkers with respect, guidance, realism, and care. I have practiced for twenty-plus years as a psychologist. "Dreamers, Discoverers, & Dynamos" is a product of my work with children, parents, and teachers, and their tireless, loving efforts to build human skills and strength.

Thank you for your interest in "Dreamers, Discoverers, & Dynamos." And thanks to those readers who have written on-line reviews. (There are some terrific ones on "The Edison Trait" page.) Thanks, too, to for naming "The Edison Trait" (now "Dreamers, Discoverers, & Dynamos") an Editor's Choice.


Millions of children possess dazzling intelligence, an active imagination and a free-spirited approach to life. Such kids, the author argues, possess the Edison Trait--unlike their peers, they think divergently rather than convergently. Here Dr. Palladino, an award-winning clinical psychologist, offers eight steps designed to help understand and support the gifts of the Edison Trait and minimize its deficits.

A clinical psychologist explains that millions of children with dazzling intelligence think divergently--overflowing with many ideas--while schools, organized activities, and daily life reward convergent thinking, which focuses on one idea at a time.

Reader Comments
Linda Kirsch ( from Palo Alto, California , March 29, 1999
Filled with excellent parenting wisdom

Your child does not have to be an Edison to benefit from reading this book. Each chapter has information that would be relevant to any parent. There are many original ideas worth absorbing from this book that help with the general job of raising kids today. This is as well informed author with wit, wisdom and expertise.

For those of you who do have an Edison child, one can find many ways to help with school issues. The language is straight forward, no jargon. Examples are well delineated.

A reader from Raleigh, North Carolina , February 5, 1999
Very easy to read; eye opening; encouraging solutions.

We have struggled to understand our 11 year old daughter and her thought process. We have worked with a counsellor and was told she had ADD. Another mom brought this book to my attention and I was stunned with how insightful the book is. I could finally understand what was going on and to accept the behavior. She is NOT ADD. She just has a different thought process. I can't tell you how encouraging this book has been to our family. She writes in a very easy to read manner. The author gives a positive outlook to something which has been very difficult. I no longer look upon my daughter in a negative way. She truly is unique and wonderful!


A reader from Encinitas, CA , January 1, 1999
Answers for parents of children labeled with ADD/ADHD

As the grandparent of a child who suffered from thinking he was a freak because his elementary teacher labeled him as having ADD and demanded his parents put him on ritalin, (it wasn't the solution) I am grateful for Dr. Palladino's insightful and compassionate book on the subject. These "divurgent" thinking children should be celebrated, instead of being censured, for they may well be the hope of our messed up world. I wish I had the financial means to put this book in the hands of every educator and every pediatrician in the country. Dr. Palladino should receive the highest accolade for addressing this subject so clearly, and giving such hope and help to these amazing children. Instead of using the snap answer to just drug kids who demand more of their teachers, those who deal with these extraordinary minds should educate themselves with Palladino's book. Please Oprah, see that this book, and its soon-to-be-published renamed paperback version gets national, even international attention. It might just be the salvation of alot more than a generation or two. from United States , December 15, 1998
I was very relieved to have found this book

A friend told me about this book, but she said it was about "Geniuses" which she believes my son to be. I didn't read the book at first because I know my son is bright , but no genius ... I finally read it and practically cried with relief when I did . It is so well written and understanding and supportive of parents with divergent thinking children. It described my son in a way that no other book I ever read did. As I read it, almost with out being aware of it , I was learning ways to help him , and when I get tired or frustrated I read it again and it sets me on the right course with my son. The book gave me the vocabulary I needed to explain my sons behavior to his teachers and enlist their support in making school a less stressful and more comfortable enviornment.

Julia from San Diego, California , November 3, 1998
The Edison Trait is an Award Winning Masterpiece!

The Edison Trait is an amazing book. It finally gives credit to kids everywhere who have been misunderstood and punished because of that lack of understanding. This book is a gift to those childeren as well as to those who work with them. Dr. Palladino pinpoints the needs of Edison Trait kids and gives the reader the power to communicate with those kids. This book is amazing because Dr. Palladino knows what it is really like in the homes of Edison Trait kids, and she knows how to fix the problems. I want everyone to know how important this book is and how dramatically it could better their lives. Also, it has won two awards this year: The San Diego Book Award for Best Self-Help Book, and a Journalism Award from the San Diego Press Club. This book is incredible, and I urge parents to read it and utilize its gift. from WANTAGH NY , June 29, 1998

Tears streamed down my face,as I read this book!!! I loved this book so much that I traveled out from NY to Encinitas CA to meet its terrific author,Dr Palladino!!Most other books take the approach that the ADD/ADHD /LD individual needs 'repair" whereas this book repeatedly emphasizes self acceptance & benefits of these 'disabilities"!! Lucy shows how the Edison divergent Thinker actually is superior in many ways to the more linear convergent 'non-disabled' thinker. I have shown this book to many individuals of all ages & backgrounds & the feedback I've received has been mainly very positive!!My physician Dr Harold Levinson MDPC,an eminent author scholar on these 'disabilities" agrees that my personality/behavior profile fits Lucy's "typology' PROFILE TO-A-TEE!! Meeting Lucy helped me come to accept cope & even maximize my "newly found" "glass half full" approach to my daily life as a 34 yr old adult professional with ADHD/LD& Dyslexia ,both in my career,my graduate school studies as well as in my personal life!! Life as a Divergent Edisonian can even be enjoyable & fun now,due in large part to this book & to my personal meeting with its wonderful author,who I hope to meet again!! Fondly,Marsha A. Lampert MBA Wantagh NY or from Fort Wayne, Indiana , May 26, 1998
How to preserve a child's gift and improve parenting skills

Because I was an Edison Trait child, I wasn't sure if I was reading the book for my son or for me! Many times I thought how much better our lives would have been if I had purchased this book earlier. Instead of struggling against the "strong will" of my son, this book provides parenting techniques, recognition skills and positive advice for Edison Trait kids and parents. Unfortunately, many school systems would rather have the child conform rather than take the time and effort necessary for Edison Trait children to learn most effectively. Indeed, the standardized "gifted" tests used in our school system are more geared to convergent thinking children, as is the program itself. The book needs to be followed up with a short assessment guide for parents and teachers. So often, the Edison Trait is confused with ADD as it was with my son. Rather than fight the perception, the assessment guide could be handed to teachers to help them understand the Edison Trait vs. ADD. Overall, the book provides incredible insights and is extremely well-written using colorful examples and humor.

A Reader from Lake Bluff, Illinois , 03/10/98, rating=10:
O.K. to be a square peg in a round world

For years I had been trying to encourage my child to be more like her peers, while preserving her unique, creative talents. I struggled with the decision to make her fit the "round hole" of society, but she is a "square peg"! I read this book never expecting to to hear my daughter described so acurately! She has no behavior problems, does not have ADD or ADHD; she is actually a gifted child. But she is not typical in the way she views the world, or school-related work. She sees things in ways which often surprise and amaze me! I no longer feel the need to encourage her to conform. She will leave her mark on the world for she is capable of thinking and making new, not merely learning what someone else has already discovered. This book celebrates the creative child who does not fit the traditional mold, the child who will do great things, the child who will make a difference in the world! THANK YOU THANK YOU to the intelligent, articulate author!!!!!

moppy252@aol from California , 11/27/97, rating=10:
OPRAH, put this book on your book of the month club.

I have NEVER been so excited about a book before. With every page and chapter I felt as if the author had come to live in my house for the last 5 years and then write the story of "my household". How she describes your home as a "war zone" (mine literally was), how many times I read a phrase of another Edison Trait parent and then asked my self "how many times have I said or felt that". How many times the actions of a child was described and I would say "oh my god, my child does exactly that". Not only do I FINALLY have a diagnosis for my "hard to be told, argumentative, rambunctious (sp?), always have to have the last word, imaginitive, always does first then ask later, bright, loving 10 year old child" , I now have the tools to teach and help myself to understand and teach my child in the loving POSITIVE way she deserves. I have also been enlightened to how my child feels. This was truely a gift (Thank you Dr. Pallandino) in that it helped me to see that I had been hurting and alienating my daughter by my anger, words and frustrations. What parent wants to hurt their child? I have practiced some of the techniques suggested by Dr. Pallandino with my child and have seen dramatic results. Any time I see a child with the Edison Traits I recognize, I want to go to their parents and tell them that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is in this book. Because Oprah is such a roll model for literally millions of people, I wish she would feature this book on her book of the month club or at the very least have a show about Edison Trait children. What greater way is there to help a child than to begin with educating the parents. I want to stand on the highest mountain and shout out to the world that if you have a child that you just can't handle or understand then PLEASE, PLEASE do your child a favor, and yourself and READ THIS BOOK. You will feel as though you were blind but now have the gift of sight. I welcome any online discussion with other parents on the topic of this book, please feel free to contact me at my e-mail address. from San Diego, CA , 10/24/97, rating=9:
Finally credit to the kids who will be our future leaders!

The private school where I teach only admits children with the Edison trait! Though they don't conform to the traditional standards expected in classroom behavior, they thoroughly absorb what is taught to them in their learning style. As we like to say in special ed., there is no such thing as a learning disability, only a teaching disability! Lucy Jo Palladino has captured the essence of these bright and wonderful children who CAN learn with the right teacher. I'm so glad parents have this resourceful book available to them! It will surely bring forth the pride they should have in their children who simply learn differently! from omaha nebraska , 08/20/97, rating=9:
very helpful information to alot of unanswered questions

i am so interested in this topic because it has helped me communicated 100% easier with my 4 year old how can i contact the author lucy jo pallidino or find more information on this topic thank you , 06/20/97, rating=10:
An Awakening!

We had just adopted Brian....a 12 year old who suffered multiple loss. After just three months of reading....I was totally confused....ADD....ADHD.....what have you! I needed desparately to understand him. By chance I picked up "The Edison Trait" at the bookstore....and opened to the forward. It jumped from the page! " 12 years old." I brought the book home....and haven't put it down since. "The Edison Trait" is the first book I have found that truly addresses the needs of the child.....instead of the needs of the school system. Every potential foster or adoptive parent of special needs kids should read this book and refer to it regularly. It's truly been an awakening for me! Bill Chadwick


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