DUMMY From his birth in 1954, David Patten was unbearably sensitive to the world around him. Overwhelmed with confusing and disorienting stimuli, he withdrew into an inner world. Unable to concentrate or learn the basics of reading and writing, he was punished and pathologized, labeled lazy, stupid, and a troublemaker. David was finally diagnosed with dyslexia, among other elements in the Autism Spectrum. But at a time when these disorders were little understood, David was unable to get the help he needed, and he gradually fell into the dark underbelly of American life. David?s struggle to survive and find a life worth living included time in a mental institution for attempted suicide at fourteen; two years in one of America?s most dangerous inner city schools for troubled youth; life as a drug dealer in Chicago?s criminal underworld; nine months as a virtual prisoner in an abusive experimental psychiatric home; and fifteen years in a spiritual community where he practiced meditation and inquired into the very nature and inherent limitations of identity itself. Eventually, David?s exceptional abilities in abstract and analytical thinking, and his acute observational skills, led him into the technology field, and a lucrative six-figure career as a crisis manager and trouble shooter. For years he traveled around the country debugging computer systems for major corporations and even U.S. military installations. Told with the gripping power of a novel, Dummy offers a unique window on a troubled young man?s search for self-respect, independence, and love at all costs. David?s inspiring escape from the prison of cognitive disabilities offers unparalleled insight into the inner experiences of dyslexia and autism-spectrum disorder. His story of gradually transforming disabilities into skills, hopelessness into freedom, and finally finding a grace that lit the darkened room of his existence, is a testament to the power of the human spirit.