Creative Child

Seeing the Mug Half Full

How the Parental Support for One Child’s Dyslexia Helped Launch a Best-Selling Product and Successful Business
by Deborah Song

Jennifer Ash was stunned walking into her son’s art class one afternoon. Max Ash, then 8, had been telling his mom for weeks about a ceramic mug he made with a basketball hoop attached to it. He told her he made it for his brother, Sam, so he could throw marshmallows through the hoop while drinking hot chocolate.

Much to his annoyance, some friends had copied him. But seeing the cascade of imitation mugs in his art class made Jennifer Ash realize something: she had been too focused on the limitations of her son’s dyslexia.

“Instead of seeing his learning disability as a disadvantage, I realized it also could be looked at as an advantage,” said Jennifer Ash.

Dyslexia is a learning disability characterized by difficulty in reading. But people with dyslexia have been known to see things differently. They see patterns and codes the way those without dyslexia do not. Many of the top codebreakers and over 50% of NASA workers are dyslexics. And some of the world’s greatest thinkers like Albert Einstein had dyslexia.

Research seems to indicate that with language-based learning difficulties come other cognitive strengths. The mug, according to Jennifer Ash, was just one of the many ways Max Ash saw the world differently. But this time, it caught the attention of his classmates and his parents did more than pat their son on the back.

“If people are copying [your mug], that means it’s a really good idea,” said Jennifer Ash, stoking her son’s interest and quelling his annoyance at the same time. “So when you grow up, people won’t only pay you for your art, but they’ll pay you for your ideas.”

“What do you mean?” asked Max Ash.

“Well, you could actually make these yourself or if you have an idea, someone else can make them and you can sell more of them and make money,” she explained.

“I want to do that,” he answered. The Mug with a HoopPhotos courtesy of MAX’IS Creations, Inc.

At the time of interview, The Mug With a HoopTM was selling at an astounding rate of one mug per minute.

It recently made an appearance on the Today Show and even with no mention of a child behind the invention, still managed to deplete their Amazon inventory. To date, more than 44,000 mugs have been sold.

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