Book review: ‘The Dyslexic Adult in a Non-Dyslexic World’

‘The Dyslexic Adult in a Non-Dyslexic World’ by Ellen Morgan and Cynthia Klein

John Wiley & Sons, 2000. ISBN: 978-1-86156-207-4

Available from Dyslexia Scotland’s resource centre.

This book is about dyslexic adults who were identified in adulthood. I think it is an excellent book.  Here are 10 reasons I liked it.

  1. It deepened my understanding of dyslexia. For example, it discusses how dyslexic people learn better if the learning content is linked to a context that is meaningful to them.
  2. It helped me make sense of my experience. For example, I was assessed and not identified in my early 20s, then assessed and identified in my late 30s. The book revealed to me possible reasons for that.
  3. It broadened my knowledge of the experience of dyslexic adults. This helped me to put my own experience in context. For example, one adult featured did not label himself negatively at school. He was able to see beyond his literacy difficulties and recognise that he was good at academic subjects and enjoyed learning.
  4. The content is beautifully and simply expressed. The authors and interviewees articulate brilliantly and succinctly what it’s like to be a dyslexic person identified in adulthood. The book provides a framework and stimulus for any dyslexic adult’s own story.
  5. I found it accessible. It’s rich with detail but never heavy-going. It quotes directly the dyslexic adults who contributed to the book.
  6. I found it therapeutic. I was identified in adulthood. Much of the book reflected my own experience. I found it so self-validating it felt like a treat to read it. I didn’t want it to end.
  7. I found it fascinating and insightful
  8. It shares some inventive strategies that dyslexic adults have devised. For example:  A strategy for managing time which involves imagining the days of the week in a ring and a method for remembering how to spell the word ‘pyramid’:

Pyramid Page 164 of the book.[1]

   9. It crystallised some ideas for me. For example, identification in adulthood lets   an individual start to reframe school experiences.

  10. It is underpinned by research. It draws on research by the authors and others.

3 tips for engaging with this book

  1. Ask the Seeing Ear[2] if they would produce it in Word so that you can use a text reader to listen to it[3].
  2. Engage with other books that complement it. For example:
  • ‘Dyslexia – How to survive and succeed at work’;
  • ‘Understanding Dyslexia – An Introduction for Dyslexic Students in Higher Education’; and
  • ‘The Dyslexic Advantage’.[4]

3. Try to obtain your own copy. Highlight points that are particularly significant for          you. Note your responses and cross-references in the margins.

Conclusion

As I’ve been reviewing this book I’ve been wondering about its title. Does it help dyslexic adults and everyone else to think of the world as non-dyslexic? There is still low dyslexia awareness, and dyslexic adults still experience many challenges. But I think it’s now time to see dyslexia as a part of society, and accept that reality. Then we can all work together to address the difficulties and maximise the strengths of dyslexia. So if I were to write a sequel to this book, I’d call it ‘Including our Dyslexic Adults in our 10% Dyslexic World’. What would you call it?

By an anonymous member of Dyslexia Scotland

[1] The publisher asked me to include the following copyright notice. I take no responsibility for it. “All rights reserved. No part of ‘The Dyslexic Adult in a Non-Dyslexic World’ may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of John Wiley & Sons.”

[2] http://www.seeingear.org/about-us/contact-us

[3] For guidance on text readers see ‘Making written web content accessible using text readers’ at http://includeusall.org.uk/1205-2

[4] These books are detailed in a list of self-help books and resources that is available to download from http://dyslexiascotland.org.uk/our-leaflets (scroll to the foot, under ‘Further Reading’)

Hello! From the Health and Social Care Alliance

By Kerry Ritchie and Lara Murray, Network Development Officers

The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (known as the ALLIANCE) has recently become a member of Dyslexia Scotland and we are also pleased to welcome Dyslexia Scotland to the ALLIANCE family.

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Kerry and Lara, Network Development Officers at the ALLIANCE

With over 1,900 members across health and social care, the third sector and including people living with long term conditions and unpaid carers, the ALLIANCE has a huge reach and a remit to improve services for people living in Scotland. We are both Network Officers at the ALLIANCE, working to grow and strengthen relationships. We want to introduce you to the ALLIANCE and to the different parts of our networking activities.

Membership of the ALLIANCE

At the ALLIANCE, our vision is for Scotland to be a place where everyone has support and services that put them at the centre. People of all ages living with disabilities, long term conditions or providing unpaid care for a loved one need to have a strong voice to ensure that they enjoy their right to live well and free from discrimination. We view everyone as an equal and active citizen who should be able to shape the health and social care services they use.

Our three core aims are to:

  • Ensure people’s voices are at the centre of design, delivery and improvement of services
  • Support transformational change, towards approaches that work with individuals and communities
  • Champion the third sector as an important partner in the delivery of health and social care

Working towards our vision, the ALLIANCE is involved in many different projects and you can read about them all on our website. However, our real strength is our membership: the people and organisations that provide their voice and expertise on what is currently happening in health and social care and what needs to change. 1,900 voices are so much louder together.

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A recent ALLIANCE members’ networking event

In return for lending their strength to achieving our vision, we offer members a range of benefits, including up to date news, briefings and alerts as well as knowledge sharing and opportunities for networking across sectors.

Dyslexia Scotland is now a member of the ALLIANCE as an organisation. It is also possible to join for free as an individual supporter. Learn more on the ALLIANCE membership website. Contact Kerry Ritchie to find out about joining.

Self Management

One of the priority areas for the ALLIANCE is our self management work. When we talk about self management of a long term condition, we do not mean people being left to manage alone. Supported self management is about people living with long term conditions feeling able, through the services, support and information they access, to live well with their condition. Our work aims to bring about a change in the way services are delivered to support this way of working with people.

Since 2008, the ALLIANCE has been administering the Self Management Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government. To date, more than £16 million has been awarded to over 200 projects delivering innovative services that enable people to self manage their long term conditions.

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2016 Self Management Network Scotland event held with Crohn’s and Colitis UK showing attendees holding a paper chain made of ‘powerful partnership’ links to promote the theme of partnership working

Funding these projects is the cornerstone of our other self management work including the Self Management Network Scotland. Around 500 people with an interest in changing health and social care services to work in this way can connect and support one another through this network. Joining is free and we host regular networking events as well as issue updates on the world of self management in Scotland.

Find out more and join on the Self Management Network Scotland website. Contact Lara Murray to find out more.