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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I found it accessible. It’s rich with detail but never heavy-going. It quotes directly the dyslexic adults who contributed to the book.
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.
I found it fascinating and insightful
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. 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
Ask the Seeing Ear if they would produce it in Word so that you can use a text reader to listen to it.
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
3. Try to obtain your own copy. Highlight points that are particularly significant for you. Note your responses and cross-references in the margins.
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 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.”
https://www.seeingear.org/about-us/contact-us For guidance on text readers see ‘Making written web content accessible using text readers’ at https://includeusall.org.uk/1205-2 These books are detailed in a list of self-help books and resources that is available to download from https://dyslexiascotland.org.uk/our-leaflets (scroll to the foot, under ‘Further Reading’)