The Adult Side of Dyslexia – Kelli Sandman-Hurley

Published By: Jessica Kingsley Publisher
Pages: 128
Released On: 18/11/2021

This book combines moving accounts of the lived experience of dyslexia adults with tips and strategies for surmounting the challenges you or a loved one or family member may face.

Drawing on in-depth interviews, Kelli Sandman-Hurley explores common themes such as school experiences; the impact of dyslexia on mental wellbeing; literacy skills; and being a dyslexic parent, perhaps to a child who is also dyslexic. Interviewees share what helped them (or didn’t), the strategies they use daily to tackle literacy-based tasks, anxiety and low self-esteem, the advice they would give to the parent of a dyslexic child who is struggling, and reflect on how their experience has impacted their own parenting style.

*****

Thanks to Jessica Kingsley Publishers for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

Firstly, whoever decided on the spelling of ‘dyslexia’ was a cruel, cruel person.

For someone who was reading practically straight from the womb and makes sure to write everyday, it was a shock to be diagnosed with dyslexia during my final year at university, aged 20. Mine focusses more on silent letters and my memory, than 100% struggling to read. Luckily, my dyslexia never particularly affected me, creeping in mainly when I was tired, so it’s a real eye-opener seeing how it destroyed so many people’s childhoods and schooling – the most important part of our life in terms of our development.

This is well researched with very human stories. It is not just facts and statistics, Kelli has included anecdotes from real-life people with dyslexia to give it more of a human element, and it’s fascinating to read dozens of different experiences. It shows dyslexia is not a one-size-fits-all, put in a box kind of condition, which can make support a difficult thing to master.

Adults are often very embarrassed when they have to admit they struggling with reading and/or writing, so it’s important our children get the help they need when they’re young so it doesn’t impact their adult life quite as much as it could.

Princess Beatrice recently said she considered her dyslexia to be a gift, and wouldn’t mind if her daughter developed it. This may be hard to hear for people with severe dyslexia, but I do understand her point. Being dyslexic – however mild or severe – means you have to utilise different skills and be more creative, and in some situations, that really can be a gift.

It was slightly repetitive at times and read more as a research paper at times than a book, so you do need to get in that mindset, but it was still an enjoyable and fascinating read. There is quite a long introduction before you get to the crux of the writing, but it is important you stick with it and read it in its entirety, as it gives you more of an understanding as to Kelly’s involvement with dyslexia.

I think this book needs to be available in all schools, colleges, universities, prisons, hospitals, work spaces – so that everyone with a ‘limitation’ can realise it’s not because they’re stupid, and they can be just as successful in everything they do as someone without dyslexia.

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