I have just read the fabulous book by Kate Griggs, and as someone who isn’t – as far as I’m aware – dyslexic; I have been interested, for some time to learn more and understand the condition.

The book is fascinating and an easy read, it is very matter of fact, to the point and full of examples and links to interactive content.   The key point I took from the book is that dyslexia is not a disability, nor is it a learning difficulty but too often that is how elements of society portray or perceive it – which probably explains the reluctance of many to share their dyslexia with others.

I now know that dyslexic people process thoughts and information differently to those with a neurotypical profile; they are highly curious, creative, and able to think unconventionally and laterally.  Dyslexic people have many strengths, but it does also create challenges particularly in respect of reading, spelling, and recalling things.   The most significant challenge, however, probably comes from a society that values the things that most dyslexic people find challenging – particularly within the education system; whilst systematically overlooking many of the strengths of Dyslexic people – despite research suggesting that Dyslexic people possess the skills required by the workforce of the future.

Many dyslexic people find our education system challenging, partly because it fails to take into account their needs, fails in most cases to identify them (80 per cent of Dyslexic people are not identified at school) and teachers are rarely equipped to either identify or accommodate a dyslexic learner.  The net result is that most dyslexic children move through an education system where they are made to feel that they don’t quite fit.

Overall, this is a fascinating and insightful book and an excellent introduction to dyslexia.  It is fun, full of facts and given that one in five of us are dyslexic it presents a valuable insight into many of our friends and colleagues.  In summary, the book helped me to understand that dyslexic people have a different way of thinking, they have some truly special skills and whilst there is clearly a need for more understanding and recognition etc. the key point seems to be that dyslexic people need to be celebrated for the diversity they bring to society.

Nigel Cadman

January 2022

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