New book debunks dyslexia myths

What do HRH Princess Beatrice, Michelle Mone OBE, Sir Steve Redgrave, Nicholas Parsons, an 11-year-old boy, a policeman, a prisoner, a parent and a vet have in common?

They are among the many people who have shared their personal stories about what dyslexia means to them for a bold and eye-opening new publication, Dyslexia and Us.

The new book, which will be formally launched at Edinburgh's Central Library on Monday 31 October for the start of Dyslexia Awareness Week 2011, has been published by Edinburgh City Libraries after being conceived and compiled by Dyslexia Scotland.

Not every contributor is dyslexic but they have all been sufficiently affected by dyslexia to write their story. Entries have been printed exactly as they were submitted, without spelling or punctuation corrected.

With a foreword by Formula 1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, this is a collection of over 100 moving, poignant, sad, shocking, funny, instructive and illuminating personal accounts.

The stories describe the powerful impact of dyslexia on individuals, families, relationships, professionals and support staff. They give a fascinating insight into how dyslexic people are treated in a wide range of different day to day settings, including job centres, adult literacy classes, education and workplaces.

Dyslexia and Us will be formally launched by Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture and Leisure Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, who has also written an introduction for the book. 

Cllr Brock said: "It has been an honour to read these powerful life stories about dyslexia, especially as I know first hand from the experience of family members how debilitating this condition can be at times. Some stories will make you laugh, some will make you cry, but every single one allows you to view dyslexia through the eyes of those the condition affects.

"Reading and Learning is at the heart of Edinburgh City Libraries and this book shows how important it is for everyone to understand the obstacles and challenges that our storytellers have to overcome on a daily basis.

"I am really delighted that Edinburgh City Libraries were able to work in partnership with Dyslexia Scotland to develop this moving, encouraging and motivational book."

Cathy Magee, Chief Executive of Dyslexia Scotland, said: "Dyslexia Scotland is really excited at the forthcoming launch of  Dyslexia and Us - it's a unique insight into what dyslexia means to over 100 people of different ages and backgrounds. We have been overwhelmed by the number of people keen to share their story as well as by the quality of the personal accounts. I'm really grateful to every single contributor and to Edinburgh City Libraries for making this book possible. If you want to learn more about dyslexia, this is the book for you."

Dyslexia and Us costs £7.99 and will be available to purchase from the Central Library's Reference Library and Dyslexia Scotland charity shops throughout Scotland. It can also be ordered through Dyslexia Scotland's website

SOME EXCERPTS FROM DYSLEXIA AND US

"Dyslexia can destroy people, it can break up families and it can drive people to drink and drugs whilst they are trying to escape the reality of their inabilities. For many years and sadly even today, many teachers simply haven't gone to the trouble of finding out enough about dyslexia to help students to get around the problem, if not to get over it completely. My school years were certainly the most unhappy years of my life." Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, President of Dyslexia Scotland.

"Locked up in Her Majesty's Prison watching life passing away year after year, time waits for no one and its never to late to learn. The toughest part is comming forward to ask for the help. That first step will help to chance your life for the better. You can never learn to much or enough in this life." Dyslexic male, aged 38.

"My first memory of not being at the same level as my other class mates was in a reading session, I remember looking helplessly up at the teacher for her to reply "why are you looking at me the words are not written on my face." I remember feeling lost with all the words jumping around the page. If it was not for some of the amazing teachers I have been luckily enough to have had, my education would have turned out so very differently." HRH Princess Beatrice

"Speak to anyone who is dyslexic, they will all tell you the same things, the struggles they have with it, the pain it caused them, the unhappiness, the tears, the lack of confidence, the lack of self belief, people telling them that they are stupid and thick, not applying for jobs, as they don't think they are good enough." Gavin Law, Policeman.

"Sometimes my brain tickles but not every day only when I have lots of hard work." Pupil with dyslexia, 11 years old.

"In the 1980s it was not uncommon for education providers to believe that dyslexia was a wish pursued by neurotic middle-class parents. Now I come across cases where the word dyslexia is used with little restraint. It is often the case that such lavish use of the word is a prelude to describing a support plan that contains nothing except that the teachers have all been informed that the child has dyslexia. This is irritating, not to say patronising and counter-productive." Educational psychologist.

In association with Dyslexia Scotland and BNYMellon, Edinburgh City Libraries have created a fantastic programme of exhibitions, workshops and events to mark Dyslexia Awareness Week 2011 across Edinburgh.

Keep up to date with everything that's happening in Edinburgh City Libraries at http://talesofonecity.wordpress.com/. And check out our award-winning 'virtual library' at http://yourlibrary.edinburgh.gov.uk/.


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