- Paperback: 48 pages
- Publisher: Modern Learning Pr/Programs (June 1, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0935493344
- ISBN-13: 978-0935493344
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About Dyslexia Paperback – June 1, 1990
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Unrecognized dyslexia hurts the self-concept so necessary for leading a productive, joyful life. Therefore, educators, parents, and other adults interested in young people need to understand common patterns of strengths and weaknesses in dyslexic people from early childhood through adulthood. In this guide, we will consider the dyslexic at successive ages and stages starting with pre-school, noticing the effects of dyslexia on school performance and self-esteem.
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On the other hand, the book is dated. It is important to remember that 1990 was pre-Internet and that hard information on disabilities was difficult to come by, unless it was in a clinical setting. There were no online parent support groups, no blogs; information came from the library or a blurry newsletter from a state or national society devoted to a particular disability. As a result, parents often felt like they were on their own. A book like About Dyslexia filled this information gap.
Since 1990, of course, that gap has closed substantially. In addition to an increase in the availability of information, there is an increase in the kind of information available, based on recent neurological research. Inevitably, there are contradictions between a book like Vail's and a more recent book like Sally Shaywitz's Overcoming Dyslexia. Vail, for instance, states that dyslexia is four times more common among boys; Shaywitz's research indicates that girls are simply under-diagnosed. Vail puts emphasis on the frequency of number and letter reversals; Shaywitz casts doubt on whether this is a proper marker for dyslexia, citing the frequency with which reversals occur in the non-dyslexic population. Most important, however, is that today, two decades after the publication of About Dyslexia, the study of the neurological basis of reading and of reading disabilities is the Big Thing. Vail's work, which is primarily descriptive, predates this.
Thus, Vail's book is best appreciated as a book that appeared when the parents of children with all sorts of disabilities were, often for the first time, acquiring a voice, in the years following the federal law that mandated access to public education for children with disabilities. It takes its place with any number of books that brought these children into the mainstream, from a parent's memoir about raising an autistic child (like the books by Josh Greenfield about his son Noah) to the appearance of a Down syndrome child on a TV sitcom (Life Goes On, which aired in the late eighties and early nineties). Parents who read About Dyslexia in 1990 would surely have felt reassured that the problem Vail describes was shared by many. Today, it is still a useful basic introduction to dyslexia. Since it is hard to obtain, seeking it out in a public library is probably the most useful course.