Jul/Aug 2003 Book Reviews

The Secret Life of the Dyslexic Child

Robert Frank with Kathryn E. Livingstone
Rodale, Macmillan (June 2003) 271 pages
ISBN: 1 405 00675 7

reviewed by Ann Skea

For one who eats so little, my father had an unquenchable fascination with food

This is a very useful, practical and clearly written book for anyone who has to deal with a dyslexic child, or who is concerned that their child might be dyslexic. The author, Robert Frank, is dyslexic. He also has a doctorate and works as an educational psychologist and a family therapist. So, he not only understands the condition, he also knows from personal experience the special difficulties of study and the strategies needed for success.

The chapter headings in the book give a fair indication of the range of topics Frank covers: the Secret Life, Getting inside your Child's Secret Life, My Perfect Child is Dyslexic, The Programme for Success. And he describes clearly and simply such things as diagnosis, the difficulties both child and parent will encounter, strategies, and where and how to get help. He also gives many specific and detailed examples of the individual experiences of dyslexics and stresses that each child is different, both in the nature and the extent of their disability and in the ways they cope with it.

The book was written for an English market, and some of the specific schooling strategies and services will differ for other countries. Frank's advice, however, is applicable anywhere. And if your school's headmaster says, as one I queried about the support available for dyslexic children did, that they "don't have any dyslexic children," there are addresses in this book where you can find the necessary advice and services you will need.

Add this book to Susan Hampshire's wonderfully readable and funny autobiographical account of her own experiences with dyslexia, and you will have a pretty good idea of what your child's secret world is like.


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