Jenni Beard is dyslexic. She discovered this not as a child but after her son Peter was diagnosed with the condition and she noticed ‘familial’ similarities. She thus writes from a unique and telling standpoint when outlining the much overlooked topic’s history and the controversies which surround it. Sometimes called ‘word-blindness’ (and also known by other names), there is even today debate about whether dyslexia exists at all, or only in specific (or even individual) forms, or as part of other physical or mental conditions.
From Percy to Peter traces these arguments, both historically and, centrally, during, the years of the Word Blind Centre. Skilfully weaving the experience of the dyslexic with the opinions of top diagnostic experts and opinion formers, Jenni Beard supports her wide-ranging survey of dyslexia with a wealth of facts, anecdotes and extracts from learned writings.
The book takes the reader inside the mind of those who wrestle with reading or writing in a way that leads to better understanding. Percy was the first child to be diagnosed as dyslexic and his name has become a byword for insiders. By linking the subject to her own (and her son Peter’s) experiences she helps to explain matters to ordinary readers. Among topics included are: the pioneers and their work; ways of overcoming dyslexia; and the debates, papers, books and magazines around what has sometimes been wrongly dubbed a ‘middle-class disease’, or one with links to brain damage or madness. Written from a highly informed personal standpoint the book brings a neglected topic to life.
Based on the experience of bringing-up a dyslexic child.
Deals with the myths and realities of dyslexia.
By an experienced teacher of children of various ages.
‘No one method of teaching children suits all, be it “look and say” the initial teaching alphabet, real books, or speed phonics. Some … just learn to read, others have to be taught, and those unusual ones have to be helped to find their pathway through the jungle.’
Jenni Beard obtained her teaching certificate from Whitelands College of Education. She completed a diploma course in textile design at Goldmiths, University of London before undertaking the British Dyslexia Association Diploma Course for teaching those with Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia) and obtaining an MA in Biography at Buckingham University. She has worked as a special needs teacher and university support adviser.