8th July 2005 at 01:00

Robert Burden is an educational psychologist and teacher trainer. His book investigates how dyslexia affects attitudes and self-belief. Research has shown that a person's morale, self-confidence and esteem are moulded by experiences in the education system and by relationships with teachers and parents. It is not surprising to discover that dyslexic children generally have significantly lower self-esteem than their peers.

Burden has developed a system to measure and quantify self-esteem and self-concept scientifically. Fifty dyslexic boys attending a special school were tested. The results are heartening and show that in this sample the pupils felt more confident and proactive in their own learning and futures than would have been predicted. Some had developed a "dyslexic pride" in their talents and achievements. It is suggested that they had responded positively to the "mediated learning experience" and achievement of attainable goals. It will be interesting to see a comparable study of dyslexic children in mainstream schools.

As a teacher, I found the book accessible and thought-provoking. The psychological terms were explained and academic jargon was limited.

Dyslexia was shown to be more than just a reading and writing problem, and it underlined the importance of teachers encouraging dyslexic young people to become confident, autonomous learners and successful adults.

Diana Hudson

Learning support co-ordinator, Wycombe Abbey school

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