Focus on Dyslexia

Books, Phyllis. Reversing Dyslexia: Improving Learning and Behavior Without Drugs. Square One. 2013. 146p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780757003783. pap. $16.95. ED

Books is a chiropractor, certified clinical nutritionist, instructor, and founder of a multidisciplinary system for people with learning disorders, making her, thus, uniquely qualified to explore the topic of “improving learning and behavior without drugs” in people with dyslexia. According to the author, we have limited our view of the disorder to difficulty with reading and writing rather than a “disorder that permeates a person’s entire life” leading to a variety of symptoms affecting behavior, attitudes, organization, and thought processes. Here, Books attempts to dispel the myth that dyslexia is a permanent disorder; her goal is to empower parents as advocates for their children and increase the self-­esteem of dyslexic children. She points to markers that identify dyslexia and examines related conditions such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety that can be hidden indicators of the disorder. Books then explores therapies with a focus on alternative treatments, nutritional changes, and the possibility of rewiring the brain through the use of exercise, music, and play. VERDICT Books’s 25 years of investigation into dyslexia is evident in this work as she supplies a wealth of information for parents and teachers of newly diagnosed children and provides an excellent general compendium on alternative therapies.—­Julia M. Reffner, Fairport, NY

Foss, Ben. The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning. Ballantine. 2013. 336p. notes. index. ISBN 9780345541239. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780345541246. ED

We live in a text-driven world, whether it appears in print or on the Internet. This makes navigating information difficult for those with dyslexia. Foss, who is dyslexic himself, is the inventor of the Intel Reader, a mobile device that photographs text and reads it aloud, and founder of Headstrong Nation, a nonprofit organization serving the dyslexic community. He is committed, with this book, to “renewing your child’s confidence and love of learning.” A strong advocate for individuals with the disorder, Foss writes in an accessible and reassuring conversational tone—and, after all, he notes, if he is successful, then there is hope for your child. He explains the myths of dyslexia and exposes parents to the concept of mapping a child’s unique abilities using a “strengths star”—putting the focus on the child’s unique combination of learning styles as that child’s primary tools for processing content. While the idea of different learning styles is hardly new, the graphic representation of a star encourages the reader to think beyond “eye-reading” and consider other ways of receiving information. VERDICT Foss’s no-nonsense, practical advice to parents includes testing their children for dyslexia, the individualized education plan (IEP) process, and building community. Most important, he keeps the focus on the individuals with dyslexia, who are not broken; they just learn differently. [See Prepub Alert, 3/1/13.]—Virginia Johnson, Weymouth P.L., MA