I am overwhelmed by the support Sam has had for his book so far, the comments have been amazing.
Reading the comments from parents with Dyslexic children has bought it all back to me. I'll be honest, it's not something I dwell on, it is painful to go over how we fought for Sam's education, and it was a long time ago.
We always taught our children to be independent and to work hard, great things are rarely dropped at your feet, and definitely Dyslexia was not used as an excuse for not achieving, given the right help they can achieve.
It wasn't until Sam showed me the first hand printed copy of 'I wonder what its like to be Dyslexic' that I remembered how much effort it takes a Dyslexic person to get through the day, but they do and often with far better results than the average person.
They think and work differently, to you it may seem an odd way of doing things. I know as I am somewhat like it myself, you have to be inside your own head with no distractions to work properly. I, for instance, can't read when there is too much around me going on. I once went on a course when I worked for a school, I have never been more terrified when I could not take in the text in front of me. When it came for my turn to give input, I couldn't, I had no idea what I had read, so how could I comment. I was cross, frustrated, and felt like an idiot.
I am a quilt designer (amongst other things). I am given peoples clothes, because sadly that person has died, and I turn them into memory quilts to comfort the relatives that are left. I am told I am outstanding at this task, I find it easy, and it's a pleasure to do. For someone else it would be a complete nightmare, they would loose sleep over it. My friends look at the clothes I am given and say "Rather you than me, what on earth are you going to do with those? How are you going to turn that into something to treasure", but I do and with great ease. I love everything about it, even though I have the work through sad consequences.
I am at my best when designing something, I love colour and texture and everything artistic. I couldn't live without it.
Give me a large piece of writing to undertake or something to read and understand and write an essay on, and I'll go into deep depression! It's not even that I am Dyslexic (I don't think, well maybe a little) I just don't enjoy it, it's not my thing.
So I imagine for a Dyslexic person they really have to be passionate about what they are doing and be comfortable with it, what ever it might be. They may take a lot of years to find that one thing but with sheer determination find it they will.
Sam left home when he went to university, so we never really new how he was getting on. There were struggles along the way and a few setbacks but nothing he couldn't sort out. We kept in contact and helped when we could, but to be honest he worked it all out himself.
When we were told he probably had a first class honours degree we couldn't have been more proud. When we were told he had a commendation for his book, that was just amazing we knew it was outstanding from a design point of view and especially for us from a dyslexic point of view, we also knew the effort that had gone into producing it. When he was shortlisted for the Islington design award it started to get a bit overwhelming. We are immensely proud of his efforts, and for not settling for second best. It is also nice to know, for me and my husband, that we made the right decision to stick with it and try and do the best for Sam in those early years. It would have been so much easier to give up, but if nothing else we are fighters. You forget when your children are independent adults what you did to help them, but be warned in moments of great achievement it all comes flooding back and hits you like a ton of bricks. In those early years you should be proud of the smallest steps forward, they are all stepping stones to getting them where they want to be.
I am hoping that by someone reading this book they will know someone who is Dyslexic and learn to understand them slightly better. I don't mean to treat them any differently, or even give them special treatment, but just understand that for them their day is a little different.
I know how Sam works, but when I was shown this book it did something to me that just knowing him hadn't done before. I quite often have a quick flick through the book just to remind me how extraordinary Dyslexic people are. It is such a good reminder, even to someone who knows their son inside out, what they can achieve when they work hard and persevere.
To all parents of dyslexic children, I hope that you get the courage to help your children, and have the braveness to believe in your gut instinct, even if it causes waves. Keep going it will eventually be worth it.