Why are books about dyslexia so hard to read?

Published by Lisa Basford on

This article could easily be called “The importance of clear communications“.

So, why are they so hard to read? I have been mulling over this question for a while; along with others like why don’t penguins’ feet freeze? and why don’t you ever see baby pigeons?

I have several books about dyslexia and a common feature of many of them is that they are actually quite hard to read. I know dyslexia is more than a difficulty reading. My daughter struggles with her dyslexia in many other ways – handwriting, spelling, memory and processing of information. In my efforts to understand her and support her, I’ve bought a bunch of books, but more often than not they are left on the shelf because I find it impossible to engage with the writing.

Writing effective communications

For some time now, I have wanted to write a piece on how to write effective communications. We all know the importance of brilliant communications. That memorable article you’ve forwarded to friends, the ad that made you stop, sit up and take notice. Great copy can even lead to changes in our behaviour. I’ve sweated over advertising copy, corporate reports and emails to the Board. To answer the question of how to communicate brilliantly I could draw on my many years’ experience in communications and stakeholder engagement to write my top tips.

Then I had a better idea.

What we can learn from dyslexics

I went back to the theme of dyslexia. According to NHS figures, 1 in 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia. That’s a pretty broad base from which to draw inspiration and ideas, and yet dyslexic people are often judged and bullied because of their learning difficulty. MP Peter Kyle has spoken publicly about the brutal tweets he received because of his poor spelling. Other celebrities such as Princess Beatrice, Paloma Faith and Lewis Hamilton have spoken about their own struggles and the stigma they have faced.

Creative differences

When you google the search term “dyslexic communication skills” you are met with a flurry of responses highlighting the problems dyslexics face in communicating. What if we turned that on its head? In the book “Creative Successful Dyslexic” by Margaret Rooke, the poet, writer and lyricist, Benjamin Zephaniah, explains the creativity of dyslexics.

We can learn a lot from the dyslexia community. Who better to tell us the simplest and most effective way to get our message through? I have been following the charity, Made by Dyslexia, and I love the way they champion the many positive attributes and creative brilliance of dyslexic people. Quite honestly, I could not find a better way of summarising the best communications tips for today’s workplace than in their blog:  5 Reasons why Dyslexics make great communicators

Tips to improve your communications

  1. Explain the bigger picture
  2. Simplify the message
  3. Have empathy (in other words, understand your audience)
  4. Be passionate and curious
  5. Engage hearts and minds

With thanks to Made by Dyslexia.

Photo credit: Fang-Wei Lin on unsplash