Alais Winton Defies Dyslexia
Surviving an education system that did not serve her needs made Alais Winton determined to help others. Not diagnosed until she was at university, Alais went on to teach at Pembrokeshire College for 16 years despite advice that she would never make a teacher because of her dyslexia. The skills she honed there supported many young people and led her to write a number of books on the subject.
Alais says, “Dyslexia often means being labelled as lazy or stupid and it’s easy to lose confidence. We need advice that really works.”
According to statistics approximately 10% of the population, have dyslexia.
Poor reading compared with a person’s general ability is usually the first indicator of the problem, along with poor spelling, bad handwriting, and sometimes, problems remembering telephone numbers and appointments. While some people manage to compensate for the problem, poor self-esteem is common, with some people becoming so severely dispirited that they are driven to suicide.
On the plus side, dyslexics often develop skills that make them highly organised. Having to adapt to a world where reading is an essential skill, they learn to think creatively and are usually great problem-solvers.
Alais has used her own personal experience of the condition to bring advice and support to many people over the years, and her books are proving a popular aid and support for many young people.
Alais’s first book, Self Help Guide for Teens with Dyslexia, has been a big success. She has gone on to write two further books, also very popular. Her latest book came out in October 2019.
Diary of a Dyslexic School Kid was written with Alais’s best friend’s son, Zacharia Django Millard.
“We had been talking about the challenges of moving from junior to secondary school. Suddenly you have to find your way around many different rooms. There are many more teachers and you are loaded with work. It’s a lot to cope with and for dyslexic kids, it can destroy their confidence.
“Bullying can be a huge issue too. When I was a kid, I was bullied but I could go home at the end of the day and switch off. Now, with Facebook, Snapchat and all the other online avenues, young people may feel they can never escape the bullies. We wanted a friend for young people to relate to, so we created Cal.”
The book shows Cal’s experiences of life as a young person with dyslexia, dealing with stresses, in a sympathetic and humorous way that is easily accessible to readers. It is proving popular and has been featured in a BBC podcast.
Diary of a Dyslexic School Kid, along with Alais’s other books, can be bought from Victoria Bookshop in Haverfordwest, or from Amazon.
Alais is available for tuition, in person or on Skype. She can be contacted via her Facebook page.
Alais is currently working on her next book, featuring more games and activities, and it is due out in March 2021.