Chapel resident Emma Mahon 31, works as a special educational needs (SEN) coordinator at a primary school in the borough and privately as a dyslexia diagnostic assessor, and hopes to transform children’s understanding of their own needs and the way they are supported in education.
She said: “I found that there are no books out there to explain a diagnosis to children and families in a positive way. In some schools it’s still approached in quite a negative light.
“I don’t want to say, ‘Sorry, you’ve got dyslexia’, when actually its often correlated with quite IQ and so many other strengths. You can celebrate those strengths and teach every child about neurodiversity, so they understand that each of us has a completely different brain.”
Emma has been working as a teacher for ten years, and based the picture book on conversations she has had with children.
She said: “If someone doesn’t have an understanding of their strengths, it can really affect their mental health, their self-esteem, and every aspect of their education.
“Other books peg dyslexia as something separate, with strategies and solutions, but if children understand it as part of neurodiversity it can empower them and promote inclusion for the whole school.”
The book is already complete and Emma has landed a publisher but, as a first time author, she has to raise £2,700 to get the process started.
She said: “The most difficult part of all was having the courage to try and get it published. I’m not an author so I’m stepping into a field which is out of my comfort zone – but that’s exactly what I encourage my pupils to strive for.
“I just enjoy the work I do so much that I want to share it. I know that this book could be used in every primary and secondary school in the country and that gave me the push I needed.”
She added: “If this book can support one child, in one classroom, then I will be very happy indeed.”
For more details and donations, go to https://bit.ly/2RV5dOo.
To learn more about Emma’s work, see facebook.com/neurodiverselearning.