A Dyslexic Writes

About the Author: Alan Campbell

Alan Campbell - The Author

Al Campbell didn’t discover he was dyslexic until he was 50. By then both his children had been assessed as dyslexic, and his wife Fleur had become so interested in the subject that she had gone to college and studied for 5 years to become a dyslexia specialist and assessor. Having spent the majority of his life making a living as a writer and copywriter, the discovery came as something of a surprise.

Al hails from a small town in Kent where he went to a state primary school on the council estate on and ‘didn’t feel any the worse for it.’ He did however hold the class record for the number of times he was ‘slippered’ for fidgeting in one year.

Al ended up at University College London where he scraped a poor degree in Geography but won first class honours in poker. He graduated just after the miner’s strike when interest rates were 15% and graduate jobs were hard to come by. Unable to secure a hoped for job in a big London agency he went into sales and eventually started his own advertising business.

He has always written. He started with school plays and magazine articles when he was younger, first made money from his pen by writing short stories for men’s magazines, and then, in advertising, as a copywriter on brands as diverse as British Aerospace, Club 18-30, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, ABN Amro and many others.

In more recent years Al has become a strategic business planner and consultant, something he finds comes easily to what he now knows to be his dyslexic brain: ‘dyslexics are natural problem solvers,’ he says, ‘we have to be because most of us can’t remember how we did something from one time to the next so we keep reinventing stuff and trying it different ways.’

A Dyslexic Writes is a rare thing — a book on dyslexia written from a dyslexic’s point of view by a dyslexic. It is Al’s attempt to join-up all the conundrums surrounding the topic and make sense of them for both his own understanding and that of others.

He says that the book has been written for dyslexics everywhere, and especially adult dyslexics like him, although he freely admits ‘they will probably be the last people to read it!’ More importantly he hopes those parents who have, or who are worried they might have, dyslexic children use the book to get a quick overview of the condition and realise that while dyslexia is a very real challenge (it is covered in the Disability Discrimination Act) there is a light burning bright at the end of the tunnel.

‘Spotted early enough we dyslexics survive and thrive with few long-term problems,’ he says. ‘We are the very innovators and instigators of the changes we need to survive.’

Al, who is now 56, lives in Sussex with his wife, his son Freddie, and his two springers Holly and Ruby. His daughter Phoebe is currently studying at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA.

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