An auto/biographical investigation exploring the life-stories of adults with dyslexia.

Prof Doc Thesis

Speers, J. 2019. An auto/biographical investigation exploring the life-stories of adults with dyslexia. Prof Doc Thesis Canterbury Chris Church University School of Teacher Education and Development
AuthorsSpeers, J.
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Qualification nameDoctorate of Education

While there is a wealth of research about dyslexia in childhood, the life stories of adults with this condition remain largely unrecorded. It is recognised that dyslexia has a lifelong impact, and for some, this effect increases and changes over the lifecourse. By exploring the life-stories of adults who have a formal diagnosis of dyslexia, I seek to understand how experiences are assimilated throughout the whole of their life, including education and employment. It also provides an insight into identity, emotional well-being and behaviour.

This thesis uses auto/biographical narrative enquiry. Data, in the form of a guided conversation, was collected from six participants. This was transcribed and emerging themes were identified. As author, I am also a co-contributor to the narrative.

The study identified three significant themes:

1.Supportive others.This highlights how significant the guidance and support of family, friends and work colleagues are to the success and well-being of adults with dyslexia. It also identifies the importance of mothers as identifiers of dyslexia and supporters of their children during education and beyond.

2.Disclosure and concealment.The complex and often fraught decision to disclose or to conceal their dyslexia was identified as a critical stage in the educational lives and employment lives of the participants.

3.Identity anxiety.This theme acknowledged the discomfort adults face when openly recognising their differences and difficulties, and identifies the emotional impact dyslexia can have on an individual.

This research is significant and distinctive as it uses an auto/biographical approach with the researcher as insider and a contributor to interpreting the narratives of self and others.

I propose several future areas of research involving the families and work colleagues of adults with this condition. Findings suggest a longitudinal study following the lifecourse of children with dyslexia through the transitions of education and employment.

KeywordsDyslexia; Adults; Life stories; Supportive others; Disclosure and concealment; Identity anxiety
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Deposited10 Jun 2020
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