Dyslexia has only been formally acknowledged in New Zealand since 2007.

Most research on dyslexia focuses on neuroscience and education and most of these studies focus on children.  There have been very few enquiries that have looked at how dyslexia affects adults, particularly the social/emotional experiences of adults living with dyslexia.  Studies have shown that dyslexia has an impact right throughout the life span, and also reveal that a successful outcome in adulthood is achieved by a dyslexic receiving the right understanding and support.

One of the myths that pervades many people’s thinking is that dyslexia is simply a problem with reading and writing.  What is not often understood is that dyslexia can also affect: processing and expression of information, remembering and following instructions, knowing where to start something, sequencing, ordering, organising oneself, being on time, and managing a household.  A recent New Zealand study revealed that dyslexia may cause communication breakdown between couples and that emotional processing may be challenging for dyslexic individuals.

There are many adults who do not know they are dyslexic. They continue to struggle with an unknown underlying difficulty that may be causing stress in the workplace, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, addictions, and breakdown in relationships.

Dyslexia, and those who live with it, need more understanding. There is simply not enough being said or done about this condition that affects around 10 to 20 percent of New Zealand adults.  Dyslexic adults need identifying, to know what they are struggling with and why and to be given strategies to help them.

Adult dyslexics keep arriving at our counselling practices looking for help. Through therapy they come to understand their dyslexic issues and what they can do to help themselves navigate their unique challenges as well as finding and working from their strengths.  While this is liberating for them and exciting work for us, we wanted to help more dyslexics in a wider context.  It is for this reason we decided to write a resource that could help bring awareness about these issues.

Adult Dyslexia: A Guide to Understanding the World of Adult Dyslexics was written primarily for the adult dyslexic to read, but it is also very helpful for those who live and work with them.  It is a small, easy-reading guide that includes diagrams, drawings, and graphs for visual impact and is laid out in a way that makes it easy for a dyslexic adult to follow.

The book draws on current research: neuroscience, genetics, sub-types of dyslexia, and social/emotional overlays, bringing these down to size for a dyslexic adult to easily understand.  It includes a tested, comprehensive self-assessment for identifying dyslexia and provides strategies for cognitive, functioning and emotional difficulties.  Handouts that explain dyslexia are also included.  These can be handed to friends, family and colleagues to read rather than the dyslexic having to find the words to explain their differences themselves.

‘Adult Dyslexia: A Guide to Understanding the World of Adult Dyslexics’ is $20 NZD plus postage and packaging. To order please contact Jane.


  1. It is still surprising that the support for those with additional needs (et al) still essentially stops at around 18-19yrs. Employers, and others, say they don’t discriminate but for many it is still a battle throughout their entire life. There is medication, there are strategies. In the end though, just like someone born with a hole in their heart, they have to cope with it for the rest of their life.

  2. not sure where the ’10-20% of NZ adults are dyslexic’ statement comes from. As far as I know, there has never been any incidence study done in NZ.

    One of the reasons there has not been a stuff done is the considerable difficulty in getting any consensus about what ‘dyslexia’ is. For an excellent review of the research and writing on ‘adult dyslexia’ see:
    Rice, M., & Brooks, G. (2004). Developmental dyslexia in adults: a research review. London: National Research and Development Centre


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here